Skip to content

Data Governance Steering Committee Charge Letter

(Original on UW Executive Office letterhead)

September 23, 2019

Data Governance Steering Committee
Phil Reid, Vice Provost for Academic and Student Affairs and Professor, chair
Ann Anderson, Associate Vice President for Enterprise Services, UW Finance
Beth Britt, Director of Analytics, IT Services, UW Medicine
Marlon Buchanan, Sr. Director, Technology and Data Services, Continuum College
Anja Canfield-Budde, Associate Vice President for Information Management, UW Information Technology
Erin Guthrie, Director for Institutional Data and Analysis, Office of Planning & Budgeting
Jim Kresl, Assistant Vice Provost and Director, ORIS, Office of Research
Joe Lawless, Assistant Chancellor for Strategy and Assessment, UW Tacoma
Christy Long, Assistant Vice Chancellor for IT and Chief Information Officer, UW Bothell Planning and Administration
Carole Palmer, Professor and Associate Dean for Research, Information School

Ann Nagel, Associate Vice Provost and Institutional Privacy Official, Academic & Student Affairs
Marisa Nickle, Sr. Director, Strategy & Academic Initiatives, Office of the Provost/Academic & Student Affairs

Dear Colleagues,

Thank you for your willingness to serve on the University of Washington’s Data Governance Steering Committee. We are charging the Steering Committee with overseeing a comprehensive data and analysis strategy for the University, with the ultimate goal of creating and fostering a best-in-class environment for data management, architecture and ultimately, institutional analysis. The scope is limited to academic, research administration, and business data, and excludes patient data. Though this Steering Committee will convene on an ongoing basis, the executive office will annually review the charge and membership to allow for updates based on evolving needs and emerging strategies.

There is increasing demand for and reliance upon data and analysis for decision-making at all levels of the University’s organizational structure, including alignment with evolving data structures as enterprise resource planning systems are replaced. Current and anticipated structures and data analysis capabilities are not adequate to meet increasing and evolving demands. The University must therefore address its weaknesses in data governance. This in turn requires the development and implementation of a comprehensive strategy, to include objectives, timelines, and resources.

In 2006, a Data Management Committee was formed and over time its scope expanded to providing “support and advice regarding the administration, access and use of UW data.” In 2017, a Data Governance Task Force was charged with revisiting the UW’s data governance model and the following year a Data Governance and Analysis Committee reviewed and confirmed the Task Force’s recommendations. Based on these recommendations, we are creating a new two-tiered, tri-campus governance structure with a Steering Committee responsible for strategy and an Operational Committee responsible for researching and developing solutions that help bring the strategy to fruition. Together the two committees will oversee and implement recommendations including short, medium, and long-term deliverables in the areas of data governance, data architecture and data resources, and data analysis.

The main areas of focus of the Steering Committee are to prioritize high-level outcomes based on priorities across the institution, develop strategy related to multiple areas of data, reconcile competing priorities across UW units, and create accountability for outcomes. The group will both initiate efforts of institutional importance and create a clear process to both analyze and respond to issues.

As you undertake this work, we ask that you work on behalf of the UW as a whole, including all three campuses; that you incorporate perspectives of executive leadership, academic schools and colleges, faculty, students and a range of data owners; that you represent all areas of data in scope; and that you draw from intellectually diverse perspectives. We also ask that your work promotes informed decision-making and shared solutions, that it creates buy-in and enables positive culture change, and that it applies experience and expertise to ensure data strategies come to fruition.
The objective and tasks of the Steering Committee, in order of priority, is as follows:

1. Data Governance

Governance involves the organizational structures and processes through which the University decides how data are developed, stored, and used. It also involves the definition and prioritization of future data, infrastructure, and analysis needs.

The Steering Committee is tasked with:

  1. Prioritizing issues to address, both those gathered by previous groups and those brought to the Steering Committee or Operational Committee.
  2. Further clarifying the relationship between these committees and other governance groups with data governance and compliance-related responsibilities.
  3. Refining the implementation/operational model for the governance structure in response to needs.

2. Data Architecture and Data Resources

Data architecture defines the environments in which data governance, data assembly, and data analysis take place.

The Steering Committee is tasked with reviewing recommendations from previous committees, prioritizing efforts and charging the Operational Committee or other relevant groups to act.

Areas of near-term focus include:

  1. Processes for enabling data access
  2. Current gaps in institutional data collection at the UW
  3. Mechanisms for classifying and providing new data resources to data consumers and charge
  4. Process whereby the UW identifies, discusses, and escalates data-related issues

3. Data Analysis

Data analysis involves the translation of data into actionable information. It requires the identification of analytical needs and the services to address them.

The Steering Committee is tasked with developing strategies in the following areas:

  1. Identifying, prioritizing and pursuing high-impact areas for analytics and expert analysis, based on the specific needs, requirements, and benefits thereof. Such areas may include student success and retention, academic programming, and operational reports involving personnel data, finance, and the myriad data elements required for planning and forecasting.
  2. Meeting the evolving data analysis needs of the UW, including vehicles for individuals to communicate their needs, stakeholder outreach efforts, and other mechanisms.

The Steering Committee is also tasked with identifying and/or proposing resources needed for accomplishing the above tasks and helping the University meet the evolving demands for data governance, data architecture and resources, and data analysis.

Marisa Nickle, Sr. Director of Strategy & Academic Initiatives in the Office of the Provost will work closely with and support the chairs of the Data Governance Steering Committee and Operational Committee to launch this effort, and align strategy and work of the two committees. Ann Nagel, Associate Vice Provost of Privacy in Academic and Student Affairs, will chair the Operational Committee and will attend the Steering Committee as an ex-officio member and liaison between the two committees.

Thank you for your willingness to serve the UW community in this important capacity.


Ana Mari Cauce
Professor, Psychology

Mark A. Richards
Provost and Executive Vice President
Professor, Earth and Space Sciences