New Initiative to Create Institutional Definitions for Data Consistency and Clarity

We use words like “student” and “employee” every day, but did you know that we don’t have standard definitions for these terms across the university and medical center? The Data Governance team is launching an initiative to standardize institutional definitions and is seeking assistance from colleagues across the university and medical center.

Why is this important?

For everyday use, it might not seem to matter that our common terms do not have a standardized institutional definition, but once we start trying to dive into our data, the inconsistencies in how we define these terms can lead to confusion and inaccurate reporting and analysis.

For example, a term commonly used inconsistently is “student”, which can refer to a myriad of different situations and be counted in several different ways. A “student” could refer to an admitted applicant, an enrolled student, a part-time student, a full-time student or some combination. Without a standardized definition for the term, a count of “students” could widely differ depending on which understanding of the term was used.

How will this work?

The Data Governance team will begin facilitating the development of working groups, composed of faculty and staff from across the university and medical center, to create standardized institutional definitions. Working in batches of related terms, the team will solicit new members for a working group with each new category. One batch of terms will be worked on at a time.

Interested in joining this effort?

Currently, the team is seeking faculty and staff who wish to be a part of the first working group, which will focus on terms under the “student” umbrella, including defining undergraduate, graduate, professional, non-degree and non-credit students. Please fill out our Qualtrics survey to get involved and indicate if you want to be part developing definitions, reviewing the definitions or just want to be notified when the work is complete. Our first meeting is on October 18, so do not delay!

If you are interested in being involved in future definition creation, please fill out this Qualtrics survey to be notified of upcoming opportunities.

More information and future terms up for defining can be found on this project’s website.