Degree Table Generator Help

Table of Contents


The Degree Table Generator is a tool that allows internet users to access aggregate information about degrees awarded by GVSU.   Using the table generator, getting the information you want about GVSU degree conferrals is a simple drag-and drop process, but the tool has the flexibility to help you get exactly the data you need without a lot of unnecessary information.

The table generator consists of two principal parts:

  1. About a dozen blue boxes which represent the characteristics that can appear in your table ("Pods");
  2. A gray table diagram (at the bottom of the page), with white boxes representing the ways the data can appear in the table ("Slots").
You design your table by choosing the pods you want and putting them into the slots where you want them.

For example, if you put the Level pod into one of the of the slots labeled "Row", it would specify a table that looks something like this:


The table shows the number of degrees awarded by level, with the levels listed down the left side of the table. (You specified Level as a "Row" variable, so the table has a row for each level.) If you put Level in one of the slots labeled "Column" instead, the table would look like the following, with the levels listed across the top of the table:

Total872 210 1082

When you've designed your table the way you want it to appear, click the "Submit Request" button, and your table will be created exactly as you've requested, and you can read it in your browser, print it, go back and modify the specifications, or open it up as a spreadsheet.

The parts of the window:

There are 3 general parts to the table generator page:
  1. The available pods -- Here you'll find all of the variables you can use to design your table.
  2. The table diagram -- This is where you create your table layout. The white boxes are empty slots.
  3. Help and Table options -- The buttons on the left side of the page allow you to (a) access this help page, (b) specify whether you want an HTML table or a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, (c) save or restore a pre-defined table layout, (d) submit your table request, or (e) reset all parameters to their initial values.

How to move a pod:

The easiest way to move a pod is just to click it and drag it to where you want it to be. Use the left mouse button to click and drag the pod, and release the button over the desired location to drop the pod. Pods can only be dropped in appropriate slots or in their "home" location. If you drop a pod anywhere else on the page, it will return to its "home" location. The home location is the space reserved for the pod in the list of available pods (the upper 2/3 of the page).

You can also move a pod by using its options menu. Left click on the pod to view the list of actions you can take with the variable. Among the options listed will be a list of places where the pod can be moved. These options will include some, but not all, of the following:

If you move a pod (either by drag-and-drop or the pod options menu) to a slot that is already occupied by another pod, the pods will trade places, with the displaced pod going to the place where the pod you moved started. (If the pod you moved was in its "home" location, the displaced pod will go to its own home, not to the exact spot where the new pod was located.) If the displaced pod is not allowed to occupy the slot from which you moved the new pod, the displaced pod will go to its home location instead.

Other things you can do with a pod:

In addition to moving a pod into, around in, or out of the table, there are several other useful actions available from the pod options menu. Not all options are available for all pods, and some options are context-sensitive -- they only appear on the options menu when the situation makes them appropriate.

The following actions may be available from the options menu:

The parts of the table (the slots)

A table can show your information in up to four different ways: across the columns of the table; down the table in rows; broken up into many different table pages; or as the data element summarized within the table's individual cells.  The following example illustrates the 4 types: (Some examples throughout this document are from the Section Table Generator, which shows data on course sections, but the concepts illustrated apply equally to all of the table generators.)

Data = Number of Sections

Course Prefix = FRE

Course Level
Lower-division Upper-division Total
Instructor Rank
Assistant Professor 4 6 10
Associate Professor 1 2 3
Total 5 8 13

In the tables to the left, Course Level is laid out as a "Column" variable, while Instructor Rank is shown as a "Row" variable.  Course Prefix is a "Page" variable here, meaning that a separate table is created for each subject area.  Finally, the "Data" element for these tables is Number of Sections , so each cell shows the number of sections with the characteristics described by the "Column", "Row", and "Page" variables. A table with two data elements, Number of Sections and Census Credit Hours, is shown below.  In it, the data elements are arrayed horizontally, as if they were values of a "Column" variable.
Note that only one data element, Count, is available in the Degree Table Generator.

Data = Number of Sections

Course Prefix = GER

Course Level
Lower-division Upper-division Total
Instructor Rank
Assistant Professor 2 1 3
Professor 1 5 6
Total 3 6 9

Course Prefix = FRE

Data Type
Number of Sections Census Credit Hours
Instructor Rank
Assistant Professor 10 446
Associate Professor 3 142
Total 13 588

The Table Generator allows you to select up to 2 column variables, up to 2 row variables, and one page variable.

