Project Procedures

Space Utilization Database and Report

This data file is required annually by the UNC General Administration. It is created and submitted by the Coordinator for University Planning. The NC Higher Education Facilities Manual is the defining document, containing instructions, data formats and definitions to create the file. A copy of the Registrarís fall course registration file is the basis for building the Space Utilization Data File in accordance with requirements set forth by the Facilities Commission at UNC-GA. Data is entered into an Access database in OIR&P. Edit procedures are run on the raw data file to reveal missing data elements or data that is out of acceptable ranges. The file is then split into two copies, each destined for different processing and ultimate use. One copy, UTE, is primary for reporting campus utilization of classrooms/labs to the Facilities Commission. The other, call it WRK, is primary for generating the T-Load Report for on-campus use.

UTE records that do not have sufficient information to identify a valid place and time of on-campus meeting are sent to a sub-file of incomplete records. Typically, these are TBA or off-campus records. Records without a valid instructor name are allowed to remain in the file. A cycle of edit runs is performed against the working facilities inventory (INVEN) database. Locally written programs link these two databases and are used to carry out the edits. The objective is to resolve unused/misused/overused and time conflict records, that is, those indicating classes/labs meeting in the same room at the same time. These edits are extensive and are run repetitively until discrepancies are resolved. When the edits run clean, a UTE file is generated in the prescribed format and sent electronically to the Facilities Commission. UTE and INVEN are always submitted simultaneously. After any Commission questions are resolved, the file becomes the official current year classroom/lab utilization file and is used throughout the year to produce ad hoc reports as needed.

A log of project checkpoints is maintained each year. The log is kept in the Facilities/Space Utilization/T-Load Manual in the Office of Institutional Research and Planning.

Facilities Inventory Database and Report

This data file is required annually by the General Administration. It is updated and submitted by the Coordinator for University Planning. Instructions and data formats for file update, as set forth in the Facilities Manual, are followed. Annual update of the facilities inventory begins when change, delete or new facility information is obtained about whole buildings. This information comes from observing actual construction or learning about it from personnel in physical plant. When possible, room by room square footage is calculated from measurements taken from as-built blueprints obtained from physical plant, otherwise obtained from measurements obtained on site. This information is used to code building and room data elements of the inventory as required by the Facilities Commission at UNC-GA. Codes are obtained from definitions identified in the Facilities Manual. Record changes or additions are entered into INVEN, a DOS database, using macros and other procedures programmed in this office.

The need for additional facilities inventory refinements are detected by a validation procedure consisting of running a current working inventory against a current working Space Utilization (UTE) Data File. If UTE records, which originally derive from the Registrarís Course Registration File, indicate classes/labs meeting in rooms identified by INVEN for non-class/lab purposes, resolution may occur. Similarly, rooms identified in INVEN as classrooms/labs sometimes have no match in the UTE file. In either case, resolution may occur by changing discrepant records in INVEN, UTE, or both.

After local edit/validation is completed, an INVEN data file is generated from the database in the prescribed format and submitted electronically to the Facilities Commission. After a final round of edits, validations, and updates which is performed by personnel at the Commission, and any changes pursuant to same, the file becomes the official facilities inventory for the current year. The inventory is used by this office to produce ad hoc reports when needed.

A log of project checkpoints is maintained each year. The log is kept in the Facilities/Space Utilization/T-Load Manual.

T-Load Report

The Coordinator for University Planning created this report in 1991 at the request of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. It is produced annually on fall enrollment data. The report summarizes the number of classes taught and total student credit hours produced by school, by department and by individual faculty member. The data source is the Registrar's fall course registration file, which is in turn obtained from the SIS system. Records from the course registration file are extracted as described in the sections above and placed into a  database file (WRK) in the Office of Institutional Research and Planning.

Records in WRK with blank or TBA instructor name are changed to STAFF. Consortium records with blank instructor name are deleted. Records with blank or TBA place and time of meeting, whether on or off-campus, are allowed to remain in the file. Honors sections are re-aggregated into the main class section. Utilizing macros and other programming a student credit hour summary is run for each School. Cross tabulations are run to determine the total number of classes and student registrations for each school. Instructor workload reports are run separately for each school and department, followed by department summary reports.

