Two Years in the Making
A joint “E-portfolio Committee” composed of Community College administration and UHPA has been engaged in a planning process since Spring 2014 to upgrade the current paper-based technology in the tenure and promotion process to an electronic, paperless process that will support rich media (e.g. video & audio) among other features in the dossier.
A Pilot Project Starting this Summer
The committee is planning to start a pilot project this summer which will take a representative sampling of UHPA faculty from community colleges who would normally be submitting an application in the fall. Relevant administrative and TPRC members will be trained to use the system. This group will then evaluate the performance of the entire project from start to finish in a real-world setting with a genuine application process.
A pilot project, not a full scale implementation
It is important to note that this is a true pilot project, meaning it is “…a small scale preliminary study conducted in order to evaluate feasibility, time, cost, and adverse events…”. Once the process has concluded in the spring of 2017, community college faculty participating in the process will submit their report on the experience along with a “Go/No-Go” recommendation going forward.
Pilot projects allow UHPA faculty to fully evaluate the system in a real world setting, providing the most accurate portrayal of what others will experience if a full implementation were to go into effect.
Clear, simple evaluation principles
Our committee members established these foundational principles during discussions over the past 2 years that will guide us in evaluations going forward:
- The system cannot adversely change the existing portfolio evaluation methods.
- Any policies currently in effect will not be changed.
- We are changing the technologies used, not the policies that guide them.
- Faculty must have complete control over the content submitted after the review process has completed to the same degree they do with today’s procedures.
- Administration must provide adequate staffing, training, and equipment enabling faculty to adequately complete their e-portfolios.
Three sides to the pilot project evaluation
It is important to note that in addition to evaluating the suitability of the software, the pilot project will evaluate two other critical elements as well: the faculty and administration.
The three sides of this pilot project evaluation include:
- The software and its vendor in terms of end-user experience, features, usability, support, performance, cost, and benefits.
- The faculty in terms of acclimating to electronic document production (e.g. PDFs), using online forms, executing a different production process and acquiring the necessary skills to operate in a digital environment.
- The administration in terms of providing clear leadership in transitioning to e-portfolios, supplying the necessary support structures in terms of IT-related resources and training, and acclimating to an environment involving online collaboration and electronic workflows.
UHPA believes it is important that all three sides are clear that everyone’s respective performance will incorporated in the evaluation. When UHPA delivers its findings about the pilot project experience in Spring 2017, our report will encompass the experiences reported as they pertain to each of the three sides.
This project is really about the ability to execute
This pilot project is more about the UH Community Colleges ability as a whole to execute on a complex project with deep implications more than it is evaluating the features of a software program and it is key that all stakeholders take this into account as they prioritize their resources to execute this project.