How to Configure a Workflow Template with Branching Options

You can access the Workflow Administrator Certification videos here.

For more complex review processes, such as promotion or tenure, Workflow has additional process branching options to handle for different scenarios, such as:

  • Appealing a decision
  • Rebutting/responding to a reviewer or review committee
  • Withdrawing a submission from further consideration
  • Opting out of a review process altogether

DM's best practice recommendation for creating Workflow Templates with Branching options is to lay out every possible step a submission could go through. Mapping out these scenarios gives you a complete list of possible steps, but not all steps will be necessary for all submissions. For example, you may consider "Tenure Review" and "Appeal of Tenure Decision" to be two separate processes that are linked together. But in Workflow, these will become one single sequence of process steps with Branching options to handle the variability from submission to submission. Not all submissions will need to utilize all possible steps, but we recommend configuring processes to handle for all the possibilities, and in the correct sequence.

Within Workflow, there are two step-level settings — Process Completion and Process Fast-Forward — which can accommodate the Branching scenarios listed above.

Process Completion

Enabling Process Completion on a given step allows the process participant at that step to terminate the submission. If this is enabled on a step, you will be prompted to denote an Action Label, or the exact wording of the button that users may select to terminate the submission, and a Status Label, which will be used to describe the status of a submission if that particular action is taken. These open fields ensure that the different actions available to process participants align with your institutional guidelines and terminology.

Process Completion Scenario: Opt-Out

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Scenario: You're building a Tenure review process, and at the very first step of the process, subjects should be given the opportunity to "opt out" of being considered for Tenure.

Why it's helpful: It's easy to determine which faculty members must go up for tenure review in a given year; it’s more difficult to anticipate which of them may take advantage of the clause in your tenure policy that allows early tenure review. Rather than having to make the rounds to collect a list of which faculty are interested in early tenure review before you can set up your tenure review schedules, you can simply launch a schedule to all faculty who are eligible for early tenure review, and those who are not interested may opt out within the process itself.

Setup in Workflow:

  1. Enable process completion at the initial faculty submission step in the process
  2. Denote "Opt Out" (or some variation) as the Action Label
  3. Denote "Opted Out" (or some variation) as the Status Label

Process Completion Scenario: Withdrawal

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Scenario: You're building a Promotion process, and your university promotion guidelines stipulate that faculty who receive a negative review from certain reviewers can choose to withdraw their submission from further consideration.

Why it's helpful: The submission can be terminated at a given point in the process, but in a way that retains all submission and review materials for historical purposes, and does not require that the submission be routed through any remaining steps in the process.

Setup in Workflow:

  1. Enable process completion at a faculty response step
  2. Denote "Withdraw my Promotion Submission" (or some variation) as the Action Label
  3. Denote "Withdrawn" (or some variation) as the Status Label

Process Completion Scenario: Appeal

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Scenario: You're building a Tenure process, and your university's tenure guidelines stipulate that after the Provost decides whether to grant tenure to a faculty member, that faculty member is given the opportunity to appeal a negative decision and proceed through some additional steps at the end of a process.

Why it's helpful: Rather than building out a separate Workflow process to handle an appeal, you can create a decision point where positive decisions can be accepted, or negative decisions can be either accepted or appealed. 

Setup in Workflow:

  1. Enable process completion at a faculty response step following the Provost's decision but before the appeal steps
  2. Denote "Accept and Complete" (or some variation) as the early completion Action Label
  3. Denote "Completed" (or some variation) as the Status Label
  4. Denote "Appeal Decision" (or some variation) as the overall Action Label for the step

Process Fast-Forward

Enabling Process Fast-Forward on a given step affords the process participant the opportunity to jump forward, bypassing a number of steps. This, in effect, creates a "loop" of steps that can be utilized for some submissions but bypassed for others.

Process Fast-Forward Scenario: Rebuttal "Loop"

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Scenario: You're building Promotion process, and your university promotion guidelines stipulate that if a Promotion applicant disagrees with the Dean's evaluation, the applicant will be afforded the opportunity to rebut the Dean, and the dean can then respond to the rebuttal, before the process advances to the Provost for their review.

Why it's helpful: Rather than handling points of conflict outside of Workflow, building in rebuttal loops at certain points maintains the integrity of the Workflow submission as a complete record of all steps in the process. These "loops" are entirely optional, so they can be bypassed in cases where the Dean and applicant are in agreement.

Setup in Workflow:

  1. Enable process fast-forward at a faculty response step following the Dean's evaluation.
  2. Link the faculty response step to the Provost's review step.
  3. Denote "Submit" (or some variation) as the fast-forward Action Label. (This would be the scenario where the "loop" is skipped.)
  4. Denote "Send Rebuttal" (or some variation) as the overall Action Label for the step. (This would be the scenario where the rebuttal "loop" is utilized.)

Experience for Process Participants

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For Workflow process participants, all possible branching or routing options are nested under a single "Actions" button at the top-right corner of the screen. Depending on the type of step and how that step is configured, this could include a number of routing options, including a process completion option, a process fast-forward option, an option to advance to the immediate next step, as well as a "Send Back" option. (Note that Send Back is not a Branching function. This option is available to all reviewers and review committees.)

Each routing option contains additional context — specifically, the name of the step to which the submission will route if that action is taken. For instance, a fast-forward routing option would include the Action Label you configured, along with the name of the step to which you would fast-forward the submission (e.g., "Submit to Provost Review").

The Workflow module is available to add to Faculty Success for an additional fee. To learn more about adding it for your institution, please contact your Client Success Manager.

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