Definitions, Common Metrics, Business Rules, Standards

The Data Dictionary has been created by Office of Institutional Effectiveness as part of the Executive Decision Data Warehouse project in order to establish information context by documenting approved institutional definitions and metrics. This tool provides:

  • Enterprisewide standardization and maintenance of the organization’s business definitions and business rules for data.
  • Dynamic information dictionary, a common definition of data structures, and the data content represented by component data elements
  • Enterprisewide decision support; provides the necessary data integration for effective cross-business unit analysis.

All departments should adhere to the agreed upon institutional definition and metrics for institutional reporting to meet the administration’s demand for consistency and accuracy in reporting.

The Office of Institutional Effectiveness manages the annual review of this document to verify that the definitions and metrics are still accurate. Departmental data managers are asked to review and recommend revisions during the summer prior to the next reporting year.

Dictionary use: Finding a term or definition

This document was created in Excel to provide a search capability. Using the “Data --> Sort” function in Excel, users can highlight the entire worksheet and then search for the term by sorting on either Term or Dimension.

Worksheet design

The Meta Data Dictionary has been created so users may search for definitions and metrics by various column headings:

Column headings

  • A. Senior Leadership Team Metric
    • Identifies definitions and/or metrics deemed important to reporting for Senior Leadership Team with several definitions having been approved by the administration. Changes to these terms will not be made without OIEF approval.
  • B. Term
    • The common word or phrase.
  • C. Externally Defined
    • Some definitions are created by external sources and if this is the case, the source is listed here. If this field is blank, then SPU created the definition for the term for internal reporting purposes. There may be more than one definition for a term, so users of the Meta Data Dictionary need to understand which definition to use.
  • D. Dimension
    • Common business dimensions. Dimensions currently used in this document are Admissions, Curriculum, Degree, Employee, Faculty, Finance, Financial Aid, Formula, Housing, Reporting, Student, and Time.
  • E. Definition
    • Explains the term or the metric.
  • F. Source of Definition
    • Provides the source used to create the definition.
  • G. Link(s)
    • Link or links to websites with more information on complex terms.
  • H. Office Responsible for Annual Review
    • The department or office responsible for annually reviewing the term and providing any updates mandated by government agencies, external surveys, or University administration.
  • I. Last Revised
    • Month-date-year of the last change.


Can’t find what you’re looking for? Let us know. (For computer-related questions, contact Computer and Information Systems).

To request a new, or to modify an existing, term in Data Dictionary, click button below. Choose “DataDictionary” under Categories. OIEF will work with all related parties and finalize any decision within one month.