Survey Glossary

You can view definitions by hovering over underlined key terms within the online survey, or you can view all terms at once in list below.

  • Academic department

    Beyond the traditional notion of an academic department as a distinct disciplinary academic entity, the term as used in the CDS is intended to include a fuller scope of academic units, from schools and colleges on one end to research groups at the other. The distinguishing attribute is that the entity includes teaching and research faculty, associated staff, and academic administrators (for example, deans).

  • Academic early alert system

    System to identify students at academic risk within a course based on defined risk factors. May also involve communication of risk status to students and other appropriate parties and intervention tracking and management.

  • Access Control List (ACL)

    An internal computerized table of access rules regarding the levels of computer access permitted to logon IDs and computer terminals (from

  • Administrative and business service category

    Enterprise and local services that support the administrative and business functions of an institution; includes analytics, business intelligence, reporting, finance, human resources, student information systems, advancement, research administration, and conference and event management.

  • Administrative office

    Units in the central administration of a college or university, such as the offices of the president, vice presidents, provost, vice provosts, and general counsel. Does not include academic units, such as offices of the deans in universities with multiple colleges or schools, or offices of academic departments or research groups.

  • Administrative/enterprise information systems

    Administrative systems or enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems such as student administration (admissions, financial aid, registration, etc.), financial information systems, procurement systems, human resource systems, payroll, research administration (grants and contracts), and library systems (if supported by the IT organization).

  • Advanced applications service

    Services for applications that could include plotting, scientific visualization, modeling, rendering, animation, graphics programming, and image manipulation.

  • Advancement/fundraising system

    An information system used to target, analyze, record, and report on the status of institutional fundraising from such sources as alumni, parents, friends, foundations, and corporations.

  • Advising case management system for student interaction tracking

    System for capturing advising information and advice received by a student over time and across different interactions and advising sources, such as course recommendations or comments/notes.

  • Advising center management

    Provides appointment scheduling, check in/out, advisor workload reporting, and other administrative functions to support advising center.

  • Alumni and advancement service

    Alumni portals and services that support university advancement and development.

  • Application development service

    Tools, services, and products that support the ERP, the mainframe, mobile application development, and custom application development, including tools built into ERP and mainframe systems, as well as integration with third-party systems.

  • Application virtualization

    Software technology that encapsulates application software from the underlying operating system on which it is executed. A fully virtualized application is not installed in the traditional sense, although it is still executed as if it were (from

  • Assessment systems service

    Services in support of assessing learning outcomes.

  • Athletics service

    Athletics administration, recruiting, procurement, and ticketing systems.

  • Automated lecture capture

    Systems that automate the end-to-end process of capturing, broadcasting, viewing, archiving, and searching presentations, etc. (e.g., Panopto, Sonic Foundry, Echo360).

  • Auxiliary systems service

    Services outside the core administrative systems that support auxiliary or ancillary campus systems, activities, and operations.

  • Business continuity and disaster recovery service

    Business continuity consulting and planning and disaster recovery planning, including disaster recovery exercises.

  • Business intelligence reporting system

    A set of administrative functions and associated software systems that support planning and decision making by categorizing, aggregating, analyzing, and reporting on data resulting from transaction-processing systems.

  • Campus-generated power

    Provision of electrical power across an entire campus or large parts thereof that is generated by and for the institution, as distinct from a dedicated onsite generator for a specific facility, such as a data center.

  • Carnegie classifications (Year 2010 version)

    A framework for recognizing and describing institutional diversity in U.S. higher education derived from empirical data on colleges and universities. Originally published in 1973, the framework has been updated in 1976, 1987, 1994, 2000, 2005, and 2010. The CDS uses the 2010 version. To facilitate international benchmarking, CDS participants outside the U.S. are invited to self-select into one of the classifications (described fully at

  • Carryover funds

    Remaining funds available from one budget year that is transferred to the following budget year.

  • Central IT

    The centralized IT services and support organization reporting to the highest-ranking IT administrator/officer in the institution.

  • Central office

    In multicampus university or college systems or community college districts, the central office is a central administrative unit headed by the chief executive officers of the system or district. Most central offices include a central IT organization, some of which provide a wide range of services to individual campuses and some of which focus on coordinating the activities of IT organizations on the campuses.

  • Chancellor

    In some multicampus systems and community college districts in the United States, chancellor is the title of the chief executive officer of the system or district, in which case the campus CEOs carry the title of president. In other cases, the president is the system CEO, with the campus CEOs designated as chancellors.

  • Chief information officer (CIO)

    A common designation for the highest-ranking information technology officer/administrator in an institution, and sometimes an official title. Given the wide range of actual titles, the CDS sometimes uses "CIO"s to refer to all highest-ranking IT officers and administrators, regardless of their official titles. 

  • Chief technology officer (CTO)

    One of several official titles for the highest-ranking information technology officer/administrator in colleges and universities. In some cases, CTO is the title assigned to a deputy to the highest-ranking technology officer/administrator.

