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Managing department information in the directory

Version 4.1 improves on the first attempt to provide this service.  It is now easier to add oneself as a Department head, or for a non-faculty staff or administrative person to be added as a contact. Once approved, a head/contact can add, change, and delete records of members of a Department.  (Dave Naumann, May 2004)

New with version 4.0 is services for departmental information.  This new feature set is in response to a number of difficulties IS academic professionals have encountered.  Most important has been the lack of a complete, up-to-date directory of departments and institutions.  Second, when faculty join or leave an institution or department, there is no way for anyone else to note that change in the directory.

Department information services have been designed to permit a department head and/or a designated contact person to review and maintain entries for all faculty in that department.  Especially in large departments this capability will permit a staff person or administrative professional to routinely and periodically assure that all faculty are represented in the directory.  At some future point in time, assuming you take advantage of this capability, additional information, degrees offered, for example, might be added to department records.  We hope directory users will see the utility of the feature; if you do then within a year or two of updating this information set should reach at least the threshold of utility.

The way it works is:

  1. Each new entry or change form includes checkboxes for department head/contact person; every person is asked to check the appropriate box.  Be sure you have also set a password if you check one of these boxes.
  2. Whenever either box is checked, the change request is posted to a pending table, and is manually validated. This may result in email correspondence if, for example, more than one person claims to be a department head.
  3. Department head is expected to be a faculty person, and will have a regular searchable record in the directory.  Contact person is expected to be staff; no contact records will be visible in any searches.
  4. When approved, the notation of department head/contact person is posted in the database. 
  5. When either logs in to the directory, they will see a "Manage Dept" command available to them.
  6. In "Manage Dept," such authorized persons will see links allowing them to edit the records of each person in the department, and to add and delete faculty records.
  7. Every record change made by department heads/administrators in this process is posted to a pending table, and is subject to review before it takes affect in the live database.
  8. Strangely enough, there are many different ways faculty have entered department names, and even institution names.  Department heads/contacts are given the opportunity of changing those for all of their faculty at once.

If you are the head of your department, please do check this box and give the updating a try.  If you prefer to have your support staff do this, have one of them make an entry as a contact person. 

We'll report in the future on how well this is working.

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