Articles & Updates

University of Idaho program wins Colleagues’ Choice Award at Western Academic Leadership Forum annual meeting

May. 2, 2019

BOULDER – A faculty-productivity reporting tool developed at the University of Idaho was honored by the Western Academic Leadership Forum (the Forum) Thursday at the group’s annual meeting in Boulder, Colo.

Daniel Campbell, PhD, director of assessment and accreditation at the university’s College of Education, Health and Human Sciences, accepted the Colleague’s Choice Award, given based on peer vote for the best new academic tool or program presented during the “Great Ideas” panel at Thursday’s Forum meeting.

Forum members are provosts or other chief academic leaders at U.S. four-year colleges within the 16-state region encompassed by the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE), the Colorado-based regional higher education agency at which the Forum is based.

The University of Idaho tool was developed to reduce redundancy and administrative burden for academic deans, chairs, and other senior higher education officials, in relation to data collection from faculty. Such data collection is necessary for intra- and extra-institutional purposes that include evaluation, promotion, and tenure assessment.

Using an inhouse-built cloud-based system (built on Qualtrics survey software), a streamlined approach to faculty data collection across four key areas of faculty work emerged – leading not only to reduction in central office requests for data and increased faculty engagement and data utility, but also to cost savings realized by building the tool in-house rather than imperfectly adapting a commercial tool to meet specialized needs.

“I am honored and delighted to accept this award on behalf of my colleagues and leaders at the University of Idaho,” says Campbell. “This tool helps us reduce time-consuming administrative reporting for faculty, and has cumulatively saved them hundreds of hours, time they can redirect toward the success of their students.”

As a nod to the potential broader value of the tool – and in the cross-institutional, idea-sharing spirit that characterizes the Forum’s membership – the university’s College of Education, Health and Human Sciences is making the tool freely available to any academic constituents who wish to use it at this link.

Details of the tool will soon be publicly accessible in an online resource known as the Academic Leaders Toolkit, a peer-reviewed repository for shared academic leadership tools jointly sponsored by the Forum and its sister organization, the Western Alliance of Community College Academic Leaders, also based at WICHE.

In receiving this award, this University of Idaho innovation gains broad recognition among the senior academic leaders that comprise Forum constituents across WICHE’s 16-state region. Programmatic awards of this nature have been given annually by the Forum since 2011.

About the Forum: The Western Academic Leadership Forum is a membership organization based at the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE). Forum members are the chief academic officers of four-year postsecondary institutions and their associated system and state agencies in the WICHE region. Through the Forum, these leaders share perspectives on current issues, work together on regional projects beyond the scope of a single institution or state, and contribute resources and expertise to build a stronger future for higher education in the West.

About WICHE: Established by Congress in 1953, WICHE is one of four U.S. higher education regional compacts. WICHE’s programs and efforts help students pursue higher education affordably and conveniently, accelerate regionwide sharing of ideas and resources, provide expert research and policy guidance, and help higher education stakeholders thrive amidst rapid change. WICHE is funded by its members – who reap strong returns on investment from WICHE programs – and by grant makers and others who share our desire to overcome the education and workforce challenges of tomorrow. Learn more at