U-M Data Governance Revitalization

In order to take advantage of big data and stay at the pinnacle of data science, U-M must update its data governance and stewardship model, which was created in 1994 and not substantially updated since. To do so, representatives from many university areas are working to identify and, where possible, quickly implement improvements to data governance processes.

This revitalization effort is jointly sponsored by the Provost and the VPIT-CIO.

We are approaching the revitalization effort in multiple stages.

Stage One: Create High-level Recommendations (Complete)

The high-level recommendations were published in 2019. They are:

  • Review and revise SPG 601.12. SPG 601.12 Institutional Data Resource Management Policy
  • Create a Data Governance Oversight Committee (DGOC) Structure
  • Provide dedicated resource support
  • Create mechanisms to provide systematic logging of all requests for access to data
  • Define and provide central services that can support and guide any data request
  • Reduce the number of, and better define the roles within, the data governance framework

Details for Stage One

Stage Two: Recommend Actionable Improvements (Complete)

A Data Governance Council was established in April 2020 to work on Stage Two of data governance revitalization. The council has identified the following areas of focus for their work in 2020:

  • Data Availability and Sharing
    Document existing and desired processes. Establish common guidelines for obtaining access to data. Wherever possible, automate data request processing.
  • Data Quality
    Identify opportunities for improvement in how data quality issues are addressed. Work to improve consistency of data definitions. Publish data quality metrics.
  • Roles, Responsibilities, and Appointments
    Simplify data stewardship structure. Create consistency in roles and alignment on responsibilities. Improve maintenance of Data Governance structure.

Details for Stage Two

Data Governance Council Accomplishments (Spring 2020-Fall 2021)

  • Created and maintained information about shareable data sets to help requesters find what data sets and data fields are available for request.
  • Provided a ticketing system to manage request submission, processing, approval, and reporting for access to datasets.
  • Developed and documented processes and guidelines for data request submission, processing, approvals, escalations, reviews and audit, in order to maintain quality and consistency.
  • Conducted a review of all roles involved in the data request process and streamlined the role structure.
  • Created a forum for data stewards that will enable data steward education, support common practices, and build relationships around a shared campus data vision.
  • Conducted discovery of current access to data and recorded historical information to enable audits of data sets that are currently being shared.
  • Recommended that the Council disband and create a permanent Data Governance Advisory Committee to begin meeting in 2022.

Stage Three: Implement Sustainable Processes and Plans (In Progress)

The Data Governance Advisory Committee, which began meeting in April 2022, will recommend business practices for data governance that span data steward areas and ensure these align with university strategic objectives.


Please email any U-M Data Governance questions to Data-Gov-Support-Team@umich.edu.