User Roles and Permissions

Accessing User Accounts

In order to create Planning & Self-Study user accounts for your institution, your account needs access to the System Administrator module. To access this module, select System Administration from the Navigator app switcher in the top right corner. This module is visible only to users with the System Administrator role.


From within the System Administrator tool, you have access to the People tab, which will show you a list of all the user accounts at your institution:


From this page, you can create new Users.  When you create a new user, you have the option to assign a role to them. You can also edit your users’ account information, including their Role, by clicking the edit button (the icon of a pen) to the right of their name.


User Role Definitions and Permissions

System Administrator

Users with the System Administrator role are responsible for managing the technical infrastructure of your institution’s Planning & Self-Study instance.  A System Administrator has access to the System Administrator tool, which allows them to create and update data for the institutional hierarchy, user accounts, terms, courses, and course sections. The System Administrator can also enable integrations options with other systems, such as an LMS to collect assessment results from.  For more information about what integration options are available in Planning & Self-Study, please contact our Support team.

A user’s Affiliated Organization does not impact their level of System Administrator access, though for ease of reference, many System Administrators are affiliated with the top level of the hierarchy, at the level of the Institution.  Many System Administrators also give themselves the Administrator permission (see section below for more details) to grant themselves access to the assessment and planning content at their institution.
The System Administrator role can only be given to a user from a Watermark employee.  During implementation, your implementation Project Manager will create an account with the System Administrator role for your institution.  If the person responsible for managing your technical infrastructure changes, please have that person contact our Support team to give this permission to another user to take over this responsibility. Your institution can request multiple System Administrators, but we advise that you keep the number of these users to a minimum, such as a core group of one to three individuals, This recommendation is to help you more easily manage the number of people who can make permanent and irreversible changes to your system setup.



Users with the Administrator role are responsible for managing the assessment and planning content your institution will collect in Planning & Self-Study.  An Administrator has both system-wide privileges and local privileges within their Affiliated Organization.

System-Wide Permissions:
  • Create and manage Assessment Plans
  • Create and manage accreditation Self-Study reports
  • Create and manage Program Reviews (Must be a top-level admin)
  • Create and manage Strategic Plans (only if the Affiliated Organization is the Institution)
  • Define your institution’s Academic Years
  • Customize some Configuration Settings regarding system vocabulary and options
Local Permissions:
  • View and manage the Hierarchy within your Affiliated Organization, including assigning users as Leads (see below for details) to Organizations in their domain
  • View and edit data for Organizations nested within your Affiliated Organization, including:
    • Mission Statement
    • Outcomes
    • Curriculum Maps (only available for Program-type Organizations)
    • Cyclical Assessment Plans (Measures, Findings, Actions, etc.)
    • Program Reviews (Lead will not have Program Review widget, but can view/edit data for their organization)
    • Alignment to Strategic Plan Goals
  • Run reports on Assessment Plan data across all Organizations within their Affiliated Organization
When an Administrator logs in to their account, they will see this administrative navigation bar on the left of the screen listing all of their system-wide permissions:
System Administrators can give users the Administrator role from System Administrator, and affiliate them with the Organization appropriate with the level of local permissions that user should have.



A user with the Contributor role is responsible for entering assessment and planning data in one or more Organizations at your institution.  A System Administrator can give users the Contributor role from System Administrator, and affiliate them with the Organization that the user is part of (usually at the Department level).  Please note that giving a user the Contributor role is the first in a two-step process to give them data entry access, the next step is to assign them as a Lead (see below for details).  If you do not also assign a Contributor as a Lead, when they log in to their account, they will see a page saying that there is no work assigned to them.


No Role

From the People tab in System Administrator, a System Administrator can also remove one or more roles from a user.  Once a user has entered data in Planning & Self-Study, you may be prohibited from deleting that user record, but removing all of a user’s roles will prohibit that user from logging in to Planning & Self-Study, while maintaining a historic record of their account (which can also be helpful in case you need to add roles back to their account), so we recommend this solution instead of deleting a user account when an individual no longer needs access to Planning & Self-Study.

Assigning Leads

Definition and Permissions

In Planning & Self-Study, each Organization in your hierarchy can have multiple Leads assigned to it.   Assigning someone as a Lead designates that individual as someone responsible for managing assessment and planning data related to that Organization.  A Lead has access to view and edit the following content for an Organization:
  • Mission Statement
  • Outcomes
  • Curriculum Maps (only available for Program-type Organizations)
  • Cyclical Assessment Plans (Measures, Findings, Actions, etc.)
  • Program Reviews
  • Alignment to Strategic Plan Goals
Users with the Contributor role (see above for details) must be assigned as a Lead to at least one Organization in order to enter data in Planning & Self-Study.  Users with the Administrator role (see above for details) do not have to be assigned as a Lead in order to access and edit content for an Organization, although assigning an Administrator as a Lead has the benefit of identifying them as someone responsible for managing that Organization’s assessment and planning data.
An Organization can have up to 20 Leads assigned to it, and one user can be assigned as a Lead to multiple Organizations.

How to Assign Leads

A user with the Administrator role can assign users as Leads by first clicking the Organization Management tab in their administrative navigation bar on the left of the screen.

This will display all Organizations that the Administrator has access to.


To assign a user as a Lead to an Organization, click the Assign Leads link to the right of that Organization name.   If that Organization already has one or more Leads assigned to it, you will see a list of the individuals who have already been assigned as Leads, and you can click on one of their names instead.
This will open a window which allows you to search through your institution’s users.  To assign a user as a Lead to your selected Organization, click on their name from the list of users.  You can also remove a user as a Lead from an Organization by clicking the X to the right of their name from the box with your Organization Leads.


When a Lead logs in to their account, they will see a My Leadership category on their home page which lists all of the Organizations to which they have been assigned as a Lead, with links to add and edit assessment and planning data for those Organizations.


Please note that assigning a Lead to an Organization in your hierarchy does not confer full access to all Organizations nested within it in your hierarchy.  For example, if you assign a user as a Lead to a Department, that user will not automatically have full access to all Programs within that Department; you would need to also assign that user as a Lead to each of those Departments to give them that level of access.


Dean’s View

Although a user who is assigned as a Lead to an Organization does not automatically have full editing access to all Organizations nested within it in your hierarchy, that user does have access to run reports on Plans for all Organizations within it.  For example, someone who is assigned as a Lead to a College-type Organizations will be able to run reports on Assessment Plans completed by all Departments and Programs within that College, without also having to be added as a Lead to each individual Department and Program within it. This level of access is referred to as the Dean’s View.

To give a user access to the Dean’s View, that user needs to have the Contributor role (see above for details), and then they must be assigned as a Lead to an Organization that has other Organizations nested within it (examples include Division, College, or Department).  We advise giving users who need this level of reporting access the Dean’s View instead of giving them the Administrator role, since Dean’s View does not allow them the level of editing access that an Administrator has,  thus preventing potential permanent and irreversible mistakes.

The user in the following screen shot has the Dean’s View for their College:


When that user logs into their account, they will see their assigned College listed in their My Leadership area, and to run reports on all Organizations within that College, that user must first click on an Assessment Plan they want to report on:


On the following page, they will click the Insights tab in their top navigation bar, which will let them see Plan data for all Organizations within their assigned Organization.


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