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Data Governance FAQs

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an organizational process and a structure

What is data governance?

Data governance is both an organizational process and a structure; it establishes responsibility for data, organizing program area staff to collaboratively and continuously improve data quality through the systematic creation and enforcement of policies, roles, responsibilities, and procedures (National Forum on Education Statistics, 2011).

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Essentially, the ambitious charge for stakeholders involved in data governance is to develop and support data practices that promote institutional mission fulfillment, support informed decisions, and facilitate strategic planning.  Ensuring a solid data foundation obliges the collaborative work of leaders and experts across campus attending to what falls under the data governance umbrella: data definitions, process ownership and authority, accountability, security and privacy, data access, reporting needs and requirements, and research priorities.

Why is data governance important?

A culture of data informed decision-making requires that the university’s data infrastructure be sound and that campus stakeholders are empowered with timely and accurate data.  A continuous investment of collective time and resources is necessary to meet today’s extensive demand for informed and nimble decision-making across the university.

As an advocate for robust data governance, the Office of Institutional Research at HNU hopes to broadly empower the wise use of data by all stakeholders involved in achieving the institutional mission. As increasing numbers of data consumers collect and access data, this diffuse network has the potential to expedite data informed decision-making at the significant risk of creating redundant data silos.  Data governance encompasses both the top-down and grassroots strategies that establish effective university-wide data practices.

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Data Definitions
  • Academic Year (AY): The period of time generally extending from Mid-to-late August until early the following August; usually equated to Fall Semester, Spring Semester, and Summer Semester. E.g. AY 2017 corresponds to Fall 2021, Spring 2022, and Summer 2022.
  • Cohort: student group consists of entering first-time, full-time freshmen; cohort membership remains fixed at fall entry, with no new members added or deleted from original group
  • Full-time Equivalent (FTE): For students is calculated by adding the Full-time headcount with the Part-time headcount divided by 3
  • Full time status: undergraduates enrolled in 12 or more credits and graduate students enrolled in 9 or more credits
  • Graduating year: The academic year a student graduates from the institution.
  • Higher Education General Information Survey (HEGIS): The US Dept. of Education’s predecessor to the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), which are a series of annual surveys designed to collect comprehensive information on postsecondary education in the US. HEGIS codes are a nationally accepted system for classifying majors.
  • Incoming year: The academic year a student first enrolls at the institution.
  • Part time status: undergraduates enrolled in less than 12 credits and graduate students enrolled in less than 9 credits
  • Retention Rate: The rate at which first-time, full-time first-year students (assigned into a cohort every fall term and associated with a college/school as of the incoming term) enroll in subsequent fall terms in any college/school or graduate.  Therefore, 1st – 2nd year retention refers to returning in the fall of sophomore year, 1st – 3rd year retention refers to returning in the junior year, and 1st – 4th year retention refers to returning in the senior year.
  • Retention Rate (definition refers to a new Power BI Retention Dashboard tab under construction): The rate at which first-time, full-time first-year students (assigned into a cohort every fall term and associated with a college/school as of the incoming term) enroll in subsequent fall terms in the same college/school or graduate from the same college/school.
  • School: School of Business and Applied Social Sciences, School of Education, School of Liberal Arts, and School of Nursing, Health, and Natural Sciences
  • Student Class: Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, or Senior indicates degree-seeking undergraduates.  The Fr, So, Jr, or Sr status is based off of credits earned and does not indicate whether a student is enrolled in their 1st year, 2nd year, etc at HNU.
  • Student Credit Hours (SCH): Product of the number of students enrolled in a course multiplied by the credit hours of the course.
Student Level
  • Undergraduate – admitted to HNU and seeking a baccalaureate degree
  • Credential – admitted to HNU and seeking a credential
  • Graduate – admitted to HNU and seeking a degree or certificate/licensure beyond the Bachelor’s level
  • Certificate – admitted to HNU and seeking a certificate
  • Non-matriculated – attending HNU but without formal admission into a degree program or enrolled in continuing education courses and workshops
Student Type
  • Continuing – attended the last prior Fall or Spring term
  • First Time Freshman – attending HNU for the first time at the undergraduate level including those enrolled in Fall who attended college for the first time in the prior Summer term and students entering with advanced standing by earning college credit before graduating from high school
  • Transfer – attending HNU for the first time but known to have attended a postsecondary institution including students entering with or without transfer credit
  • Re-admit – undergraduate or graduate student re-admitted to HNU after missing a regular academic year semester and has not attended any other college in the interim
  • Re-admit/Transfer – undergraduate student re-admitted to HNU after missing a regular academic year semester and has attended another college in the interim
  • New Graduate – formally admitted graduate level student who has enrolled at HNU for the first time as a graduate student
  • Non-matriculated – attending HNU but without formal admission into a degree program or enrolled in continuing education courses and workshops
  • Term/Semester: The naming convention for semester are the academic term followed by a year 01, 02, or 03. For example, FA20 indicates Fall 2020, SP21 indicates Spring 2021, SU21 indicates Summer 2021.  The naming convention for terms, within each semester, Term1/Term2 are in fall, Term3/Term4 are in spring, and Term5/Term6 are in summer.