HV. Data Governance Policy


The scope of South Plains College’s Data Governance policy directs the Office of Institutional Research and Reports to make data-related decisions regarding any data elements used for mandatory reporting. The Office’s mandatory reporting includes, but is not limited to: the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB; CBM Reports), the Department of Education (Gainful Employment; IPEDS; EADA), internal and external requests (private data requisitions for any institutional department or a third party outside the college – i.e. the National Student Clearinghouse, Texas Assn. of Community Colleges (TACC), and Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS)), and the state legislature.  Additionally, the Office of Information Services is tasked with ensuring the security of the college database and network systems, while proactively monitoring critical server infrastructure, hardware and operating systems.


  • “Data Stewards/Custodians”: Comprised of essential system administrators (composed of individuals from the SPC Computer Center, Information Services & Institutional Research such as the Director of Institutional Research and the Director of Server and Security Infrastructure) who are responsible for the operation and management of systems and servers that collect, manage and provide access to institutional data.
  • “Data Trustees”: Are senior-level College administrators and officials (outside the Office of Institutional Research and Reports, Computer Center, or IT) who have direct operational-level responsibility for the management of one or more types of institutional data (e.g., Admissions and Records, the Registrar).
  • “Data Users”: Data users are College employees and associates who have been granted access to institutional data in order to perform assigned duties or in fulfillment of assigned roles or functions within the College; this access is granted solely to conduct College business.
  • “Data Committee”: A group of College administrators who oversee the convergence of data quality, data management, and data policies surrounding the handling of data for the College. This cross-functional committee, led by the Director of Institutional Research, serves as a common ground to communicate and coordinate data related issues and makes recommendations to “data stewards” regarding significant issues that have broad implications.

 Goals and Objectives

  • · Establish a clear accountability for system-defined data elements.
  • · Identify, prioritize, track, and resolve critical data issues.
  • · Improve accuracy and reliability of data.
  • · Facilitate standardized data element coding schemas wherever feasible and within scope.
  • · Facilitate better quality communication, documentation and collaboration related to data coding, data use, and data policies.

The following principles are set forth as minimum standards to govern the appropriate use and management of institutional data:

  • Institutional data is the property of South Plains College and must be managed as a key institutional asset;
  • Unnecessary duplication of institutional data is discouraged, in an effort to eliminate redundancy in data collection;
  • Quality standards for institutional data shall be defined and monitored, increasing the level of accountability for data accuracy;
  • Institutional metadata shall be recorded, managed and utilized;
  • Institutional data shall be accessible according to defined needs and roles in accordance to the database owners (Institutional Research) and ERP management staff (Office of Information Services);
  • Institutional representatives will be held accountable to their roles and responsibilities;
  • Necessary maintenance of institutional data shall be defined and limited;
  • Resolution of issues related to institutional data shall follow consistent processes;
  • Data Trustees are responsible for the subset of data in their charge

Data Quality

Data quality is a measurement or an assessment of information's fitness to serve its purpose in a given context. Data quality dimensions include:

  • accuracy
  • consistency
  • completeness

These data quality measures are put in place to ensure a high degree of integrity and that key data elements can be integrated across functional units and departments, so that College faculty, staff, and management can rely on data for information and decision support.

Roles Required to Govern Data

Several roles and responsibilities govern the management of, access to and accountability for institutional data:

  • Office of Institutional Research and Reports (IR): IR facilitates and supports data governance and data stewardship activities, including:
    • keeping track of data stakeholders and stewards;
    • providing liaisons to other disciplines and programs, such as data quality/integrity, validity, and reliability;
    • the collection and aligning of policies, standards and guidelines from the stakeholder groups addressed above;
    • arranging for the providing of information and analysis to IR projects, as requested;
    • facilitating and coordinating data analysis and issue analysis projects;
    • facilitating and coordinating meetings of data stewards;
    • collecting metrics and success measures and reporting on them to data stakeholders;
    • providing ongoing stakeholder care in the form of communication, access to information, record keeping and education/support;
    • articulating the value of data governance and stewardship activities;
    • providing centralized communications for governance-led and data-related matters;
    • maintaining governance records;
    • provide necessary support and oversight of College’s ERP system.
  • Office of Information Services: IT facilitates and supports data governance and data stewardship activities, including:
    • keeping track of data stakeholders and stewards;
    • maintaining standard compliance, privacy, and security processes in relation to proper database management;
    • proactively monitoring all critical server and security infrastructure including, but not limited to: data center firewalls, back and security logs, server hardware and operating systems;
    • providing support and training to all users in local area network administration and usage;
    • serving as the central source for support and oversight of the College’s ERP system;
    • controlling permissions and employee access to the College’s ERP system – specifically,

When an employee is hired or changes positions within the college, that user will be assigned an application menu (an ERP menu) which restricts their access, and limits their permissions to the essential functions of which their job relates.  The employee’s manager will evaluate all aspects of an employee’s current job function, and will determine which data elements they will have access to.  When an employee switches jobs within the college, the old manager will terminate their old application menu and the new manager will propose a new application menu, based on the data elements needed in the new position.  An employee will not be allowed to have two, concurrent application menus.  The old application menu must be removed before a new menu, within their new department, can be created.  When an employee is terminated, the user id will be removed from the ERP system, and the individual will no longer have any access to ERP related data.

Institutional Research (IR) has the responsibility for the vast majority of official internal and external information requests and therefore will lead this effort. IR will be assisted by the full support and participation by representatives from the Office of Information Services, and any additional key functional units and areas, from throughout the College.

Data Policy at South Plains College

Data are an invaluable institutional asset that must be managed and protected.  Effective data governance requires a system of accountabilities for information-related processes that encompass the development, compliance and enforcement of policy to facilitate the resolution of data issues. It is essential that we be consistent and transparent in defining the methodology that describes how we store, access, manage, protect, and report our data.  Additionally, it is also important to develop strategic processes to increase effective decision support and efficient operations across South Plains College.

The Office of Institutional Research and Reports (IR) will have directive authority on recommendations for campus data management; data policy development; oversight of the College data committee, headed by the Director of Institutional Research; compliance audits related to reporting and grant requirements; the promotion of improved data governance practices including collection, storage, compilation, and reporting of data.  IR activities and responsibilities will revolve around state and federal reporting compliance, as well as, campus-wide and department-specific data governance interests. Moreover, IR will oversee the alignment of data collection, storage and reporting with the College’s strategic planning goals, while security and access is monitored by the Office of Information Services.

 At a minimum, the Office of Institutional Research and Reports shall address the following specific tasks:

Review existing data committees and related subcommittees, in order to recommend a coordinated structure that can best accomplish the charge of data governance at South Plains College.  This will include merging or eliminating existing committees and/or creating a new active committee, chaired by the Director of Institutional Research, to offer insight into the structuring of individual duties throughout the administration environment, in order to bring focus to:

  1. Data issues and concerns through a diverse spectrum of campus constituents including faculty, staff and administration who are engaged in the College’s information decision-support processes.
  2. The construction of policy recommendations based on outcomes and discrepancies that are brought to the attention of the Office of Institutional Research and Reports, Office of Information Services, or a member of the Data Oversight Committee.
  3. The offering of insight into the standards addressing institutional data management - including data definitions, data storage, privacy, reporting, and business intelligence tools.
  4. The monitoring of the alignment of data management with strategic planning goals, while making sure that necessary procedures are being put in place, and related action is being taken, to ensure compliance with the College’s Data Policy.

 Revision approved by SPC Executive Council