Selected data from the above, along with the number of faculty positions by department as reported in the BD-119, is entered into spreadsheets programmed in this office. The current BD-119 is obtained from the office managing EPA salary information. After programming spreadsheet formulas, a comprehensive T-Load report is generated. The comprehensive summary, together with the departmental summary and the individual instructor summaries, constitutes the annual T-Load report sent to the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and to Deans.

A log of project checkpoints is maintained each year. The log is kept in the Facilities/Space Utilization/T-Load Manual.

Enrollment Projections

The Coordinator prepares enrollment projections for near-term and long-range planning for University using a projection model and procedures continuously developed since 1991. Enrollment projections are based on historical and current information about the college-going pool and similar information about NCA&T enrollments. Estimates of the college-going pool by year are obtained from the General Administration and/or the State Demographerís Office. These estimates are entered into a spreadsheet programmed by the Coordinator and maintained in this office for the past eight years and serves as a primary enrollment forecasting model.

The spreadsheet contains formulas programmed to generate and show various enrollment/pool ratios. Inspection of the pattern of these ratios over a period of time, together with judgement about the likelihood of their impact on future enrollments suggests an extension of the ratio sequence into future years. Projected ratios are applied to projected college-going estimates to produce projected enrollments for NCA&T. By its design this model operates similarly to the one used by the General Administration since both are based on enrollment/pool ratios. Further breakdowns of local projections are done on an ad hoc basis following similar methodology and using modified versions of the basic spreadsheet and the judgement of the forecaster. The model was extended in the fall of 1998 to include SCH projection in the 12-cell format required by the General Administration.

The Chancellor and designees use baseline projections produced in this office to form goal-setting or other altered enrollment specifications . It is normal for base projections to be modified after goal setting, and a modified version of the Professional Plan spreadsheet is used as needed until projections are finalized.

Graduation/Retention Database and Reporting

The Coordinator for University Planning was assigned responsibility for designing, programming and producing a report on specific graduation rates and retention rates by school and by department. Follow-up of the last eight entering classes was required for each of eight subsequent years. The first report was issued in December of 1995 and publication has been annual since then. This project starts with getting copies of the final SDF and Graduation files. SAS programs are modified as necessary to convert raw institutional data files into SAS data sets. A series of SAS programs programmed in this office is then used to merge historical enrollment and graduation files with current year enrollment and graduation files, creating an enormous database. SAS programs are run on a computer in this office.

Updated department/degree program codes are incorporated to update and reprogram SAS program code. SAS generator programs are reprogrammed to show the correct time span for the current year. Updating and reprogramming SAS code occurs in real-time and interactively using SAS-PC in the office. Numerous production runs, using interactive SAS, consists of running SAS generator programs for each school for each of eight years to get grad/retention information and running SAS generator programs for each department for each of eight years to get grad/retention information. Summary information from these SAS runs is captured/transferred to ten spreadsheets on the office computer. This completes the SAS phase of this project.

Locally designed spreadsheets are used to organize and publish the report. Spreadsheet formulas and report specifications are reprogrammed for current year reporting. Numerous production runs yield printed retention reports for each department of each School/College and a graduation report for each department of each School/College for and eight-year report time-span. Spreadsheet specifications are reprogrammed as necessary to print the charts and graphs that are included in the final report. The report narrative is written and printed. The Secretary helps with photocopying, assembling and distributing custom reports to the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and each Dean.

After-project housekeeping consists of a review of all SAS data and program files to be sure that they are present and are identified correctly. Spreadsheet files on the office computer are cleaned up and backed up on the office LAN server.

A log of project checkpoints is maintained each year. The log is kept in the Grad/Retn Procedures Manual.

