Sharing InfoReady at Appalachian State University
Higher education administrators are used to wearing multiple hats, and anything they can do to streamline and simplify their roles is usually well received by all involved. The increased capacity and flexibility became doubly important with the workplace changes wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic. As research at Appalachian State University has grown in importance for faculty recruiting and the student experience, the use of InfoReady has grown as well.
In a recent webinar, Katie Howard (Associate Director of Grants Resources & Services in the Office of Research) shared her tips for increasing support and use of the platform during the past 3 years. She serves as the primary contact on her campus and enjoys sharing the system with her colleagues: “It’s really revolutionized how I go about my daily work.”
“We originally bought InfoReady for me to manage limited submissions and internal grants, so I really wanted to have a solid handle on those things before we tried to share the system with other people.”
Know your own programs first. Katie spent about a semester learning the system and transferring existing processes before reaching out to colleagues she thought could also benefit.
Spend time now, save time later. Building templates and competitions from scratch takes time, but when done carefully, will save time during the next cycle.
Spread the word
“I think the reputation is growing on our campus, and the beauty of it is, now that we’re three years in, everybody is much more comfortable with it, and they expect certain things to come through it all the time.”
Face-to-face is most effective. The Vice President for Research does presentations for faculty councils to introduce the system, and Katie does demos for colleges and units. During the pandemic, the reliance on tools such as Zoom has become essential.
Use multiple methods. A user’s first exposure to InfoReady is often filling out an application or review, and the platform can be reinforced through email, social media, and word of mouth.
Negotiate (financial) buy-in
Identify the selling point. For the administrators Katie interacts with: “It’s almost always related to efficiency because...I’m talking to people who have done this a different way, and the different way is almost always an amalgamation of three or four different systems.”
Cost share if you can. Figure out what makes sense based on how much you need to offset the total cost. For App State, it worked out to $1,000 per administrator seat. (They currently have 10 total administrator seats).
Add use cases over time
Share templates to generate ideas. Katie makes her templates available to other administrators, but also prompts them to design their own: “I encourage administrators to spend time in the create mode and seeing what the system can do, and building it custom for what they need.”
Track activity. Run reports to see numbers and types of applications and opportunities. Ask: How are colleagues using the system? Are there others that could use it in a similar way?
Dream big dreams
“My dream is that everything internal competition-wise, whether it’s scholarships, fellowships, awards, internal grants, limited submissions, all of these opportunities would live in one place for the whole campus.”
Build relationships with key stakeholders. For many units that currently use InfoReady the financial commitment may be the most challenging to bring colleagues on board.
Be patient. Establishing buy-in and transitioning programs is a gradual process. Highlight efficiency and cost savings whenever you can, and others will want to join.
We want to thank Katie for sharing her experience with advocating for using InfoReady Review™ across campus. The webinar recording can be found here. If you would like a copy of the presentation slides or have other questions, please contact us at email@example.com.