$#%!!? FAR

It’s Faculty Annual Report (FAR) season again.

Last year, FAR season was not fun. The FAR mysteriously “lost” a bunch of faculty reports (my theory was that it never saved them in the first place, but I digress), and many unfun hijinks ensued.

The author of FAR still works here, but he’s been sucked into the Peoplesoft black hole (don’t get me started), so yours truly ended up with the bulk of the FAR hassle last year. This year, yours truly is going to be out for most of FAR season with a newborn, and to put it mildly, that doesn’t break my heart. But that’s not the real point of this entry… Really, I just wanted to document a coupla things for future reference.

The FAR app displays 3 different due dates to users, and these dates change every year. The past 2 years, I’ve had the fun of updating the due dates, and each time it’s taken a bit of searching around to figure out where the dates are stored. Long story short:

The due dates live at [server-root]/etc/far/due_date.txt. This file can be human-edited, but there’s also a module within FAR that allows certain users to edit these dates via the web. To get this ability, your username has to be present in the table FAR.FAR_AUTH. Then, in the FAR app under the “Report Options” dropdown, you will see an option titled “FAR Due Dates”. Select this, and you can edit the due dates from there.

Also, it seems like every year, UMBC adds more academic departments, so it’s fairly common to get requests to add these departments to FAR. FAR maintains its own lists of departments (should it really do this? Probably not. Will it ever get fixed? Probably not). To add one, just add it to the table FAR.FAR_DEPARTMENTS.

That’s all for now.