  • Classroom technology and support service

    Services to ensure classrooms are suitably equipped and functional to meet the needs of the education experience. For the purposes of reporting staff and student FTE, please include the following in this area if applicable:

    • Services that support the use of technology in traditional classrooms
    • Services that provide technology for traditional classroom use
    • Staff, hardware, software, etc., used to provide or support technology for traditional classrooms.
  • Cloud computing

    A computing model in which technology resources are delivered over the Internet (consult What Campus Leaders Need to Know About Cloud Computing).

  • Collaboration service

    Technology-enhanced communication, coordination, and collaboration services that facilitate the creation, sharing, and exchange of information and ideas within communities of interest; includes social media.

  • Collaboration tools for learning

    Institutional online tools that foster collaboration among students and/or instructors for assigned course projects or spontaneous study groups, typically including shared documents, online text and video chat, shared whiteboard, etc. May be embedded in an online learning delivery system/LMS or provided as a separate system (e.g., Google Docs, wikis, social networks, etc.).

  • Collaborative spaces

    A learning environment that supports student-centered, collaborative knowledge discovery and creation through the use of technology. A collaborative space generally includes group-friendly seating, whiteboards, and projection displays (consult 7 Things You Should Know About Collaborative Learning Spaces).

  • Commodity Internet

    A general term referring to the general public network known as the Internet, as distinct from special-purpose and restricted-access research and education (R&E) networks. Many universities and colleges have connections to both the commodity Internet and one or more R&E networks.

  • Commodity peering

    An approach to provisioning commodity Internet service using excess capacity available on research and education (R&E) networks that connect at major interconnect (peering) points on the commodity Internet. The goals of commodity peering are to improve network performance and reduce costs.

  • Communication and collaboration service category

    IT services that facilitate institutional communication and collaboration needs. Includes e-mail, calendaring, telephony/VoIP, video/web conferencing, unified communications, web content management system, web application development and hosting, and media development.

  • Compliance

    The effort to ensure that laws, regulations, and even an institution’s own policies are complied with and that efforts are coordinated institution-wide (see also IT compliance and consult IT Governance, Risk, and Compliance in Higher Education).

  • Component campus

    Designation for institutions that are included in multicampus systems and community college districts.

  • Computer lab or cluster

    One or more computers provided by the institution for shared student use. Most labs or clusters provide seating and are intended for extended use. Compare to Kiosks.

  • Conferencing service

    Online conferencing services other than teleconferencing.

  • Consultants

    See Professional services.

  • Consulting and advising service

    Guidance services on how to leverage technologies and select technology solutions, including those in the cloud.

  • Course/program recommendation system

    System for estimating a student's chances of success in a course or program, and making recommendations on that basis, using student characteristics and statistical patterns of success.

  • Credit transfer/articulation system

    Provides information about the transferability of a student's earned or potential course credits from one institution to other institutions.

  • Customer relationship management system

    Strategy, business processes, and software for managing and enhancing an institution's interactions with customers, such as students, prospective students, and alumni; faculty and staff; and current and prospective donors.

  • Customization

    Changes that are made to a college or university's specific instance of an administrative system application, usually to make the system meet an institutional need or fit an institution's established processes.

  • Cyberinfrastructure (CI)

    The distributed computer, information, and communication technologies combined with the personnel and integrating components that provide a long-term platform to empower the modern scientific research endeavor. Components of CI include high-performance computing, storage resources, visualization facilities, sensors and other data collection apparatus, and advanced networks. In some countries, CI is referred to as e-xcience (from

  • Data center service

    Maintenance of physical data centers, including co-location services, planning, and strategy for data center management.

  • Data loss prevention

    Tools that actively prevent data loss by monitoring and preventing improper use of sensitive data in transit (network), at rest (storage), and while at use (endpoint).

  • Data warehouse

    A central repository of data often created by integrating other data sources and used for reporting and analysis.

  • Database service

    Includes hosting and administration of databases.

  • Decentralized IT

    Departments or units of the institution that provide all or nearly all of their own IT services, without reporting directly or indirectly to the CIO or equivalent office.

  • Dedicated on-site generator

    A source of electrical power for a data center or other facility, separate from the campus or public electrical grid. Dedicated generators are often used to back up other sources of electrical power; some are permanently installed, and others are mobile.

  • Degree audit

    Checks student's transcript against degree requirements and identifies unmet needs for degree completion.

  • Digital asset management system for learning

    Institutional system or contracted service which allows management of multimedia assets including video, including repository, search, edit and publish features (e.g., Kaltura, YouTube, Flickr, iTunesU, etc.).

  • Disaster recovery data center

    A data center with the necessary storage, compute, and communications capacity to resume operations of mission-critical systems in the event the primary data center(s) are unavailable.

  • Distance education

    Teaching methods and associated technology that enable students to access instruction and instructional resources without being in the same educational setting as the instructor. Models for distance education include distributed students with real-time or asynchronous access to an instructor, other students, or online materials; students assembled in a classroom with a remote instructor; students and instructor(s) in multiple classrooms connected simultaneously; and other variations.

