Appropriate Use of Data 

Number:

3.20 

Policy/Operational Procedure Name:

Appropriate Use of Data

Sponsor:

Tina Ruff
Chief of Staff

Custodian:

Research, Evaluation, Assessment, and Planning (REAP)

Effective Date(s):

December 13, 2011

Next Review Date:

Summer 2017

Location:

durhamtech.edu/policies-and-procedures/appropriate-use-of-data

Citation:

N/A

 

Policy Statement

College employees are expected to access and disseminate data with a focus on providing accurate and timely information that is consistent with relevant state and federal laws. Employees are expected to access, use, and release data in an intentional and controlled manner that permits an appropriate level of disclosure, ensures the timely receipt of accurate data by interested parties, enables accurate and meaningful interpretation and use of the data, and protects the confidentiality of students and individual faculty and staff members. Employees are responsible for using data and information appropriately and for seeking to obtain and use the most accurate and current data/information available.

Procedure

Data and information are used by employees of Durham Technical Community College to inform and direct policies and needs, measure outcomes and performance, and communicate information about the college internally and externally. Access to and dissemination of data focuses on the need to provide consistent, accurate, and timely information which is consistent with relevant state and federal laws such as FERPA and HIPAA. Durham Technical Community College employees are expected to access, use, and release data in an intentional and controlled manner that:

  1. Permits an appropriate level of disclosure;

  2. Ensures the timely receipt of accurate data by interested parties;

  3. Enables accurate and meaningful interpretation and use of the data; and

  4. Protects the confidentiality of students and individual faculty and staff members.

Research, Evaluation, Assessment and Planning (REAP) staff and Information Technology Services (ITS) staff collaborate to compile, analyze, and report college data. Employees may use available data or request additional data as noted in these procedures. Employees are responsible for seeking to obtain and use the most accurate and current data/information available.

Access to Data

  • Internal Access: ITS staff review and approve requests for use of software, including Entrinsik Informer, which permits direct query access to institutional data to determine the appropriate level of access to be granted to the requestor. In lieu of direct access to the data, faculty and staff may request that REAP staff compile and supply the data.

  • External Access: Except in the case of a legal mandate or other emergency situation, direct access to institutional data from an external entity is prohibited. Responses to requests for institutional data from non-media external sources will be evaluated on an individual request basis. Data will be provided in response to those requests that support efforts to provide significant direct benefit to students, faculty, staff, and/or the college as a whole.

  • Internal Access: Staff and faculty who wish to have direct access to institutional data should complete the ITS “Request for Informer Access” form (available on the college’s “forms” website) and forward it to the Executive Director of ITS. ITS staff will determine the appropriate level of access, if any, and make arrangements to provide that access. Training in Informer will also be provided by ITS staff as needed.

Access to Informer can be for one of two user types, specifically as a power user (report creator) or report viewer. Those seeking to perform their own queries should apply for power user status, while those who want to access and run queries developed by others should apply for report viewer status. ITS staff will determine if any limitations on access are appropriate upon receiving the requestor’s user application.

In lieu of direct access to data, any employee may request that REAP staff compile data in response to a specific request. The form to make requests for assistance in access and compilation of data is available from the REAP area of the college's website. Once completed, the form should be mailed as an email attachment to the Director of Research, Evaluation, Assessment, and Planning.

  • External Access: External requestors of college data should first be directed to the publicly available data presented on the REAP area of the college’s website. If requestors cannot find the data they seek, they may make a request for it. All requests for data from sources external to the college, excluding those with an affiliation with the college, such as advisory committee members, Board members, or data reported as part of the Annual Reporting Plan (see below) should be referred to REAP staff for consideration and response.

If there is insufficient time to refer the request to REAP, REAP staff should review and approve all proposed responses to data-based inquiries from sources external to the college prior to the information being distributed or communicated to the external source. This may be accomplished via telephone, email, or other form of communication with REAP staff. Even if the data to be communicated have been generated by REAP staff and are available on the website, REAP staff should be consulted about the context within which the data are to be disseminated if a specific inquiry is made from an external source.

Data Use and Dissemination

  • Internal Use: All college faculty and staff are encouraged to utilize institutional data to inform their decision-making and performance assessment. All faculty and staff have access to a variety of data generated by REAP, for example, the Fact Book and College Profile publications, via the college’s website. These data have been verified and are available for use in planning, evaluating programs, and making other policy decisions for the college. Questions about appropriate use and interpretation of data should be directed to REAP staff.

Faculty and staff who generate their own data should be trained in the software used for extraction as well as knowledgeable about the data source(s) and data definitions. Questions about appropriate use and interpretation of data should be directed to REAP staff and/or ITS staff.

Annual State and Federal Data Reporting

  • REAP staff oversee state and federal data reporting to assure timely submission of the reports. At least one college employee is identified in the Annual Reporting Plan as being responsible for the submission of each report. The responsible person should become familiar with the process and procedures for submitting the required data. Once the staff member is familiar with the reporting process and requirements, the report(s) should be submitted directly to the agency requesting the information. REAP staff monitor that the college complies with all reporting due dates.

Purpose/Definitions

Durham Technical Community College makes it a priority to use data and information to inform and direct policies and address needs, measure outcomes and performance, and communicate information about the college internally and externally. Research, Evaluation, Assessment, and Planning staff and Information Technology Services staff collaborate to compile, analyze, and report college data. College employees may use available data and request additional data based on the Appropriate Use of Data Policy and following established procedures.