Academic Biography – The Database
is Ready to Use
Faculty members are required to
produce Curriculum Vitae (CV), annual reports and similar documents
summarizing professional activities, often with similar information
but in varying formats. A partial list includes: Western specific
annual performance reports, President's reports, OCGS CVs and
accreditation reports, research reports for grant applications,
teaching dossiers, personal web pages for graduate recruiting, etc.
Replicating information in various formats is time-consuming and
frustrating when faculty would rather be working on research or
teaching students. As well, having this information in different
files, in different formats and updated at different times virtually
guarantees that there could be errors and omissions in at least some
of these reports.
Administrators also have on-going
requirements to produce reports for various reasons: short and
long-term planning, meeting contractual obligations etc.,
summarizing the academic activities of their units. Indications are
that this need for accurate accountability will likely increase
(e.g., government reporting), however, compiling the data is often a
tedious, manual process also prone to possible errors and delays in
In the spring/summer of 2003, the
Faculty of Engineering and the Department of Biochemistry partnered
with the idea of creating an efficient and user-friendly
“Academic Biography” database to store the information
commonly needed for a CV, annual reports as required of faculty
members at Western, and for administrative reporting on academic
activities. With the help of a talented student knowledgeable in
SQL databases and in using PHP to access, we initiated the
construction of a comprehensive database with the following goals:
1 – providing the faculty members
with a useful and user-friendly tool that will save them time and
2 – equipping departmental and
faculty administrators with a tool that allows the collection of
up-to-date and accurate information; and
3 – implementing a design suitable
for the unique UWO environment.
The “Academic Biography”
database project is not fully complete, and it will continue to
evolve. The front end (web interface) will require modifications in
wording and needs more descriptive help information. However, at
this time we have proof-of-principle outputs; a standard annual
report, a standard web page, and the ability to customize some
outputs are currently implemented. The ability to output CV's in
other formats requires only a few hours of time and an agreed upon
format to implement.
believe that this
database is useable now
for annual reporting purposes of full-time faculty and could be used
for generating standard, current web pages for all faculty.
While modifications will be required, we prefer to gather input from
the faculty users and modify the database to work for this
community. As a result, we invite interested faculty members in
Engineering to try out the Academic Biography database.
Furthermore, as we know data entry can be a time-consuming task, to
help you initially populate the database with your information. we
have hired two work bursary students from engineering.
Gloor if you wish to access the database. Also, please indicate
if you would like assistance with the data entry.