The significance of order within table dimensions

With both the column and row elements, you have the option of nesting variables. Nesting a variable means that the different levels of the second variable will be shown for each level of the first variable.  For the "Column" slots, a variable in the right-hand slot will be nested within the variable in the left-hand slot. For "Row" variables, the variable in the lower pod is nested within the variable in the upper slot. In both cases, if there is only one variable specified for that particular dimension (that is, only one "Column" variable or only one "Row" variable), it makes no difference which of the two slots it occupies.

The tables below give examples of nested "Row" variables. In the first table, Course Level values are nested within Night/Weekend categories, while the second table has Night/Weekend nested within Course Level. Note that the same data are displayed either way, although the presentation differs slightly.

Number of Sections
Night / Weekend Course Level
Evening and Weekend Undergraduate3
Graduate 24
No Evening or Weekend Undergraduate2817
Graduate 449
Evening Undergraduate382
Graduate 174
Weekend Undergraduate5
Graduate 28
Total Undergraduate3207
Graduate 675
Number of Sections
Course Level Night / Weekend
Undergraduate Evening and Weekend 3
No Evening or Weekend2817
Evening 382
Weekend 5
Graduate Evening and Weekend 24
No Evening or Weekend449
Evening 174
Weekend 28
Total Evening and Weekend 27
No Evening or Weekend3266
Evening 556
Weekend 33

Table Layout Hints

As a rule, you should make your tables as uncomplicated as possible.  The more variables you add to the table, the larger and more unwieldy your table becomes.  At the extremes, your table can become so large that it taxes our server and slows your web browser to a crawl.  Here are some hints for laying out tables that will give you the information you want without tons of unwanted data:
  1. Only use variables that you actually need.
  2. Use record selection to trim the amount of data your table presents.
  3. If you use variables with lots of different values (like Major or Emphasis), use them as row variables, since row variables take up much less space on your screen or page than column or page variables.

Record selection:

By using the pods' Record Selection windows, you can modify your table request to only include information about the degrees or degree recipients that are of interest to you, For example, you can create a table of only Journalism degrees, or only bachelor's degrees, or degrees awarded to female students.

You can access the Record Selection window for a variable by choosing "Use it for record selection" from the pod's options menu. Note that a variable does not need to be part of your table layout to be used for record selection.

The Record Selection menu will take one of two forms. For continuous variables, you are asked to designate a range of values to include (or exclude); for variables with discrete values you are given a selection list of possible values.

Applying your selections

When you have designated your selection criteria, click the "Done" button. The pod for which you just created selection criteria will now have asterisks (*) in its upper corners as a visual reminder that you have made exclusions. (Note that Term always has this appearance. See below for an explanation.)

If you specify selection criteria for more than one variable, those criteria are compounded -- Degrees/graduates must meet all selection criteria to be included in the table. For example, if you select "Baccalaureate" for Level and "Journalism' for Major you will get data only for Journalism bachelors degrees. (In logic terminology, you're making "and" operations, not "or" operations.) With these selections you could get the following simple demographic breakdown of recipients of Journalism bachelors degrees:

20 -< 221  1
22 -< 251 5 6
25 -< 301 1 2
Total3 6 9

To remind you that your table shows a subset of GVSU degrees rather than the entire population, there will be a small extra table at the end of each report that summarizes the selection criteria you submitted.  For the example above, the summary table looks like this:

Summary of Record Selection Criteria

CharacteristicSelected Values
Term Winter 2006

About term (semester) selection

You can generate tables with GVSU degree data from a single semester or from multiple semesters. By default, tables will include data from the most recent semester.

Note that selecting more than one term in this step will not automatically result in a table that shows trend data.  You must also include Term as a table element (That is, the pod should be in the table diagram). If you use multiple terms' data, but do not specify Term as a table variable, data will be aggregated across terms. It is not possible to unduplicate by term (that is, to count how many individuals meet certain criteria in at least one term in a multi-term range). If you need unduplicated counts for a multi-semester period, please contact the Office of Institutional Analysis directly.

Formatting variables:

With some variables, you have a choice about how the values will be categorized in your table. This allows you more flexibility to create the table precisely the way you need it. For example, if you need to compare information about degree recipients who were under 28 to those who were at least 28 years old, the default age categories (above) don't give you the information you need. You can use the formatting window for Age to tell the table generator to use a single cutpoint at 28, and your table will have just two age categories -- representing "Under 28" and "28 and Older".