  • Distributed antenna system (DAS)

    A network of spatially separated antenna nodes that provides wireless services within a campus, building, or other area. One application of a DAS is to enhance cellular telephony service in an institution while maintaining institutional control of the antenna infrastructure.

  • Distributed IT

    All staff with IT responsibilities who do not report to the CIO and all resources that are not within the CIO’s purview (including decentralized IT). The CIO often has some level of authority and/or responsibility over the distributed IT services (see also Decentralized IT).

  • Distributed IT staff

    Staff who do not report to central IT but who work 50% or more on IT activities and who have IT staff job titles (e.g., programmers, DBAs, etc.) consistent with the CDS IT Domain definitions.

  • District

    A group of community colleges with a common governing board; analogous to a multicampus system.

  • Document imaging and management service

    Electronic document-management services.

  • E-learning

    Learning that involves a web-based component, enabling collaboration and access to content that extends beyond the classroom.

  • E-learning course analytics for instructors

    Institutional system that provides instructors advanced online course analytics including, for example, student progress through materials, success on assessments, and course-level statistics on what materials the class as a whole has reviewed. May be part of a full function LMS or a separate system.

  • E-mail and calendaring service

    Services associated with e-mail, calendaring, contacts, broadcast mail, enterprise-wide mailing list management, and messaging.

  • E-portfolio sites service

    Services for e-portfolios, which provide a way for students and faculty to showcase their work and academic accomplishments.

  • E-publishing platform for learning

    Institutional platform that provides electronic distribution of text, enabling students to access e-books/e-texts on mobile devices and offering additional features such as annotation, search across texts, and note sharing. Basic systems deliver existing packaged e-content; advanced systems enable collection, copyright clearance, and bundling of content similar to e-texts and e-coursepacks.

  • E-science

    See Cyberinfrastructure (CI).

  • Early-alert systems

    See Academic early alert system.

  • Education plan creation/tracking system

    System for creating and monitoring a student's detailed, long-term educational plan, typically leading to degree or credential completion.

  • Educational technology consulting and training service

    Services to ensure that faculty and other course creators have the knowledge and assistance they need to optimize their effectiveness in using teaching and learning technologies.

  • Electronic student portfolios

    An online, digital system for students to collect, reflect on, and share their work over a course or program of study.

  • Emergency notification service

    Services in support of campus alert systems.

  • Endpoint computing service category

    Services that enable community members to do their day-to-day work, including providing access to enterprise services. Includes network access, user file storage, endpoint computing backup solutions, desktop virtualization, computer labs, and printing.

  • Endpoint configuration management

    A system to manage operating system and application patch levels and more, typically allowing remote update or emergency push.

  • Endpoint encryption for sensitive data

    Tools that provide endpoint encryption (e.g., to protect sensitive data on a lost or stolen device), with institutional decryption on documented need.

  • Endpoint support service

    Support for all types of endpoint devices and associated operating and application software.

  • Enterprise licensing service

    Negotiation, acquisition, and management of licenses for technology broadly used throughout the institution.

  • Enterprise resource planning (ERP)

    Refers to an integrated suite of administrative information systems designed to support and automate business processes through a centralized database system. In higher education, these systems usually include student systems, financial systems, and human resources (payroll/personnel) systems, as well as data warehouse and planning tools.

  • Exchange rate

    Because all financial data in CDS survey modules are in U.S. dollars, participants outside the United States are asked to provide the conversion rates from local currency to U.S. dollars.

  • External providers expenditures

    Ongoing and one-time expenditures for services for which central IT is responsible, but provided by entities outside the institution. Including, but not limited to, the following: externally provided help desk or data center; services provided by multicampus system or district offices; professional services arrangements for projects or ongoing work, for security audits, for network architecture planning, etc.; network connectivity; shared service arrangements for multiple institutions for data center capacity, backup services, shared ERP implementations, etc.; cloud service providers (SaaS, IaaS, etc.) for services such as e-mail and calendaring, LMS, payroll, etc.; consultants not paid from your university’s payroll (e.g., specialists, engineers, head hunters); etc.

  • Facilities management

    A system for all facility management activities including preventative maintenance, inventory, work orders, facilities scheduling and rental, equipment tracking, and vendor tracking.

  • Faculty information systems service

    Services that support faculty administration, review, promotion, and tenure.

  • Federation

    A federation is an association of organizations that come together to exchange information, as appropriate, about their users and resources in order to enable collaborations and transactions.

  • Fee-based/cost-recovery funds

    Funds received in direct exchange for services provided by central IT (e.g., network services, computer repairs, printing, contributed funding for HPC; monthly charges for telephone lines/sets, server hosting in the data center, dedicated desktop support services, software license fees charged to users).

  • Finance, human resources, and procurement systems service

    Administration and maintenance of enterprise systems (integrated or stand-alone) that support financial management, human capital management, and procurement.

  • Firewall

    Set of related programs and policies that protects the resources of a private network from users on other networks. A firewall can also control what outside resources users of the private network can access.

  • Fixed-term labor

    Nonpermanent staff employees working for the institution for a specified purpose and for a specified period of time (e.g., limited positions, temporary employees, one-time funding positions, labor for specific one-time projects, one-time staff supplementation, etc.).

