Frequently Asked Questions


Who Enters Information and Who Views eFARS Reports?

Who completes an annual report using eFARS?

All tenured and tenure track faculty, continued appointment, and continued appointment track faculty and all Extension agents in the College are required to complete an annual faculty report using eFARS by the published deadline. The report describes activities, impacts, and achievement of goals that the faculty member had during the preceding calendar year. All faculty (including A/P and Special Research faculty) are required to complete an annual report. Unit leaders may require A/P and Special Research faculty to use eFARS or develop another report format for their use. Unit leaders should be aware that faculty contributions (such as publications and funding) that are not reported as part of an eFARS report will not be included in the unit performance measures shown in eFARS. Unit leaders should review the list of individuals for their department that have access to eFARS and update it each year to ensure that appropriate faculty are using eFARS or an alternative reporting tool.

Who will be given access to view my report?
You, your unit leader or District Director, the Dean, and the Associate Deans will have access to your report. State programs leaders will have access to the Extension faculty reports.

How can data be entered for a retiree, an adjunct faculty member or a faculty member that is not able to enter their data?
A proxy, such as your secretary , can do this. Email the eFARS Help Desk if you are interested in setting up a proxy in your unit.

Do faculty that have submitted their dossier for promotion and/or tenure need to enter their data in eFARS this year?
Untenured faculty do not have to do their P&T submittal through eFARS if they are going forward for tenure this year, but they must do their annual report in eFARS.

Adding Content to eFARS

Can you add a spelling checker?

Google toolbar has a free spelling checker that works well with eFARS. It adds itself into your web browser and allows you to check the spelling of any web page. 

What time period does the "Achievements" section cover and what is in it?
It covers just the past year. This section lets you tell your supervisor your most important accomplishments and activities of the past year, as well as any new projects or activities that were initiated during this period, even if they have yet to reach completion. The Resume is where you can document a three year time period of accomplishments.

How should I report guest lectures in other faculty members' courses?
A section for guest lectures is included under M.1.b. - Guest Lectures Taught.

I conducted five workshops on the same topic. Do I enter each one separately or add them together?
You should list the five workshops as one entry. The Presentation entry page has been changed in 2009 to allow you to indicate how many times you gave the presentation and the total number of attendees from the five locations.  

What information do I put in the "Responsibilities" section?
This is a short list of the most important aspects of your job. Long explanations are not needed here. It is just something to give readers some idea of what are your major responsibilities.

I need a way to show that a course also has a lab.

You can indicate the number of hours of lab for any credit course that is entered. It is one of the entry fields.

Dates and Time Periods for eFARS

What is the reporting period for the annual faculty report?
Your annual report should represent your work from January through December.

Will you keep eFARS open all year?

The plan is always for the new version of eFARS to be open as much of the year as possible so that you can enter information as it occurs. Depending on the extent of the revisions to the eFARS system, the opening of the new version of eFARS could be delayed by several months each year.

Can I enter publications and other contributions prior to the current year?
No, eFARS does not provide a depository for information prior to the reporting year. The one exception is what you report in your Resume. The Resume is intended to document the past three years worth of accomplishments.

It is hard to know whether you are asking for past events or only those that occurred for the first time. For example, I serve on a committee that met this year, but I have been on the committee for several years.
The Service sections include a "My Role" text box, in which you can document your tenure on a committee among other things.

Navigation in eFARS

My eFARS report is done, but I do not see a "Submit" button. What do I need to do?
Your data are saved in the system when you complete an item and click on either "Save Changes and Return" or "Save Changes".

When you expand or compress the outline, you are returned to the top of the outline. Can this be fixed?
We do not have a fix for this issue, but can offer a tip. When you are in a web page, hitting the space bar  will page down.

Is there a way to expand the "Report Outline" menu? I had overlooked quite a few of the little plusses (+).
There is no way to expand the outline with one click, but a copy of the expanded outline is in a MS Word file on the eFARS Home Page under   "Resources".

Input and Output in eFARS

Can I upload my annual report as a Word document into the system?
No. The system needs to count the number of unique publications, presentation, patents, and other such data. It needs specific items entered into computer fields to do that. This is the only way that the system can automatically generate reports, which is a critical part of the need for the system.

Am I required to create a hard copy annual report?
No, eFARS replaces the paper report you have submitted in the past with an electronic version. However, you may wish to print off a copy or save an electronic copy for your own records.

Can the font be adjusted in the eFARS output?
No. The font cannot be adjusted in the eFARS output.

There used to be a format that was specific to Extension programming. What happended to it?

With the expansive revisions made to eFARS in 2007, it was determined that the new outline was sufficiently clear for all CALS faculty.

 

About Collaborators in eFARS

If I enter an item with another VT author, can they edit it for accuracy?
No, you will need to discuss and coordinate your edits.  Think of it this way- eFARS cannot resolve a dispute between people.  Only you can do that. 

Will eFARS alert me when someone adds me as a collaborator?

eFARS will send you an email when someone adds or deletes you as a collaborator.