Create and Maintain Academic Program Inventory Database

This database contains a record for each degree program and program concentration which constitutes an NCA&T major. It was created by the Coordinator in 1990 at the request of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs under the mandate that it must be in 100% conformance with the list of programs approved by the Board of Governors for NCA&T. The database is maintained in this office under the name PROGRAMS on an office computer. The original database was created in a DOS-based database. The current version is contained in a custom-made MS Access database.

When an official action authorizes additions, deletions or changes to the Academic Program Inventory or database, the degree program database is updated in IR&P and appropriate campus officials are notified concerning implementation. The Coordinator assigns the major code for all new majors. The following policy statement controls this process and accompanies every notification:

"The new <program level> should be <action specified> by the Registrar, under the
referenced codes, effective immediately.  All listings and other information about academic
programs at NCA&T must conform to the exact titles and codes in the official Academic
Program Inventory as approved by the Board of Governors.  Changes to the Academic
Program Inventory may be made only through the Office of the Vice Chancellor for
Academic Affairs. Changes to the degree program database may be made only by written
request from the Office of  Institutional Research and Planning to the Administrative
Computing Manager."
Copies of authorization documents are kept on file in this office. The current API is published on the office web site edition of the FACT BOOK.

Web Site Creation and Maintenance

The Coordinator for University Planning created this internet-available format for providing timely information in 1997 as a component of  the wide range of  planning support provided by this office. The IR&P web site contains staff information, multiple editions of the FactBook, archival information about the University and its programs, and links to external educational information resources. It is available on the World Wide Web twenty four hours per day, seven days per week at The web site receives over 100 visits per week from various countries throughout the world.

The web site runs under Microsoft Web Server software on a computer in the office. It was originally built using MS FrontPage 1.1 programs and extensions. A counter with the ability to track and profile site visits was incorporated and a start-on-boot feature was added in 1999 so the web site automatically restarts after a power failure or system reboot for any reason.

The site is maintained and updated by the Coordinator using hypertext markup language editors in MS FrontPage and in Netscape Composer. The local site content address is c:\FrontPageWebs.


The FactBook is a compendium of frequently requested information about the University and its programs. The Coordinator created it in this office in 1990 as part of the University planning support program. It has been published annually since then. Data for the FactBook are assembled and compiled by the Coordinator from historical and current information in the institution's files. Most of the update data is obtained from the same procedures followed by other IR staff to create the student data file and personnel data file. Some of the data is obtained directly from other University offices.

Published paper versions of the FactBook exist for the years 1990 through 1997. The Coordinator first published an electronic version of the FactBook on the World Wide Web in 1997. Expanded Internet publications of the FactBook followed in 1998 and 1999. The web version of the FactBook is updated on a current, real-time basis and is available 24 hours per day, seven days per week on the IR&P web site at

Ad Hoc Reporting

Throughout the year the Coordinator is asked to produce special reports as part of the management and decision support provided by this office. These usually involve a current topic and may include historical profiles and information comparing NCA&T data with UNC or other institutional group data. Typical reports might include comparative survey analyses, space utilization analyses, and special reports concerning the history and development of degree programs at the University.

Other Professional Activities

The Coordinator upgrades planning information and report applications on a continuous basis. As new hardware and software are brought online in the office, it becomes necessary to convert existing applications to new operating systems. Examples include conversion from mainframe SAS to PC-SAS, from DOS computer operating system to Windows, and from lower to higher versions of the MS Office suite. The Coordinator assists office coworkers in implementing and using new or upgraded operating systems and applications.

The Coordinator develops new procedural applications in support of campus planning and decision information. Examples include the graduation/retention report and the office web site, both of which were conceived, designed, programmed and implemented by the Coordinator. Independent research and analysis of decision support needs are both used to determine what areas might benefit most from new applications.

Continuing Personal Education and Skills Development

MS Office applications programming and development through self-taught courses and tutorials
Up-to-date web technologies and methodologies through research and experimentation
State-of-art survey methodology and techniques through self study and invention

Participate with Professional Organizations

Current NCAIR web site author and editor
Co-author of NCAIR History - Part II scheduled for publication in January 2000

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Robert Ussery, Coordinator for University Planning
Last update: August 5, 1999