Faculty-First

How Interfolio Embraces its Faculty-First Manifesto

Two EdTech CEOs Talk Shop, New Frontiers—and Tacos

Gregg ScoresbyIn this two-part series, CampusLogic CEO Gregg Scoresby and Andrew Rosen, the CEO of Interfolio, talk about EdTech and how putting the needs and success of one audience—faculty for Rosen, students for Scoresby—changes everything. Washington, D.C.-based Interfolio offers faculty-focused products that increase transparency, equity, and efficiency around academic decisions. Institutional partners that have helped the company evolve its faculty-first category include Brown, Dartmouth, Yale, UCLA, UC San Diego, NYU, and Johns Hopkins. 

Read on for Part 1: Scoresby and Rosen speak candidly about their companies’ shared commitment to simplification and a ‘first’ mentality.

Gregg: Andrew, great to connect! Interfolio caught my eye, and I’m excited to get the chance to talk about the great work you’re doing on the faculty front. Let’s star with a bit about Interfolio. What are you guys all about?

Andrew: Thanks, Gregg. Really glad you reached out. At Interfolio, we’re dedicated to increasing transparency, equity, and efficiency around the academic decisions at the heart of the university mission. We do this by addressing faculty first. We believe faculty is the group most central to the success of higher education, but faculty members’ work often goes unsupported by smart technology that could make their lives easier and more productive. That’s where we help.

Gregg: You launched one of the first web-enabled products for scholars. Can you explain?

Andrew: We did. It’s called Dossier, and it’s one of four products we offer. Applying for a faculty position at a university was really difficult, it was almost like applying to enroll. It involved letters of recommendation, statement of teaching, and more. The process was really manual, lacked transparency—and there was no type of data or reporting available to show outcomes for strategic initiatives, like hiring more diversely. We changed all that by replacing the manual interactions; the paper and pencil; the reams of documents people would cart around in mini-wagons—literally. They cart around wagons. We focused on how to make it simple and easier through technology.

Gregg: Transparency, using technology to simplify workflows, focusing on one audience for success. Interfolio is a company after my own heart. I founded CampusLogic with an almost identical approach, on the student side. By putting students first, we help schools change lives with easy, mobile, highly personalized student financial services.

So, why do you think Interfolio grew so quickly—and continues to grow?

Andrew: Our dedication to putting faculty first. It’s our mission and our mantra. Everything we do, we do to ease and streamline the life cycle and professional existence of faculty members. We believe that if you do this correctly and win the hearts and minds of faculty with the technology, you will provide significant ancillary benefit to the institution. Faculties are the front lines of an institution’s student experience and research success. But it didn’t feel like they were always being put first. We set out to change that.

Gregg: You’ve created a whole new category. What was that journey like? I ask because we’ve also developed a new category—student financial services software. The evolution of it was so natural, but it was a long journey.

Andrew: Most of the $25 billion in education technology is either spent in student online learning or back office. Very little, if any, has been really centered on faculty. If you think about it, the faculty drives all the revenue of an institution. It’s ultimately responsible for student success, reputation, brand, and most importantly—rank. Faculties are also the largest component of cost, in the form of faculty payroll, to an institution. But there has never been technology prioritizing faculty success, so we feel like we’ve stumbled upon the last untouched frontier in education technology.

Gregg: You’re solving a problem outside the Student Information System (SIS). You’re helping higher education move away from these monolithic, all-in-one, on-premises mega-suites.

Andrew: Absolutely. We believe that we’re creating the first-ever Faculty Information System. It’s faculty-centered, scholar-centered resources: streamlined workflows, reporting, analytics, accreditation, compliance, and more.

Gregg: An FIS? I like it! The benefits obviously extend far past faculty members themselves. Litigation mitigation is something you mentioned that stuck with me.

Andrew: While we are making it much easier for faculty applicants and committee members, there are also many benefits to the institution. I can track diversity, I can ensure equity across campus, and then the last piece is transparency. One provost at an R1 Institution in the Northeast asked me if I’d ever been sued—which I haven’t. He said he’d been sued seven times associated with the tenure process. He said, ‘Are you telling me I can standardize my processes and show how we reviewed, who was reviewed, and what the comments and annotations are? This is litigation mitigation. This is incredible!’

That was a great feeling to know we’re impacting so many levels.

Gregg: You’ve tapped into something important. It’s inspiring to see the traction you’ve developed.

Andrew:  The fact that we have 200 to 250 early adopters in the enterprise system—including some of the most reputable and highest known brands in education—shows a clear trend toward the evolution of this as an important category.

Gregg: Last, most important, and completely unrelated question. We’re big taco fans here at CampusLogic. The best tacos you’ve ever had—where did you get them? 

Andrew: Ha, that’s a new question! I would say Guisados in Boyle Heights in East L.A.

In the second installment of this blog series, Gregg and Andrew talk about new frontiers in higher education. Do you have thoughts or comments on this blog? Let us know at editorial@campuslogic.com. Want to be the first to know when new blogs publish? Subscribe to our blog in the above right corner!