Data Governance Committees Begin Assignments

In April, President Turner announced the creation of two new committees to address issues of data governance at SMU. The newly formed groups aid SMU’s transition to a more enhanced data informed institution by addressing data policy issues, common terminologies, data sharing and access, and business processes surrounding the input, maintenance, extraction, and reporting of university data holdings.

The transition to better University-wide data practices will be shepherded by the Data Governance Steering Committee (DGSC) and the Data Goverance Committee (DGC). Both committees gathered for an inaugural meeting on May 25 for an introduction to the new role of data goverance at SMU.

The DGSC includes senior administrators from across campus who will discuss overarching data needs and challenges at SMU to improve decision making. The committee is comprised of:

Patty Alvey – Assessment and Accreditation

Gary Brubaker – Guildhall

Adam Cebulski – Student Affairs

Daniel Eady – Provost

Julie Forrester – Provost

Charles Headley – DEA

Curt Herridge – OIT

Philip Jabour – Facilities

Paul Krueger – Faculty Senate

Ernie Barry – Budgets and Finance

Peter Moore – Provost

Toni Nolen – CUL

Jim Quick – Research

Doug Reinelt – Provost

Sheri Starkey – HR

Samantha Thomas – Institutional Access & Equity

Alison Tweedy – Campus Services

Wes Waggoner – Enrollment Management

The DGC includes data administrators and those with specific data management influence working to make decisions about definitions, quality and timelines. The committee is comprised of:

Vickie Bumgardner – Tax Accounting & Payroll

David Chambers – Student Affairs

Corey Clark – Guildhall

Edward Collins – Assessment and Accreditation

DeeDee Conway – Lyle

Joe Davis – Admissions

Pery Doan – OIT

Lane Duncan – OIT

Stephen Forrest – Enrollment Services

Kim Grace – Law

Clint Gilchrist – Controller

Duane Harbin – Perkins Theology

Susan Strobel Hogan – Student Affairs

Michael Hogan – Student Affairs

Tracy Horstman – Facilities

Chase Jenkins – Student Affairs

Shannon Lunt – Sponsored Research

Eric Macy – OIT

Margaret Mahoney – Simmons

Patricia May – Bursar

Gary Moskowitz – Cox

Dawn Norris – Student Affairs

Vinh Pham – Budget and Finance

Vinay Ramachandra – Institutional Research

Rhiannon Roark – HR

David Sedman – Meadows

Jie Sun – Dedman College

Zoltan Szentkiralyi – CUL

Sharla Walker – Financial Aid

Austin Westervelt-Lutz – DEA


President Turner Introduces Data Governance Initiative

Dear Faculty and Staff,

I am excited to announce the launch of a new Data Governance Initiative with the goal of enabling SMU faculty and staff to access information more effectively to make better strategic, data-informed decisions.

In June 2016, an Operational Excellence initiative began to explore implementation of a data warehouse at SMU. A team of University staff and faculty conducted a thorough six-month review of the University’s data holdings, processes and systems. During its review, the team found discrepancies in how data was entered and defined by campus users, which highlighted a need to better define and organize data. Additionally, challenges were identified regarding inconsistent definitions, lack of integrative reporting, and the absence of robust data visualization capability.

For any organization, the process of moving from disparate data collections and definitions to easily accessible data requires careful planning and cooperation. Data governance focuses on improving data quality and access to data, establishing operational definitions, exploring business processes, and developing documented policies. While individual units and departments have responsibility for specific portions of data, often the University is called on to report information and make decisions based on institution-wide data. For some things as simple as what defines an academic department, degree or major across the University, it’s often impossible due to discrepancies to compare and contrast data from school to school or to report accurately across the University.

The new governance process recommended by the Data Warehouse Initiative Team will be led by Michael Tumeo, director of Institutional Research. He also will serve as the Data Governance director and lead two committees to address data governance issues at SMU. The Data Governance Steering Committee (DGSC) will include senior administrators from across campus who will discuss overarching data needs and challenges to help SMU make better and more timely decisions. This committee will provide guidance and direction to the Data Governance Committee (DGC), which will primarily include data administrators, or those with data management influence, in their specified areas. This group will make decisions about definitions, quality, and timelines, and will bring knowledge of how data is used in their functional areas. All areas of the University will be represented on both committees. Within the first two weeks of April, invitations to serve on these committees will go out to university faculty and staff. Initial work will begin prior to the end of Spring term.

Data governance is an important step forward for SMU as we strive to meet, and exceed, the goals and objectives outlined in the University Strategic Plan. Ultimately, having clear data definitions and better access to data across SMU will allow us to make better decisions.


Gerald Turner