Teaching and Learning Resource Center

Getting Started with Vita

Vita is Ohio State's Faculty Information System, powered by Elements. Vita combines the enhanced research data collecting abilities of Elements with additional functionality specially designed for Ohio State faculty and staff. Vita is your doorway to Elements and creating your promotion and tenure dossier report.

All users are encouraged to complete an online Vita Overview Orientation and to visit the Office of Academic Affairs' frequently asked questions regarding promotion and tenure.

Recommended Workflow

The following is a suggested workflow for managing your Vita and Elements data.

Promotion and tenure (P&T) requirements vary by department and college. Consider setting up a meeting with your local P&T expert to review a sample copy of the dossier report. We suggest focusing this conversation on the areas of the dossier report that are required components of your specific unit's P&T expectations.

Managing your data for the dossier report is an ongoing process that should be managed on a regular basis. The more frequently you update your materials, the less cumbersome it will be when promotion and tenure documentation is due. 

It's important to start with the Preparation and Update Elements Search Settings recommendations outlined below. The additional sections can be worked on in any order you choose.

  1. Log into Vita, then click on the Curate Elements Data card to create your Elements account. This is an overnight process.
  2. Familiarize yourself with the Elements homepage
  3. If you have an assistant, give them delegate access to both Vita and Elements.
  4. Update your profile (photo, bio details).
  5. Get a printed copy of your dossier or CV. This will help expedite claiming your publications.
UX Tip

We recommend having Vita, Elements and the dossier preview open in separate browser windows or tabs. This will help you more easily navigate between the two systems and refresh the dossier report to reflect changes as they are made.

Update Elements Search Settings

If you have a number of pending items in Elements that do not belong to you, we suggest:

Manage Narratives

Narratives serve as a place to expand your profile with rich descriptions of your research, service and teaching.

Vita has four narratives sections:

If you plan to write a lengthy narrative, you might want to draft it offline and format it after you've pasted it into the Vita Narratives rich content editor.


Be sure to save each narrative as you go; it will not autosave. Check the dossier preview for formatting errors.

See your area's P&T experts for more guidance about writing narratives.

Manage Publications

Publications in Elements include the following activities:

  • Abstracts and Short Entries
  • Artwork and Exhibits
  • Books
  • Chapter in Edited Book
  • Bulletins / Tech Reports / Fact Sheets
  • Chapters in Edited Book
  • Conferences
  • Data Sets
  • Figures
  • General Press Articles
  • Internet Publications
  • Inventions and Patents
  • Journal articles
  • Media
  • Multimedia / Databases / Websites
  • Musical Works and Performances
  • Other Creative Works
  • Potential Publications Under Review
  • Presentations

Elements harvests external databases to retrieve publications that appear to be linked to you based on your name and other information you have entered in your search settings in Elements. We recommend the following steps for managing your Publications.

  1. Claim and reject publications.
  2. Select a preferred data source for each claimed record. Until a preferred data source is selected, it will not appear in Vita's Supporting Data or on you dossier report.
  3. Manually add each remaining publication not yet harvested by Elements.
  4. After selecting preferred data sources for each publication, return to Vita to update Supporting Data (e.g. description of effort, citation #s).
  5. Citation metrics added in Vita's Publications Supporting Data area will appear in the Vita dossier's Article Citations table, just below the Article Citations heading and just above the heading "5)a-Research Funding".
  6. If your area requires the inclusion of impact factor or citation tables, contact your P&T expert or library staff for assistance. Use the relevant narrative entry to include the information; if desired, you can build a table to display the data using the rich content editor in Vita's Narratives.
Manage Teaching Activities

Teaching Activities in Elements include the following activities:

  • Courses taught
  • Course-based degree, academic or professional supervision
  • Extension and continuing education instruction

Your courses taught are imported from the Registrar's system and are updated nightly.

  • In Vita review your courses taught.
  • Review and enter information about your advisees.
  • Enter extension and continuing education instruction

Manage Professional Development

You can add your teaching-related professional development activities, in Vita's Professional Development Supporting Data form.

Manage Professional Activities

Professional Activities, sometimes referred to as University Service, should be manually entered into Elements and include the following activities:

  • Advising student groups
  • Bar admission
  • Clinical Service
  • Clinical Trial
  • Committee Membership
  • Community Partner
  • Distinction
  • Editorial
  • Legal Proceeding
  • Licenses
  • Media Contact and Information / Position Interest
  • Memberships
  • Other Professional/Public Services
  • Outreach Initiatives
  • Strategic Initiatives
  • University Partner

Take care to distinguish between professional / service activities and teaching activities, such as giving guest lectures, acting as graduate studies representative, etc. based on your departmental expectations.

Manage Grants

Grant information should be manually entered into Elements.