About Bulk Permissions Management with Academic Workflow Levels & New Roles

The academic workflow levels improvement in Interfolio Review, Promotion & Tenure gives users a new way to manage access to cases for many users at once.

Academic levels allow Administrators to manage access to cases at individual case review steps based on unit hierarchy instead of by user roles.

Academic Workflow Levels

Once this feature is released:

  • Each unit that makes up an institution will be labeled with an academic level according to the institution’s hierarchy. For example, if an institution uses departments as units, these will be labeled with the level “Department."
  • Each case review step of a template or case must be assigned one or more academic levels.
  • Access to the case at that step will be dependent upon which level(s) of the institutional hierarchy the step is meant for. .

Note: Users can still manage access by recusing or unrecusing individual Administrators and Case Managers.

Case access is governed primarily by user role, with recusal available on an individual basis.
Case access is governed by level of the hierarchy as well as by user role, with recusal available on an individual basis.
To give someone administrative privileges over one or more cases, they need only be an Administrator in the unit where those cases are.
To give someone administrative privileges over one or more cases, they need to be an Administrator or Case Manager with access at the academic workflow level.
To restrict an Administrator’s access to a case at a certain step, you must individually recuse them at that step.
To restrict an Administrator’s or Case Manager’s access to a case at a certain step, simply set that case review step to the desired academic level.
“Add Case Review Step” was a modal (pop-up window).
“Add Case Review Step” is its own page.
“Manage Recusals” was in a modal (pop up window). “Manage Recusals” now appears on a page in the program.
Case Reveiw Steps with Academic Levels

Why are we making this change?

We have heard from many larger institutions using Review, Promotion & Tenure that the existing tools for manually controlling case access, while easy enough on a smaller scale, are difficult to use for larger numbers of cases and administrative users.

We wanted to save you from all the clicking involved (yes, in some situations, a massive amount!) in order to ensure that only the right people have access to each case, at each workflow step.

We determined that we needed a way to more elegantly control case access based on logic related both to who the user is, and to which unit (e.g. which department/school) the case is in.

The resulting solution has two parts: 

  1. Two new, more precise user roles already announced; the Case Manager and the Template Administrator.
  2. A new academic workflow levels feature, which gives you a much more centralized tool to achieve the right access regardless of how large your institution is.

As a whole, these more precise permissions will enable you to run your institution’s faculty evaluation processes both more efficiently and more securely. 

What is changing?

Starting with this upcoming release, managing case access permissions in Interfolio Review, Promotion & Tenure will become tied to the unit hierarchy and the workflow step. 

Upon release, there will be no change in access permissions from how they are today. Every case review step, in every case and template, will automatically have all levels applied---which reflects how it is today.

Academic Level on Step Detail panel

Prior to release of this feature, case access has been governed primarily by user role, with recusal on an individual basis. 

Once the academic workflow levels feature is released, you should no longer need to individually monitor recusals for Administrators or other users in order to prevent them from accessing cases. 

Instead, access to a case will be controlled by which “level” of the academic hierarchy your case takes place in, and which level each user’s role is tied to. 

Academic Level on Case Review Step

More details

  • Each unit will be assigned an academic level, corresponding to the number of levels in the existing unit hierarchy.
    • For example:
      • You might use a level named “University” or “Institution” to tag the very top level unit, e.g. Blake University
      • You might use a level named “College” or “School” to tag every unit that is a college/school, e.g. the School of Engineering
      • You might use a level named “Department” to tag every unit that is a department, e.g. the Department of Biology
  • Within each template (and therefore each case), each individual workflow step will be assigned one or more academic levels.
  • Access to cases will become dependent upon which “levels” of the institutional hierarchy are set for the current case step. 
    • That way, for any given workflow step, the only people who can see it are people who have the appropriate role at the level of the hierarchy set for that step.
    • So for example, if you have a step called “Dean Review,” you might set the level for that step to be “School/College.” 
    • Only users who have the Administrator, Committee Manager, or (new) Case Manager role at the “School/College” level will be able to access the case while it is at that step. 
    • When it moves to the next step, it is governed by that step’s level. 
  • Authorized Administrators may edit the possible levels for the institution from the Users & Groups page, via a new tab called “Academic Levels.”
Academic Levels on the Users & Groups Screen

What does our institution have to do?

Upon release, no access permissions will change from how they are today. Every case review step, in every case and template, will automatically have all levels applied, which reflects how it is today.

You may want to notify your Administrators (and Case Managers). For many institutions, the only thing to do in the short term is notify your Administrators and Case Managers that this new aspect, levels, will be appearing from the administrative perspective. You may wish to tell them all not to mess with the levels, until you’re ready to implement them across all your templates.

Prepare for your next review cycle. The next thing we recommend is to look ahead to your next review cycle, and make a plan to implement the levels and the two new roles across your templates then. For many institutions, this means the spring.

We know that many of you are in the midst of your formal faculty evaluation cycles right now, so we wanted to make it non-disruptive, and would not expect you to change your templates at the moment.

So, for many institutions, this may simply become part of your next springtime audit/update (e.g. March-May) of RPT templates. 

Hence, spring 2022 may be the right time for many institutions to:

  • Name and audit your levels
  • Update all your case review steps, in all your templates, to reflect the correct levels (yes, we’re investigating how you can do this via API)
  • Audit and update all your user roles to take advantage of the new, more precise Case Manager and Template Administrator roles 

When should we expect this change to happen?

Currently, we are planning to release academic workflow levels, and turn on the new roles for everyone (again you don’t have to use them right away), in December 2021. 

We will be releasing more information, including a demo video, as we get closer.

Many thanks, again, to all of you who have helped us better understand these needs and arrive at a solution that will work for all kinds of institutions.