  • Fringe benefits

    Nonsalary benefits such as medical and dental insurance, pension plan contributions, life insurance, subsidies for meals, vehicles or housing, etc.

  • Full-function online learning delivery system

    Institutional system that enables instructors to provide students electronic access to materials, assignments, engagement activities, and quizzes and provides an overall capability for students and instructors to complete a course fully online. May be a specialized e-learning system or an LMS with these e-learning capabilities.

  • Full-time equivalent (FTE)

    A combination of full- and part-time personnel (or enrolled students) into a single measure as determined by formula. For nonstudent personnel counts in the CDS, please calculate FTE based on a 40-hour work week over the course of the full FY (or approximately 2,000 hours per year). For student employees, the following methods may be used to calculate this number: (1) If you know the total number of student worker hours allocated to central IT during the fiscal year, divide that number by 2,000 (number of hours/year based on a 40 hour work week) OR (2) If you know the total number of dollars used for student workers, divide that number by the average hourly wage and then divide the result by 2,000.

  • Full-time student

    • Undergraduate: A student enrolled for 12 or more semester credits, or 12 or more quarter credits, or 24 or more contact hours a week each term.
    • Graduate: A student enrolled for 9 or more semester credits, or 9 or more quarter credits, or a student involved in thesis or dissertation preparation that is considered full time by the institution. Doctor's degree — Professional practice — as defined by the institution (from
  • Governance

    The way in which a higher education institution is organized for the purposes of decision making and resource allocation and how the varying parts are managed in a way that promotes the mission of the institution (see also IT governance and consult IT Governance, Risk, and Compliance in Higher Education).

  • Grants management system: post award

    Software to support administration of research projects from notice of award through final billing.

  • Grants management system: pre award

    Software to support development and submission of grant proposals to external funding agencies.

  • HDI Customer Satisfaction Index

    Web-based customer satisfaction surveying service; see

  • Help desk

    For the purposes of reporting staff and student FTE, please include the following in this area if applicable:

    • Walk-in support for students, faculty, and staff
    • Call-in support for students, faculty, and staff
    • Call centers
    • Support for knowledge bases, self-help tools
    • Specialized support centers
    • Help desk staff
  • High-performance computing (HPC)

    Configurations of parallel processors, storage, and specialized networking designed to address large jobs with more or less tightly coupled subprocesses.

  • High-throughput computing (HTC)

    Systems that are designed to provide large amounts of computing power over long periods of time, e.g., weeks or months.

  • Host

    Any end device connecting to a data network, via wire or wireless, not including the equipment necessary to make the network function (such as routers, switches, modems, wireless access points, etc.). Examples of hosts include desktop computer, laptop, tablet, smart phone, VoIP phone, server, printer, thermostat, web cam, security camera.

  • Host-based intrusion detection system

    File and system software monitoring tools to detect any unauthorized activity or changes, e.g., Tripwire.

  • Host-based intrusion prevention system

    File and system software monitoring tools to detect and prevent any unauthorized activity or changes.

  • Human resources (HR) information system

    Software to support human resources management, including recruiting, training, payroll, benefits administration, etc.

  • Hybrid/blended course

    Courses where web-based, online learning replaces a percentage of traditional face-to-face instruction (also known as hybrid or mixed-mode courses; consult The Blended Learning Toolkit: Improving Student Performance and Retention).

  • Identity and access management service

    Services relating to authentication, access, role-based provisioning, etc.

  • Identity provider

    Source for validating a user identity in a federated identity system.

  • In-house infrastructure and services expenditures

    Ongoing and one-time expenditures for “in-house” infrastructure and services provided by and run by the institution. Including, but not limited to the following: equipment purchases (hardware, software, specialized devices or appliances, etc.); maintenance contracts for hardware and software run in-house; software licensing fees (for software running on university-owned or leased computers); network cabling; fiber-optics; electronics; environmental systems such as cooling and dehumidification; fire suppression; power management and redundancy (UPS, generator, etc.); data center equipment (racks, etc.); etc.

  • InCommon

    A formal federation of organizations focused on creating a common framework for collaborative trust in support of research and education. InCommon eliminates the need for researchers, students, and educators to maintain multiple, password-protected accounts. Instead the federation supports user access to protected resources by enabling organizations to make access decisions to resources based on a user's status and privileges as presented by the user's home organization (from

  • Information technology infrastructure library (ITIL)

    A set of practices for IT service management (ITSM) that focuses on aligning IT services with the needs of business (from

  • Infrastructure as a service (IaaS)

    A provision model in which an organization outsources the equipment used to support operations, including storage, hardware, servers and networking components. The service provider owns the equipment and is responsible for housing, running and maintaining it (from; also consult Spotlight on Cloud Computing: Infrastructure as a Service).

  • Infrastructure service category

    Enterprise-level hardware, software, systems, and network infrastructure that provide underlying support for institutional activities. Includes data centers, network backbone, wireless, central storage and system backup solutions, server virtualization, and systems management and operations.

