The Organizational Hierarchy


Creating your organizational hierarchy will be one of the first steps you take in customizing Tk20 for data collection, assessment planning, and reporting at your institution. The hierarchy plays a vital role by organizing data collection units and allowing associations with certain features of the application.

Organizational hierarchies created for assessment purposes can be organized in a variety of ways. We recommend that the hierarchy begin at the topmost level with the University/College and then break into subunits that follow the institutional organizational structure at the lower levels.

The hierarchy can contain as many levels as needed, but efficiency of how data will be collected and how outcomes will be accessed should be the primary focus. Carefully considering which units will collect data, have assessment plans, and align to courses is very important when determining which units to include. When considering which units should be included, these simple questions can help a great deal: 

  • How do you typically report on your outcomes/goals?
  • Do you report at multiple levels (e.g., program, department, campus)?
  • How will goals and outcomes be aligned within/between units?
    • Goals and outcomes should be unique to each unit.
  • How will courses be aligned with your hierarchy?
  • Who will access the data?  

The hierarchy may resemble an organizational chart but may also have some deviations from the human resources reporting structure. Labels on the hierarchy are customizable, allowing you to reflect the types of units at your institution. Some institutions have found that naming conventions used to identify lower level units as belonging to higher-level are helpful. Your implementation project coordinator can help you with both of these points.

Four Easy Steps to Configure Your Hierarchy

  1. Identify data collecting units within your institution. Think about which units will collect data, have assessment plans, and align to courses. Your data collection units may be composed of campuses, divisions, colleges, departments, and even academic programs; however, each unit must be unique.
  2. Identify labels for your units. Tk20 comes configured with the labels university, college, department, and program. Your implementation project coordinator or product consultant can explain how this nomenclature can be customized when needed.
  3. Organize the layout of your hierarchy for configuration. You can also consider a naming convention to help organize your units and identify them in a list. Naming conventions are most helpful at institutions with many units or many units with similar names.
  4. Validate the hierarchy. It is vitally important that the hierarchy structure be validated with key assessment stakeholders. This will ensure that minimal changes need to be made after implementation.

Example Hierarchy 1

In this example several unit types are used and exist at various levels of the hierarchy. Also, notice the codes provided for each unit. The codes shown align with those provided in a typical dataload (i.e., course files, faculty files). These are then used to make associations with users and courses to expand data collection, refine report parameters, and reduce the initial setup time needed to manually create associations. This hierarchy was created in a spreadsheet software (e.g., Excel).


Example Hierarchy 1

Example Hierarchy 2

Configuration with Naming Convention: In this example, a naming convention is used throughout to help group units within a dropdown list and to easily identify reporting units further up the hierarchy. This hierarchy was also created in a spreadsheet (e.g., Excel).


Example Hierarchy 2

Actual Customer Hierarchies


CampusWide College

College of Education

Social Work Department

College of Health Sciences

Aligning SIS Data with Your Hierarchy

Sometimes organizational codes are stored in SIS data and available for data import. While this is certainly not a requirement for each unit, or any unit, aligning users and courses with units via data import can be incredibly useful. Some things to keep in mind as you use this article and our data import guidelines: 

  • At this time, only one code can be aligned with each unique organization your hierarchy.
  • Codes provided in each file (e.g., student, faculty, course) should match to insure proper alignment.
  • Users and courses can be aligned with multiple organizations.
  • Do you want to align your users/courses with a single organization or multiple organizations?
  • Do you want to align your users/courses only with the organization codes you provide (e.g., BUS → College of Business)?
  • Do you want to align your users/courses with the organization provided and all of it’s children (e.g., BUS → College of Business, Accounting, Marketing)?

Done? Now you can Associate Users with organizations​​. Please see this : ​Associating Users with Organizations for Planning.


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