ADVANCE Faculty Equity Query Tool (AFEQT)

What is AFEQT?

Michigan Tech strives to cultivate and support an exceptional, diverse community of students, faculty, and staff. As a predominantly STEM institution, the University values data and uses it as evidence to motivate change. To help slice the data and track trends over time, ADVANCE developed the ADVANCE Faculty Equity Query Tool (AFEQT) tool in collaboration with IT's Enterprise Application Services, Institutional Research, and university administrators. AFEQT enables department chairs and deans to get a clear picture of current and historical data. It also allows them to compare that data across parameters such as gender, race/ethnicity, and faculty level. Default reports can be generated on tenure-track and instructional-track faculty by gender and race/ethnicity; promotion; tenure applications and awards; years in rank for tenured faculty; faculty turnover; faculty hires, cohort analysis of tenure and promotion; academic leadership positions; salary; research space allocation; start-up packages; and teaching loads from student credit hours. Custom reports can also be generated by selecting and reordering parameters.  The report output is a table or graph, which can be downloaded into excel or pdf.  Department chairs and deans may access data and compile it for their units. All of this, if used properly, will enable valuable and meaningful progress towards achieving greater diversity, equity and inclusion in at our institution.


Michigan Tech and ADVANCE were selected as an Exemplar by EDUCAUSE in their 2022 Horizon Report: Data and Analytics Edition

In addition, AFEQT was well received by a national audience at the 2023 ARC Network Equity in STEM Community Convening.

How was AFEQT developed and vetted?

The process followed was: AFEQT Development →Pilot Group 1 (Deans, Chairs)→Refinement → Pilot Group 2 (VPR, Chairs) → Refinement → Rollout (these tutorials, live sessions) → ongoing maintenance.


>National Science Foundation (NSF) requires all institutions applying for and holding ADVANCE grants to track data in eleven (11) main categories.  Many of the items tracked were identified from the MIT Report as well as in the book Why So Slow?

>In 2016-2017, while preparing proposals for submission to NSF, the ADVANCE Principle Investigator (PI)  team leveraged focus groups to extract the data from the Compendium or Institutional Research (IR) and compile it for the 11 categories. Each category utilized between 5 and 40 person hours to compile the data, was discussed openly, and reworked to address skepticisms (or other dependencies) that were raised.  

>It was concluded that, to be successful, our ADVANCE program would need to be able to track university-verified data in near real time and strategically share it with the following purposes in mind: 

  1. Aggregate data for administrative decision-making, university audiences (university dashboard, training sessions, etc.), and/or the public.
  2. Separate data for colleges/units in order to inform decisions that influence the data trends in the 11 categories.  These could be achieved either within the query tool or alternatively crafted into excel files or formatted reports that are “pushed” to units at strategic times to inform decisions.  
  3. Easily generate the annual data required to be submitted to NSF as an ADVANCE institution.  

The ADVANCE budget was crafted with two personnel to make this successful: one in Institutional Research to oversee the data, and a second in Information Technology’s (IT) Enterprise Applications Services (EAS) department to build a query interface in WebFocus to generate reports and plots. 

An initial tool framework was developed and tested in 2020. In 2021, we demonstrated the query interface for the Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion. It was decided we would clearly delineate two uses: public-facing static data and a dynamic query tool for unit leaders (AFEQT). The VP's office is overseeing the public Michigan Tech dashboard. The ADVANCE team refined the AFEQT query tool for a limited audience of unit leaders (administrators) who have been granted access to run reports. The query tool may also be used to generate reports that could be distributed to a specified audience (all chairs) on a schedule.  

In 2021, an initial pilot group reviewed and vetted the query interface. Once this initial pilot group felt they had fully tested the tool, a second stage pilot group was identified and was convened to further test AFEQT. Rollout to all department chairs and deans occurred March-May 2022. 100% participation was achieved and all chairs have access to the tool. Training documentation and training videos are available to chairs with annual training sessions for new chairs.  


  • A faculty equity query tool has been developed by ADVANCE that pulls from multiple University databases.  Processes are in place to ensure the data is accurate, consistent with other reporting rules, and compiled annually.  ADVANCE has successfully institutionalized this resource for university decision-makers and influencers. 
  • VPDI is working with Institutional Research and IT-EAS to expand Michigan Tech's dashboards interfaceable dashboard with select data for Michigan Tech public audiences.


Orientation as well as Q&A session presentations and zoom recordings are archived for those with access to the tool.  In addition, there are four tutorials that have been developed that are in written documentation format as well as in video instruction format.  These tutorials are available through AFEQT’s help menu and include: 

Introductory Tutorial

Intro on why the tool was developed and how to use it, including default and custom reports as well as footnotes and help infrastructure.

Output Tutorial

How to slice and examine data in the> ‘Salaries of Faculty’ Report and ‘Start-up Packages of Newly Hired Tenure-Track Faculty’ Report. The tutorial also covers plotting data via Bar Graphs and Line Graphs, exporting to PDF, Excel, or PowerPoint, and also directs to 'Saved Parameter Sets' tutorial.

Retention Tutorial

Retention analysis and the complimentary cohort analysis from the  ‘Faculty Turnover’ reports as well as ADVANCE’s Analysis of Retention and the prior mini retention study (conducted in 2016 with IRB approvals).

Student Credit Hours Tutorial

Explores a key dimension of workload with an equity lens including a guide to examining historical trends, SCH by term, or by fixed term/temp employees.

Help and Footnotes:

>The help functionality includes all definitions for each parameter as well as instructions on operating, running, and customizing reports (also in tutorials).  
Each report includes detailed footnotes that illustrate the data the report was run, the data source for the data, and any parameter rules for data inclusion or exclusion. 

ADVANCE Reports:

From AFEQT data, the ADVANCE team has conducted analyses and compiled reports intended to guide discussions by administration and others on campus. These reports are always conducted campus-wide or with a focus on STEM faculty (per NSFs original program focus). The following two reports related to retention can be viewed at this time:

  1. ADVANCE’s analysis of retention (2009-2019) 
  2. Prior mini retention study (conducted in 2016 with IRB approvals)

Ongoing Data Stewardship:

The AFEQT tool reflects the data available.  Much of the data is maintained by Institutional Research, but some data depends upon departmental reporting. Thus, it is important that all individuals and units put effort into reporting data in a timely and consistent manner through each of the relevant database interfaces. 

AFEQT maintenance:

Data is updated annually by Institutional Research. The IT-EAS team has AFEQT in their annual maintenance schedule to upgrade software and address any data changes from Institutional Research. ADVANCE will continue to train and monitor report completeness and quality.


Michigan Tech is a globally recognized technological university that educates students, advances knowledge, and innovates to improve the quality of life and to promote mutual respect and equity for all people within the state, the nation, and the global community. 

MTU Strategic Planning Framework for DEIS