“Team Paperless” from the HMS Office for Faculty Affairs converted all HMS faculty search and promotions committees to a new paperless processes. The previous method required providing paper copies of all faculty candidates to all committee members. Thus, each of 34 members of the Promotions, Reappointments, and Review (P&R) Committee received paper packets for the 25-30 candidates up for review per month. There are 4 major committee meetings each month: the Subcommittee of Professors; (2) P&R Committees (morning and afternoon groups); the Longer Service Committee; the Council of Academic Deans. At any time, the HMS Office for Faculty Affairs also supports approximately 80 ad hoc evaluation committees for senior promotions and approximately 40-50 professorial search committees. All administrative support for these meetings has successfully moved away from paper-based material to electronic meeting support.
This non-IT-based team researched and piloted the functionality of various electronic methods for secure file transfer and host platforms for confidential storage of promotions materials.
“Team Paperless” includes Dr. Mary Walsh, Kevin McCarthy, Manuel Chinchilla, Molly Deschenes, & Lydia Alvita. All meeting-day materials are provided electronically, on laptops purchased and used for committee meetings held at HMS, which has changed behaviors and attitudes about use of electronic systems for all those involved. Financially, immediate savings of $15,000-$20,000 annually have been realized in reduced paper costs, eliminated courier/FedEx delivery charges, and 'overage' totals for copy machine costs above contracted amounts.
Other offices within HMS now contact the Office for Faculty Affairs with sign-out requests for laptops to use in order to support meetings and for information about how to take processes paperless.
This team has lead the way within the Office for Faculty Affairs in reducing the paper-flow in other departmental meetings as well. These individuals continue to lead the initiative, evaluating vendors for the development of a ‘Paperless Submission System’ for senior promotions.
This team partnered with HMS IT and HMS-affiliate department partners in order to create end-user instructions and guides to assist committee members and their administrators with the transition from paper packages to interfacing with eCommons and secure file transfer for access to electronic materials. The team prepared and led training sessions for committee end-users and successfully transitioned all members without any major disruption to systems, process, or individuals.
The environmental benefits include the following: reduced volume of paper used for photocopying materials; eliminated the need for courier and/or FedEx service for paper packages (thereby reducing the greenhouse gas emissions that were created for delivery purposes); and educed toner used in copy machines that photocopied materials.