Good data defined

As associate vice provost for academic planning, Nancy Bliwise spends a lot of time thinking about data -- and not just data for data's sake but quality data with integrity.

"Data integrity goes beyond taking good measures," says Bliwise. "It is an ethical issue. We are all responsible for ensuring the quality of institutional data."

Bliwise chairs the Data Advisory Committee (DAC), which has developed a new institutional data management policy for Emory. The policy establishes consistent standards for managing information that belongs to the institution, based on accuracy, completeness, consistency, reliability, and timeliness. The goal is to maintain the quality of institutional data and safeguard its appropriate use in support of Emory's teaching, research, and service missions.

In November, members of the DAC and Office of Institutional Research, Planning, and Effectiveness hosted a summit to share the new policy with leaders across campus. They also introduced a framework that defines data management responsibilities for the positions of trustee, steward, custodian, and user -- based on who owns, generates, verifies, and reports institutional information.

The new policy governs data generated and reported by Emory, including student and faculty data, but does not apply to faculty research or patient information, which are governed by other regulations. Institutional Research is the designated office for data collection and reporting for Emory.

The committee now is taking on a large project to define data across all units, insuring procedures are in place to validate and verify data. This spring, it will introduce online training for colleagues who work directly with data. Currently, it is testing a central archive of all external reports and will publish a link to the archive soon.