  • Innovation

    The act or process of building on existing research, knowledge, and practice through the introduction or application of new ideas, devices, or methods to solve problems or create opportunities where none existed before.

  • Institution

    For CDS participants from central offices of multicampus systems and community college districts, institution refers to the central office only, not the entire multicampus entity. For all other participants, Institution refers to the individual college or university (which the legacy CDS survey referred to as a campus). See Multicampus system.

  • Institutional research (IR)

    The function in college and university administration to inform planning and decision making by collecting, analyzing, reporting, and warehousing a wide range of data about students, faculty, staff, finances, etc. While such functions may be carried out by many individuals, most institutions have a central Office of Institutional Research, or the equivalent, responsible for the institution's primary IR activities, including reporting of institutional information to accrediting agencies, government offices, and other external entities.

  • Interactive learning

    Learning environments that involve interaction between the student and faculty, other students, or resources. Interactive learning can involve simulations, games, role playing, experimentation, etc.


    The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data Systems (IPEDS) is a single, comprehensive, data collection program designed to capture data for the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) for all U.S. institutions and educational organizations whose primary purpose is to provide postsecondary education. IPEDS collects institution-level data in such areas as enrollments, program completions, faculty staff, and finances. IPEDS data reporting requires the extensive effort of a variety of offices on any campus, and this is the "official" information the college or university stands behind, used by the federal government. EDUCAUSE collects a subset of IPEDS data from CDS participants from outside the U.S. in order to facilitate international benchmarking.

  • IPv6

    An Internet Protocol standard developed by the Internet Engineering Task Force that is designed to succeed Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) in order to address the increasing number of users and devices accessing the Internet.

  • IT compliance

    Programs or processes that ensure the institution’s IT resources and systems are operated in ways that meet the laws and regulations impacting those systems and comply with institutional policy (see also Compliance and consult IT Governance, Risk, and Compliance in Higher Education).

  • IT governance

    Programs or processes that ensure that the campus IT strategy is aligned with the institution’s strategic plan. IT thus becomes a strategic partner in the institutional mission (see also Governance and consult IT Governance, Risk, and Compliance in Higher Education).

  • IT professional services service category

    Services that are consultative in nature, in contrast to the other categories, which tend to be technology based; these may be a combination of customer-facing and non-customer-facing services. Includes IT training, consulting/advisory services, business continuity/disaster recovery, enterprise architecture, portfolio/project management, and ITSM.

  • IT risk management

    Programs or processes that help an institution identify the risks that it faces with regard to its present or planned IT resources and systems and affirmatively address those risks in a way that satisfies its overall goals (see also Risk management and consult IT Governance, Risk, and Compliance in Higher Education).

  • IT service management service

    People, processes, and tools that enable service management. This is a supporting service.

  • Kiosk

    A general-purpose or specialized computer or terminal installed in a public area to enable students, other community members, or the general public to access information, transact business, or perform other functions. A kiosk is intended for comparatively short sessions and is often designed for standing access, as compared to the computer workstations found in a typical computer lab, which provide for extended use.

  • Knowledge management system

    A system of used to identify, create, store and disseminate information.

  • Lab-management systems service

    Services to record and track lab experiments, equipment, and specimens.

  • Learning management system (LMS)

    Software that provides an integrated suite of online resources and communications capabilities in support of traditional courses and can also serve as a platform for fully online courses. A typical LMS provides a range of activity modules, such as forums, databases, and wikis; facilitates student assignments and quizzes; and enables monitoring of student engagement and reporting of grades. Many LMS implementations are integrated with student information systems.

  • Learning management systems service

    LMS services in support of managing and sharing course materials (e.g., videos, documents, spreadsheets, etc.) and facilitating learning through collaboration.

  • Lecture capture

    Institutional system for audio/video capture of instructor lectures or other venue- or studio-based activities for later distribution via the Internet (see also Automated lecture capture.).

  • Lecture capture service

    Services for recording, storing, editing, and publishing course lectures.

  • Level of service

    Technical support subdivisions, tiers, or levels, used to better serve a business or customer base (from

  • Library systems service

    Services for library systems that provide access to local and remote information in support of teaching, learning, and research; includes acquisitions, catalog, circulation, serials, a public user interface, interlibrary loan, discovery tools, etc.

  • Library/IT Staff

    If your central IT organization has merged with the library, please divide the library FTE into two categories when answering Module 1, Question 28:

    • Those performing IT-related functions should be included in items 1 through 10 as appropriate.
    • Those performing "traditional library functions" should be included in item 11 - Other, and describe them as library staff.
    If your IT organization has not merged with the library but you have staff supporting library systems, please include these staff in the appropriate FTE categories.
  • Log management

    A system that collects and normalizes log event data from multiple sources for central storage, review, and alerting.

  • Mainframe

    A computer typically optimized for high reliability and security, high-volume and concurrent input/output processing, and substantial storage. Examples include IBM Z-Series, Unisys ClearPath, and Fujitsu BS2000.

  • Malware protection

    Tools that protect endpoints and systems from harmful or intrusive software, such as viruses, trojan horses, spyware, etc.

