Recognizing the importance and value of Virginia Tech’s administrative data, the university has established a University Data Governance Council (UDGC) charged with providing overall direction and strategic guidance to the university’s data management and analytics efforts. Chaired by Scott Midkiff, vice president for information technology and CIO, and Don Taylor, executive vice provost, the council will provide guidance by endorsing policies and practices that affect the collection, quality, usability, and security of data used throughout the university.

“As data becomes more necessary and more important for decision making, planning, and reporting, it is essential that Virginia Tech develops more effective, unified processes and practices for the management of our data," said Midkiff. “The UDGC brings together stakeholders from across the university to provide coordination and make recommendations that address data management.”

The council has strategic responsibilities to develop university data definitions; collaborate to craft and endorse policies and best practices related to data privacy, security, and compliance; and inform requirements about storage architecture as well as data access and sharing.

In doing so, the council aims to ensure that data, reports, and analytics reach the people who need them; are easy to consume, understand, and manipulate; and are effective in informing institutional and departmental decisions. This would represent a major transformation of what is currently possible. Historically, university administrative data has been housed in siloed repositories, each requiring unique protocols and processes for requesting access or running reports. Ultimately, the UDGC expects to develop university-wide protocols and best practices that apply for all administrative data as it is being requested or analyzed.

Council members include data trustees and stewards of key data domains and other subject matter experts. The UDGC will lead a collaborative effort to effectively share data across functional areas through the establishment of processes to identify institutional data needs, provide access, and ensure overall data consistency and integrity.

Taylor noted, “Upcoming plans for the UDGC’s work include a number of surveys and focus groups to engage university data stewards and others in determining needs and opportunities to improve data management.”

More information, including the council’s charter, scope, reporting structure, and membership roster are available at the UDGC website found at it.vt.edu/udgc. The council seeks input, ideas, and comments via a Google form that can be accessed at the website listed above. Questions and comments may also be directed to UDGC-chairs-g@vt.edu.