University of Wisconsin–Madison

Data Governance

Program Mission

Aligning with the priorities established for UW–Madison, the mission of the Data Governance Program is to allow for and facilitate campus-wide data-driven decision-making. The program seeks to identify what data exist or need to exist in the future, define what responsibilities exist related to the management of data, and assign accountability for those responsibilities to specific groups or individuals within the university. Read the full Data Governance Program Charter.

Program Pillars

  • Policies and Standards: The program will determine who has the authority to make decisions regarding access, priorities, and data usage standards, and under what conditions those decisions can be made.
  • Information Quality: Formal and professional data stewardship is an essential part of any data governance program. Those responsible for data stewardship are accountable for the integrity and quality of our data.
  • Privacy, Compliance, and Security: How we institutionally deal with the inherent risk that comes along with curating data is an essential part of the program. The program will develop the risk management strategies and identify ways to operationalize those strategies. Additionally, the program should align with and coordinate with records management custodians to ensure compliance with applicable requirements.
  • Architecture and Integration: Ensuring that there are common data definitions and that those definitions are made available across platforms is essential to enabling informed data-driven decision-making. The program will make decisions on what those definitions are and how we technically support the requirements of those definitions.
Data governance framework imagine

Goals and Objectives

  • Establish a data quality culture that drives data-driven decision-making.
  • Create structured accountability with defined roles and responsibilities.
  • Draft and approve data-related policies.
  • Facilitate collaboration and education related to data-related policies and use of data.
  • Facilitate standard, consistent data definitions where appropriate.
  • Ensure that data policies align with record retention policies.

Guiding Principles

  • Transparency: It should be clear how and when decisions are made and processes are created.
  • Metrics-Driven: We should measure and report on how we are doing against our goals.
  • Consistency: All decisions should be applied consistently.
  • Stewardship: While there will be formal stewardship roles defined, it is everyone’s responsibility to protect the privacy, security, and confidentiality of our data as required.
  • Accountability: Decisions and processes should be audited.
  • Agility: All processes should be able to adapt when appropriate.
  • Change Management: New processes will require a concerted effort in managing change
    among campus staff.
The relationships between Data Governance Program roles are depicted through an image

Data Governance Program Roles

Executive Sponsors
The Executive Sponsors will be responsible for program oversight, high-level project approval and prioritization, policy approval, and project funding.

Data Governance Council
The Data Governance Council consists of designated officials who have planning, policy-level, and management responsibility for data within their functional areas.

Data Trustees
Data Trustees are the university officials with authority over institutional data or the university’s use thereof.

Data Stewards
Data Stewards are assigned by and accountable to Data Trustees to help define, implement, and enforce data management policies and procedures within their specific domains.