  • Medical and health systems service

    Services that support clinical processes, including health-record management, pharmaceutical data, medical appointment scheduling, residency placements, and more.

  • Middleware service

    Services in support of the layer between the operating system and the end-user application. This may also include the layer that connects applications.

  • Monitoring service

    Monitoring services for IT services and underpinning technology.

  • Multicampus system

    A group of two or more colleges or universities—each with substantial autonomy and headed by a chief executive or operating officer—that fall under a single governing board served by a system chief executive officer who is not also the chief executive officer of any of the individual institutions. Such a system is to be distinguished from a “flagship” campus with branch campuses and also from a group of campuses or systems, each with its own governing board, that is coordinated by some state body. Some examples of how IT might interface with campuses in a multicampus system are:

    • The system provides IT services that campuses are required to use but are not charged.
    • The system provides IT services that campuses are required to use, and campuses are charged.
    • The system provides IT services that campuses may opt to use for a fee.
    • The system provides IT services only for system offices.
    • The system provides all IT services system-wide.
  • Multimedia services

    Support for design, production, and deployment of content in audio, still image, animation, video, and interactive formats, often in combination with text.

  • Network access control system

    Tools that scan endpoints upon network attachment, typically to determine update/patch and anti malware status.

  • Network access service

    Provisioning of access to networks, ensuring security and appropriate authentication.

  • Network connectivity

    Ability to connect to networks inside and outside the institution including commodity internet and research networks.

  • Network filtering

    Firewalls, access control lists, etc., to enforce secure network zones.

  • Network intrusion detection system

    Network monitoring tools that identify and log threats.

  • Network intrusion prevention system

    Networking monitoring tools that identify and prevent threats from attempting to penetrate the network or from leaving the network.

  • Network operations center (NOC)

    A facility for monitoring and managing a data, video, or voice network. The facility may also include some of the operating equipment.

  • Network service

    Includes maintenance of infrastructure items required to offer network connectivity; does not include support for end users to access the network.

  • One-time funds

    Non carryover funds available to support work (e.g., project work, grant funds) conducted in a specific year. Funds of this type are not expected to be available every year.

  • Ongoing base funds

    Annual funds allocated by the university to operate the central IT organization.

  • Online learning technology services

    For the purposes of reporting staff and student FTE, please include the following in this area if applicable:

    • Services that support the use of technology for online learning
    • Services that provide technology for online learning
    • Staff, hardware, software, etc., used to provide or support online learning technology
  • Part-time student

    • Undergraduate: A student enrolled for either less than 12 semester or quarter credits, or less than 24 contact hours a week each term.
    • Graduate: A student enrolled for less than 9 semester or quarter credits (from
  • Payment card industry (PCI)

    In general, PCI refers to debit, credit, prepaid, ATM, and other cards and associated businesses. PCI also refers to the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council, which oversees the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard.

  • Peer group

    A group of institutions with similar characteristics (e.g., size, geographic location, mission, consortia affiliation, etc.) used for comparison purposes. The EDUCAUSE Core Data Service provides the capability to combine any group of institutions into a comparison peer group.

  • Penetration testing tools

    Tools used by security staff to "attack" systems and software with the intention of identifying vulnerabilities and evaluating defenses.

  • Plagiarism detection system

    System or tools to identify plagiarism in student assignments (e.g., Turnitin, Ephorus).

  • Platform as a service (PaaS)

    A category of cloud computing services that provides a platform allowing customers to develop, run and manage Web applications without the complexity of building and maintaining the infrastructure typically associated with developing and launching an app (from

  • Portal

    An approach to an institution's website that aims to leverage investments in enterprise information systems, data warehouses, and infrastructure by providing a seamless and easy-to-navigate web interface to an integrated set of information services for various institutional constituents.

  • Portfolio and project management service

    Project portfolio management and project management services. These may be a supporting service.

  • Power over Ethernet (PoE)

    A system that passes electrical power along with data on Ethernet cabling; unlike USB standards, PoE allows long cable lengths.

  • President

    Title for the chief executive officer (CEO) in most U.S. colleges and universities. In some multicampus systems and community college districts in the U.S., president is the title of the chief executive officer of the system or district (in which case the campus CEOs carry the title of chancellor). In other cases, the chancellor is the system CEO, with the campus CEOs designated as presidents.

  • President or chancellor's cabinet

    The administrative leaders who meet regularly as a group with the institution's chief executive officer. The cabinet may be all administrators who report directly to the CEO, or it may be a larger or smaller group.

  • Printing service

    Copy, scan, fax, and printing services, including applications for managing these services, such as print quota systems.

  • Prior fiscal year

    The most recent fiscal year ending before July 1, 2017. In the United States, most higher education fiscal years begin in July, August, or September; accounting practices vary internationally.

  • Professional development expenditures

    Expenditures to support staff development and/or training through either formal coursework, conferences, or informal learning opportunities (including associated travel expenditures).

  • Professional services

    Services provided by an entity outside the institution that central IT does not provide in-house (e.g., data center design, security audits, network architecture planning, etc.).