I cannot edit a collaborated work that was entered by someone else.  I need to because it was entered incorrectly.
If the collaborated work needs to be edited, then you should email or call your collaborator and have the collaborated work fixed.  Allowing you to edit the work would great duplicate entries of the same thing, and then the work would be double counted. One reason why eFARS was created was to help us eliminate multiple counting.  Allowing two or more "versions" of this would cause eFARS to double, triple and quadruple count scholarly works.

Scholarly works entered by other VT faculty members do not show when I print my report. What am I doing wrong?
You must click the"Add" button to add them to your report. They will not show unless you decide to add them. Only you can add items to your report.

The PI is not always the person who enters collaborative work, so what does "ownership" mean in eFARS?
The first person to enter a collaborative work controls the editing of the citation. Other collaborators must contact the "owner", if changes are necessary.

Does being the "owner" of a collaborative work carry any special weight?
No. it is the first person to enter the data, that is all.

I am unable to add one of my ex-graduate students. How do I enter this person?
You should add this person by clicking on "Add New Other".

I added several VT authors before I realized there was an "Add VT Author" button. Is there a way to remove authors from "my authors" list?
Yes. In the "My Collaborator" section all collaborators are listed and there is an "Edit" button and a "Delete" button.

I am an untenured faculty member and will likely have to put all of my vita in eFARS at some point. Will my collaborators remain in the system?
Yes.

I checked 'lead author' on publications. One of the co-authors told me that this means that one of the authors is under his or her supervision. Is that correct?
No.  Lead author means 1st author in this case.  Supervision is not a consideration for being the lead author.

Extension Program Planning

What is the purpose of Extension Program Planning?

Extension Program Planning is critical in developing and delivering Extension programs that include community input, make effective and efficient use of resources and activities, and produce outcomes that result in economic, social and environmental impacts.in eFARS, Extension planning involves faculty Buy-in into the work of Program and Impact Teams, and Agent development of Personal Action Plans.

How are Extension Program Plans developed?

The VCE Strategic Plan is the basis for the VCE planning and reporting process. Strategic Plan Objectives with similar themes are aligned under 11 Program Teams which are composed of specialists and agents. Extension programming will occur under the direction of Program Teams. In other words, each Program Team will coordinate state level programming, including situation analysis, program planning, program development, evaluation, and reporting for the Strategic Plan objectives aligned with it. Impact Teams will focus on a subset of the objectives that are aligned with the Program Team. Impact teams have greater evaluation and reporting reponsibilities than Program Teams.

What is the Extension Program Buy-in process?

Extension educational programs are developed to address local needs through the work of Program and Impact Teams and their aligned Strategic Plan Objectives. VCE Faculty are expected to buy-in to Program and Impact Teams. A faculty member's buy-ins should reflect a match between the needs of their clientele and the programming the faculty member plans to deliver to meet those needs, and a Program or Impact Team's Objectives. Lists of the faculty that bought into a Program or Impact Team are provided to those teams in order to facilitate communication about the Team's program development and evaluation.

When it is time to report next December, will we be limited to the programs we bought into for reporting?

No. What you buy-in to will not restrict what you report against at year end.

What is a Personal Action Plan?

Personal Action Plans identify the specific strategies that Extension Agents will implement to carry out Extension Educational Programs during the current year. The PAP is primarily a tool to assist agents in purposeful planning. They are approved by District Directors, and become part of the annual faculty review process.

I already put "Objectives, Next Evaluation Year" in my eFARS report. How are the objectives required in the PAP any different?

Objectives entered into eFARS are not copied into your PAP. However, if you wish to use these Objectives (or an edited form) in your PAP, you may. Just go to the Objectives section (E.2) and copy and paste into your PAP. You may also add additional Objectives to your PAP.

Planned Programs and Knowledge Areas

What are Planned Programs?

Planned Programs are broad areas of Extension and Research program emphasis. This classification system (along with Knowledge Areas) are used to tag all outputs entered into eFARS for the purpose of efficient categorization and reporting. Planned Programs are specifically used for annual reporting and creation of Plans of Work for USDA/NIFA of CALS, CNRE, VMRCVM, and Virginia State University's Extension and research efforts as required by law.

 

The current Planned Programs are:

ĦE Agriculture Profitability and Sustainability
ĦE Biotechnology, Biomaterials, and Energy
ĦE Climate Change, Natural Resources, and Environment
ĦE Community Viability
ĦE Food, Nutrition, and Health
ĦE Strengthening Virginia Families
ĦE Youth Development

 

What are Knowledge Areas?

Knowledge Areas is a subject content classification scheme for use in characterizing federally-funded, USDA/NIFA-administered research, education, and extension activities for the purpose of enabling budget and accountability reporting and integration.

Which Planned Programs and Knowledge Areas Do I Use?

In the "My Programs" tab, you will find a list of the Planned Programs (PP). You can click on each PP title to see a description of the areas of work associated with the PP. Slect those PPs that most closely match your work. It is perfectly acceptable to "add" more than one PP to your customized My Programs list. You should also add all of the Knowledge Areas that are applicable to the work that you may report on in eFARS.

 

Why is Use of Planned Programs and Knowledge Areas Important?

Proper tagging of your outputs (publications, presentations, grants, impacts, etc.) enables the College to efficiently and accurately report on our efforts to USDA/NIFA.