Managing Faculty Activity during a Pandemic

31st July 2020
The Importance of Managing Faculty Activity during a Pandemic 2

How do you start a blog post about faculty activity amidst a global pandemic without sounding trite and tone deaf? Obviously countless individuals are facing much more pressing matters than understanding the research footprint at a university — but even in our current climate, having a reliable, reusable source of accurate information about the same has proved crucial. What, perhaps, is most inspiring is how we see typically disparate departments and organizational groups coming together to identify, track, analyze, and ultimately strategize around their university’s scholarly outputs and influence, with the end goal of ensuring maximum impact of their research.  


When I started my career as a digital services and scholarly communication librarian I was surprised to find how little often collaborations or joint projects would occur between the library and IT or research development and faculty affairs offices. I was fortunate at my time at William & Mary to work under the astute leadership of a library director who knew a cross-organizational approach was by far the most efficient, effective, and cost conscious. I recall at a first task force meeting among cross-campus departments around technology services the library learned faculty often went directly to the technical contact they had, versus their liaison librarian, when they were interested in some new software, often leading to redundancy in licenses and subscribed tools. 

”Nothing will derail a roll-out more quickly than assuming folks are onboard

without involving them in the process.”

The Importance of Managing Faculty Activity during a Pandemic

As an early-career librarian launching a data repository, this shift was exhilarating, and exactly the type of work I envisioned myself a part of when in library school. Now as a solutions account manager for North American academic institutions, I get to help from the other side of the table, working with librarians, research development officers, system administrators, faculty advisers and more. Often I discover different groups across campus have overlapping goals, but communication gaps meant the best solutions weren’t seen as connected, and often “quick-fixed” with unknowingly overlapping software and homegrown solutions. 

I realize now more than ever, as I guide a client from contract through implementation and beyond, how paramount those cross-institutional partnerships are, and how key it is to form those bonds at the outset of a project, versus consider them an afterthought. When all the needed players are at the table right away, especially with a complex endeavor like rolling-out Elements, everyone takes agency, feeling their voice and expertise heard. At Tufts University, for example, despite Elements project ownership held in the Technology Services Office, executive sponsor Paul Bergen made sure to include librarian expertise in metadata and faculty relations from the outset to ensure a successful, sustainable launch and ongoing project. [See what Paul Bergen has to say about implementing Elements at Tufts University]

Nothing will derail a roll-out more quickly than assuming folks are onboard without involving them in the process. Elements offers space for multiple areas of expertise, and can truly be a tool that brings together the right array of voices to truly support an institution’s faculty and researcher community. The Elements Platform is uniquely positioned to alleviate the burden of managing research data on faculty and staff. With automated data harvesting, rich researcher profiles, assessment and reporting functionality, and state of the art repository integrations, Elements is a comprehensive and powerful scholarly information software solution. To learn more about Elements and how we can help you manage your research information contact us today


Lily Troia, a former librarian is a Solutions Account Manager at Digital Science. You can follow her on Twitter @lilytroia