  • Provost/chief academic officer

    In many institutions in the United States, Australia, and Canada, a provost is the senior academic administrator, responsible for curricular and instructional programs and, in some cases, admissions, libraries, museums, student services, and IT. Deans of the various colleges, faculties, and schools typically report to the provost. This position is designated as pro vice chancellor in some institutions in the United States and Ireland.

  • Rack-mounted server

    A rack-mounted server is one that is specifically designed to be rack mounted. These servers are often thin and long (to fit in a traditional 42U rack).

  • Real-time web- or videoconferencing online learning environment

    Institutional capability to conduct real-time, synchronous teaching and learning across multiple sites. Typical capabilities include web-based or classroom-based audio/video capture with bidirectional transmission and shared board presentation.

  • Remote exam proctoring

    A system or systems to assure student identity or conformance to examination rules for remotely delivered examinations (e.g., ProctorU, Respondus).

  • Reporting and analytics service

    Business intelligence platforms, data warehouse, dashboards, analytic tools, transactional reporting, and operational data stores.

  • Research administration systems service

    Services in support of systems used to secure funding, manage funding, conduct research, and facilitate compliance.

  • Research and Education Networking Information Sharing and Analysis Center (REN-ISAC)

    A membership organization headquartered at Indiana University that provides security information collection, analysis, dissemination, and early warning to support the unique environment and needs of organizations connected to served higher education and research networks (from

  • Research and education networks

    Specialized and restricted-access networks dedicated to support universities, colleges, and other education and research institutions and their affiliates, as distinct from the commodity Internet. R&E networks are operated at the national, regional, and state levels, with numerous interconnections around the world. Institutions served by one or more R&E networks typically have a direct connection to the commodity Internet as well.

  • Research computing service

    Technology resources and services to support research that has specialized or highly intensive computation, storage, bandwidth, or visualization requirements.

  • Research service category

    Services supporting the institution’s research activities, including specialized storage and computation, high-performance computing (HPC), visualization, and lab-management systems.

  • Responsive web design

    A web design approach aimed at crafting sites to provide an optimal viewing experience—easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices, from mobile phones to desktop computer monitors (from wikipedia

  • Risk management

    The way in which an institution determines its appetite for risk, as well as how risk controls and mitigation strategies for any given endeavor are developed and enforced throughout the enterprise (see also IT risk management and consult IT Governance, Risk, and Compliance in Higher Education).

  • Satellite academic campus

    A campus that does not have its own executive officer, as distinct from a component campus of a multicampus system or community college district.

  • Scanning tools for private/protected information

    Tools to scan networked drives, endpoints, servers, and portable media for personally identifiable information and/or protected information such as health records, employment records, student records, SSNs, credit card and other financial account numbers, passports numbers, etc.

  • Secure computing service

    Services that provide a secure computing environment for end users; includes network security, system security, application security, etc.

  • Secure remote access

    Tools providing secure access for remote clients.

  • Secure wireless access

    Secure access across campus wireless networks via standards-based security specifications (e.g., 802.11).

  • Security consulting service

    Consultative services, training, education, and awareness raising.

  • Security incident response and investigation service

    Services that respond to, remediate, and seek to prevent security incidents.

  • Security information and event management

    A system that collects and analyzes log event information from multiple sources, applying techniques such as event aggregation, correlation, etc.

  • Security policy and compliance service

    Services relating to institutional policy or compliance guidelines and requirements; includes support for audit processes.

  • Security service category

    Infrastructure and services that provide security, data integrity, and compliance for institutional activities; includes security services such as virus protection, encryption, privacy impact assessments, information risk management, emergency preparedness, data security, identity management solutions, access controls (i.e., passwords, accounts, and authentication), audit and monitoring systems and services, and data access and stewardship.

  • Server infrastructure service

    Provisioning, hosting, and administration of servers, physical and virtual.

  • Service provider

    Organization or entity that is providing services to members of a federated identity system and relying upon the assurances of an identity provider to control access to those services.

  • Shaping

    Shaping bandwidth utilization refers to adjusting parameters on the institutional Internet connection to limit use through various means, such as type of connection, location of connection, direction of traffic, time of day, or other specific characteristics.

  • Software as a service (SaaS)

    A software licensing and delivery model in which software is licensed on a subscription basis and is centrally hosted (from

  • Software distribution service

    Distribution of software and licenses via media, online methods, and license servers.

  • Staff

    Refers to all staff employed by the central IT organization, including clerical, technical, and management staff and limited-term or temporary employees. If your IT organization has merged with the library, please include in your staff count only the library FTE personnel who perform IT-related functions (see Library/IT staff).

  • Stand-alone server

    A stand-alone server is a self-contained server that traditionally sits on a shelf and is not specifically designed to be rack mounted.

  • Storage service

    Back-end technology and services required to maintain core storage capabilities, including server storage, database backups, etc.; does not include customer-facing storage options.

  • Student cocurricular activities management system

    System for tracking and recording student participation in extra institutional activities related to an academic course or program, such as internships or volunteer programs.

  • Student employee FTE

    See Full-time equivalent (FTE).

