Frequently Asked Questions


  • Q: Why use the Online Faculty Information System?

    • it produces individual faculty-level, department-level, college-level, or institution-level reports in a matter of seconds, based entirely on the user’s preferences. Also, data must only be entered one time.
  • Q: I am co-author of a book chapter that another CMU faculty member has entered into the data base. There are a couple of errors in the entry I would like to correct, but it does not allow me. For example, the date of publication is in error. Is there a way of allowing me to correct this?
    A: You will need to contact the person who made the original entry and request that s/he edit the entry. Let me explain why this feature is an important part of the system:

    In OFIS, the entry is made one time and 'hooked' to multiple individuals. Reports, then, will count that publication or presentation as only one CMU activity. However, the entry will continue to appear on individual reports for each author/collaborator. One of the downsides, however is that to enable this functionality, the editing capabilities are limited to the person who originated the entry.


  • Q: What if the person who entered the information is no longer at CMU?
    : If the person who originally entered the record is not available for you to contact, please send email to amanda.scherr@​​cm​​​ explaining the situation. Only a system administrator will be able to access the departed person's account and make the necessary changes.
  • Q: Whenever I enter a new publication, I always show up as the first author. How do I change that?
    : If your name is the first one that displays as the author, and someone else should be indicated, it is relatively easy to re-order the list of authors. Look for the 'promote/demote' arrows (highlighted in the example below). Simply move the authors around using these arrows.



    • Q: There are so many options in OFIS. Can you help me determine exactly what it is that I need to enter?
      : What you need to enter depends both on the data CMU needs to report and on the purpose for which you'll need to generate reports. Required fields are marked with a "*". The Faculty User Guide identifies the most critical data to be entered.


    • Q: Should I enter data for a contract/grant of mine that was denied?
      : This is up to you. Sometimes it is important to note proposals that were not funded. In this case select not funded as the status.

    • Q:Under teaching experience: will I have to go in each semester and manually add +1 to each course I teach so it reads the correct amount of courses?

      A: No. Your teaching information will come from SAP and the calculations in the report will update automatically each semester.


    • Q:I see a place for Research currently in progress, but where do I list research projects that I have already completed?

      A: It depends on the end result of your research. If the product of your completed research was a presentation or publication, there are sections within OFIS for entering that data.


    • Q: Where would we list new courses/curriculum or new programs we developed?

      A: Enter New Course Development and/or Pedagogy under Scheduled Teaching if this is a course you teach. For new programs, this would depend on your role in the process. Department service might be the appropriate place if you worked with your colleagues to design a new academic program. If non-credit, perhaps under ‘Non-Credit Instruction Taught’.


    • Q: Is there a place for experiential learning/field trips we coordinate or faculty-led study abroad trips?

      A: Activity that involves students should be entered under ‘Directed Student Learning’.


    • Q: Where would we list service learning activities and fundraising initiatives?

      A: If students are involved, I recommend listing under ‘Direct Student Learning’. If not, one of the service categories might be most appropriate.