About Us


The Higher Education Data Warehousing Forum is a network of higher education colleagues dedicated to promoting the sharing of knowledge and best practices regarding knowledge management in colleges and universities, including building data warehouses, developing institutional reporting strategies, and providing decision support.


Who We Are

The HEDW Forum is a group of colleagues working at colleges and universities that includes technical developers and administrators of data access and reporting systems, data custodians, institutional researchers, and consumers of data representing a variety of internal university audiences.


The inception of the HEDW Forum occurred informally during 2003, when a small group of product-specific colleagues from higher education met to discuss reporting strategies, issues, and potential solutions with regard to reporting and data access. These discussions led to a small forum of about 30 colleagues in October 2003 at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. The success and value of the presentations and discussion during the first forum led to a consensus that a second event be coordinated, with a broader, non product-specific audience of higher education peers. Northwestern University hosted the second event in April 2005, and was pleasantly overwhelmed at the extensive interest from a variety of institutions in participating and presenting. A total of approximately 160 participants met during two days of informative presentations, lively discussion, and networking among colleagues from across the organizations of more than 50 institutions. Based on the feedback regarding these two events, it was determined that the forum should be held annually, and that mechanisms should be implemented to encourage and facilitate sharing of best practices on an ongoing basis.


  • Share best practices and resources to create, develop, support and leverage higher education decision support projects
  • Focus on the entire project lifecycle including justification, planning, design, development, deployment, support and growth
  • Discuss institutional issues such as sponsorship, reporting strategy, data access and security policies, data definitions and data quality processes, and communication to support successful projects
  • Include perspectives from both providers and consumers of decision support systems
  • Provide a product-neutral environment of presentations, best practices, and sharing
  • Maintain an internal higher education discussion and networking constituency, independent from consultants or vendors

Activities and Resources

Representatives from Information Technology (IT), Institutional Research (IR), and functional/business units at the administrative, academic, and department levels participate and exchange information pertinent to the various stages in the lifecycle of planning, designing, developing, implementing, and managing solutions to support data access and reporting. This is accomplished through:

  • An annual meeting where participants gather in an informal, conference-style environment to hear presentations from institutions regarding their experiences and expertise in implementing decision support strategies and systems
  • A website that provides year round access to resources including presentations from previous forums, contact lists, research and any future content related to decision support and data warehousing
  • A web forum enabling members to query colleagues and share pertinent information about their own experiences and expertise on an ongoing basis
  • A daily email digest of forum activity
  • Individual networking with colleagues who can share their experiences and offer advice.