  • Student evaluation of teaching effectiveness

    Tools for students in online courses to provide anonymous feedback on teaching to improve the learning experience for themselves and others.

  • Student extracurricular activities management system

    System for tracking and recording student participation in extracurricular activities.

  • Student information system

    Software to manage information about students, including the admissions process, course registration and grades, degree audit, housing, etc., and to provide student self-service functions such as course registration, access to course catalogues, class schedules, grades, transcripts, and so forth.

  • Student information systems service

    Services to support admissions, enrollment, registration, orientation, financial aid, student accounts and collections, advising, and career services.

  • Student self-service referral to social/community resources

    System that queries students about noncourse-related success factors (e.g., child care, transportation, or health) and refers them to appropriate institutional or community services.

  • Student success analytics dashboards

    Online information displays that provide student success key performance indicators appropriate to the role of the individual using the display.

  • Student success data warehouse/operational data store

    Data repository making student success data available for convenient reporting and analysis.

  • Student technology centers

    Facilities, equipment, services, and staff in support of student access to and use of the institution's and other information, learning, and communications resources; includes public student lab support and specialized training and support for students.

  • Student technology fee

    A mandatory fee or fees (including fees that are embedded in tuition) that are charged to students for the purposes of providing technology infrastructure and/or services to a broad spectrum of students. Revenue generated from these fees is not based on technology usage or tied to specific courses (i.e., “course fees”).

  • System

    See Multicampus system.

  • Tablet

    Portable personal computer equipped with a touchscreen as a primary input interface.

  • Teaching and learning service category

    Instructional technology, tools, and resources directly supporting teaching and learning; includes learning management systems, in-class and online course development, learning analytics, course evaluation, lecture capture, webinars, and other academic tools for faculty and students.

  • Team-based classrooms

    A classroom designed to have students sit and work in teams rather than listen to presentations. Some classrooms have the flexibility to be configured in different ways and so can support a variety of learning functions, such as presentation, discussion, and team-based learning (consult ELI Discovery Tool: Guide to Collaborative Learning).

  • Technology-enhanced spaces service

    Provision and maintenance of technology in specialized learning environments. For the purposes of reporting staff and student FTE, please include the following in this area if applicable:

    • Services that support the use of technology in spaces other than traditional classrooms such as computer labs/clusters, collaborative spaces, makerspaces, research labs, libraries, etc.
    • Services that provide technology in spaces other than traditional classrooms such as computer labs/clusters, collaborative spaces, makerspaces, research labs, libraries, etc.
    • Staff, hardware, software, etc., used to provide or support technology in spaces other than computer labs/clusters, collaborative spaces, makerspaces, research labs, libraries, etc.
  • Telephony service

    All services associated with telephony, including voice services, teleconferencing, etc. For the purposes of reporting staff and student FTE, please include the following in this area if applicable:

    • Wire and cable infrastructure for voice network
    • Dial tone (including services to student housing)
    • Voicemail
    • Long distance resale
    • Cellular and paging services
    • Telephony staff, hardware, software, etc.
  • Television service

    Broadcast services.

  • Television-quality video studio

    Video facilities, equipment, transmission capabilities, and expert personnel enabling the institution to produce or participate in remote production of live and recorded video programming suitable for television broadcast.

  • Time division multiplexing (TDM)

    Transmission of multiple signals, such as telephone calls over the same medium by taking turns on the channel. TDM is used for circuit mode communication, as contrasted to VoIP.

  • Training service

    Training services for end users on IT applications and systems.

  • Uninterrupted power supply (UPS)

    A mechanism that provides emergency power to a load when the input power source fails with near-instantaneous protection from input power interruptions.

  • Utilities and space/facilities expenditures

    Any charges assessed to central IT by the institution or other facility owner for use of space and utilities (including electricity). Some examples include rent, maintenance, and property taxes. Occupancy costs for space dedicated to IT functions, such as the data center (including power/heat management and raised floor), are also included.

  • Virtual computer lab delivery

    Platform to deliver software applications or provide virtualized desktop environments. (e.g., Citrix) for use by online students.

  • Visualization service

    Graphics, visualization, and virtual reality facilities and services in support of research application areas such as biomedical engineering, chemistry, space weather modeling, computational fluid dynamics, archaeology, and fine arts.

  • Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)

    A set of technologies and commercial products and services that enable transmission of voice and multimedia sessions over Internet Protocol (IP) networks. VoIP usually refers to replacement of traditional telephone sets and their associated cabling and user charges with either a dedicated VoIP phone set or an appropriately configured computer. VoIP can also be deployed within the telephone-switching infrastructure, even if users retain their traditional sets.

  • Vulnerability assessment tools

    A tool set to scan network attached devices for known vulnerabilities.

  • Websites service

    Services related to websites, including content management systems.

  • Work study

    The U.S. Department of Education, through the Federal Work Study Program, provides funds earned through part-time employment to assist students in financing the costs of postsecondary education (from College and university departments that employ work study students have correspondingly lower wage costs. Institutions outside the U.S. may benefit from similar programs.