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Data Stewardship

After reviewing the former stewardship model, benchmarking against peers, and gathering input, UW Data Governance developed an updated approach for data stewardship at the UW. This new model replaces the former model of Data Custodians and Trustees; those titles and related roles will be retired. The goals of the new approach are to more closely link data stewardship and data governance, encourage collaborative leadership and engagement through data domain councils, avoid siloed decision-making, and provide a supportive community for stewards at all levels.

Data Stewardship Defined

The Data Management Body of Knowledge describes data stewardship as “Accountability and responsibility for data and processes that ensure effective control and use of data assets… to help an organization get value from its data.”

Why Data Stewardship is important

Actively stewarding data creates a cohesive approach across and within data domains to address data issues specific to domains (e.g., policy, quality definition and classification, access, architecture, and analysis). The end result is that the University gets more value from its data while managing cost and risk.

UW’s approach to Data Stewardship

The UW’s approach to stewardship and how it interacts with existing data governance and stakeholder groups is expressed in the following graphic.

Grid representing UW stewardship roles with three categories (Stewardship on the left, Governance in the middle, and Business/IT/Other Stakeholders on the right)
Data Governance Stewardship

UW’s Data Domains and councils

Initially, the UW has established six data domains, each with a domain council made up of data stewards and subject-matter experts. The domain councils began forming in Winter/Spring 2021 and all meet regularly. A Spring 2023 survey of data governance-involved stakeholders showed that 98% of respondents found the “launch of a new stewardship model, with six data domain councils to address domain-specific issues” to be extremely valuable or somewhat valuable.

Frequenly Asked Questions

UW data stewards at various levels are collaborative leaders accountable and responsible for data and processes within the domain. They meet regularly as a domain council and anchor the people, process, and technology change needed to address domain-specific issues by eliciting the concerns of others and taking into consideration the needs of the entire UW.
UW Data Domain Councils address data issues are specific to their domains, such as…

  • planning
  • policy
  • data definition and classification
  • quality
  • access
  • inventory
  • issues response
  • communication and training
  • architecture
  • analysis

There are three main ways that issues reach the data council:

  1. Issues are submitted through an intake process
  2. Members of the domain council bring issues to the group for consideration and prioritization
  3. Data Governance committees asks the council to address an issue

Each data domain council prioritizes its own work, in conversation with the Data Governance committees.

When issues cross domains or impact the University as a whole, the domain councils escalate those issues to Data Governance committees that include representation of all the data domains.

Data stewards will receive onboarding through their domain council, including an overview of UW data governance, data stewardship, and the role of data stewards.
Onboarding videos are available on the Training & Education webpage.