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The Data Governance Committee establishes and maintains oversight of Project Working Groups (PWGs), which will be designated to address specific issues or tasks of central importance to data governance. In establishing a PWG, the DGC will present it with a clear charge, a timeline, and expected outcomes. The DGC will appoint members (with advice and consent of supervisors and faculty appointment process), ensuring that they have the expertise, training, and resources needed to complete their tasks. It is expected that the PWGs will make recommendations to the DGC for changes to systems, coordination of data, subsequent projects, etc., that may result in changes to policies, practices, and priorities. While there may be multiple PWGs established at the same time, the DGC will prioritize and balance projects through the development and maintenance of an overall plan and will coordinate appointments with sensitivity to the impact on individual faculty and staff.


The Directory PWG will review and improve our current internal and external online directories, while continuing to respect the privacy and preferences of our user community to select certain personal display options.  The Directory PWG will both improve data-processing workflows and create central sources of data-authority with the goal of populating the directory information automatically from data in our systems of record (as opposed to self-reported data).  This project will intersect with data and systems reflecting names, titles, temporary assignments, room and building information, and web-based information sources, among others.  The Directory PWG will also create and document procedures for our community members to easily request changes to directory information. Contact:  Rhoni Ryan.

A Project Working Group focused on the handling of Parent Information was initiated in 2022-23. The group’s task is to identify methods for improving workflow and communication between offices that need access to accurate and consistent parent information. Contact: Liz Derickson


The committee has completed a multi-stage review of the College’s 2009 “Data Use Guidelines.”  The guidelines help to ensure the responsible and appropriate use of College data, balancing the need for information for evaluation research, the privacy of individuals or departments reflected in the data, and the risk of potential accidental or intentional misuse.  Through the efforts of several Project Working Groups (PWGs) in consultation with appropriate stakeholders, the guidelines were reviewed and its principles were affirmed.  Importantly, this review included the development of data risk classifications.  A flowchart representing our approach to ensuring appropriate use was developed to help guide access decisions, and a request form that steps through the key questions and concerns regarding data acess is in progress.

A working group developed and recommended procedures for Office/Department name changes (or adding new departments), which was approved by President’s Staff in October 2022. This process has now been expanded to include department removals, as well as changes to budget codes.  Contact the Budget Office for more information.

The Student Success/Advising PWG looked at our workflows for supporting advising and student success, including our data infrastructure, in order to identify improvements.  This work may eventually involve consolidating or replacing various systems currently in use, in order to better facilitate data management and improve student support.  A coordinated workflow of faculty and staff that balances access, support, and privacy will foster more effective advising.   A first step project of this group is the implementation of software to support degree audit and educational planning.   Contacts: Kristen Smith.

A sub-PWG of the Directory PWG is focused on Pronoun and Gender Identity Data, and introduced to students, faculty, and staff  the option to report gender identification through mySwarthmore,  describing the storage and use of this information. 

The Data Governance Website PWG completed its work in early spring 2020 by designing and publishing a website to communicate information about Data Governance at the College, including links to related materials, and form to submit suggestions and ideas (which will go live at a later date).  They also provided advice and guidance to the DGC regarding communications with the community.

The Policies and Practices PWG completed its work in fall 2019, building on work begun by the 2018-19 Data Governance Working Group to identify College policies and practices related to Data Governance.  They identified the most current versions of policies, which were then shared with the Data Governance Website PWG for inclusion on the website.  The PWG also shared suggestions for reviewing, updating, organizing, and communicating policies generally with the Data Governance Committee, and other relevant stakeholders on campus.

The Protocol for Processing Requests PWG developed a procedure in spring 2020 to guide the DGC in receiving, responding to, handling, and managing comments, suggestions, and requests that may be submitted via the web form (not yet live) or other avenues.  Part of this work involved establishing strategies for prioritization and expanding our principles for handling College data in a way that will be clear and helpful to the College community.  The process is currently in pilot stage.

The Privacy/Security Practices for Internal Communications PWG reviewed best practices for internal communications and recommend a policy that provides a standard approach, balancing the privacy requirements for communicated information and the need for efficient interactions among employees of the College.  The DGC approved the recommendations in  spring 2021, and the guideline is now on the DGC website.