There is only one variable (Age) that allows formatting options in the Degree Table Generator. A default rule for separating the Age values into categories has been assigned (described in the data dictionary entry for Age), but you can apply a customized formatting rule if you want.

The custom formatting rule for a continuous variable can take either of two forms: a list of specific cutpoints, or an interval for equal-size ranges.

The labeling for the categories created for continuous variables can be confusing. They take a form like "25-<35" which means "25 up to but not including 35". This is ugly and confusing, but it's necessary to account for the possibility that someone could have a value of 34.9. If we labeled the categories "25 - 34" and "35 - 44", it would be more pleasing to the eye, but it would not be clear what we should do with 34.9. In the table generator, formatting categories (unlike selection ranges) always include their lower bound but exclude their upper bound.
The lowest possible category for continuous variables will always have a period (.) as its lower bound. (This is the lowest possible category -- it will not necessary appear on your table, since categories that are empty are not printed.) The period represents missing data, meaning that the university does not know (or did not know at the time the data were captured) the value for that variable for one or more students. Missing values are always the lowest possible value for the variable, so if it's important to distinguish between missing values and very low values, make sure you designate a cutpoint that will be lower than the lowest valid value you might find.

Record duplication:

Enabling duplication by a variable in your table is a way of acknowledging that some of the characteristics are not restricted to "one to a customer." For example, a student can graduate with more than one major. If you specify a table showing majors but don't enable duplication, you'll get a tabulation of degrees by primary major, and the total for the table will correctly reflect the number of degrees awarded at the university (provided you didn't use
record selection). However, the number of degrees in any given field may be under-reported, because students who graduated with the program as their second major will only be counted toward their primary program. If you run the same table with duplication enabled, you will get accurate counts of the number of graduates in each particular major, but the total for the table will be higher than the actual number of degrees conferred because some are counted twice.
The decision of whether to enable duplication is substantive, based on your needs. If you want each degree to be counted only once and you want the totals to be easier to interpret, avoid duplication. On the other hand, if you want to be certain to count every degree with a characteristic and aren't worried about the values in the totals, then you should use duplication.
It is only possible to enable duplication for one variable at a time in the Degree Table Generator. When you enable duplication for a variable, it is automatically disabled for all other variables. You will receive an alert if the table generator disables a prior setting in this way.
The following Degree Table Generator variables can have duplication enabled. It is only possible to enable duplication when the variables are specified as column, row, or page variables.

Data Dictionary:

   Following is a list of data elements available in the Degree Table Generator.  A list or range of the extant values is given for each element.  Definitions or explanations are provided for selected elements/values.


The semester in which the student completed the academic requirements for the degree. Note that degrees are occasionally granted considerably after the end of the award term, so there is a some volatility in degree counts -- the count for a given term may continue to increase slightly even after subsequent commencements. Back to variable list

College of Major

This is the GVSU college that is responsible for the degree recipient's major. Note that the table generator groups majors according to the college that currently administers them. Thus, even though the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences wasn't created until 2004, the table generator will roll majors up to CLAS, even when reporting data from before 2004. There is currently no way to use the Degree Table Generator to summarize data according to older organizational structures.
If duplication by College is enabled, students graduating with multiple majors will be counted once in each college in which they have a major. Thus, a student majoring in Finance and Sociology would be counted twice, once in Seidman College of Business, and once in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. A student majoring in Finance and Management would only be counted once, since both majors are in the same college. However, if College is included (as a Column, Row, or Page variable) in a table for which duplication by Major has been enabled, each student will be counted once in each of her/his majors, and subtotals for college may include double-counted students. (e.g. the Finance/Management graduate would be counted twice toward the Seidman College of Business total.) Back to variable list


The academic major in which the degree was earned. Unless duplication by major is enabled, only graduates' primary major is counted. If duplication is enabled, graduates with multiple majors are counted once in each appropriate program. A list of extant majors can be viewed by opening the Record Selection window from the pod options window. Back to variable list


The emphasis or concentration (if any) completed by the degree recipient. A list of extant emphases can be viewed by opening the Record Selection window from the pod options window. Back to variable list


The level of the award. Possible values are "Baccalureate" and "Graduate". Back to variable list


The specific degree awarded. Possible values are: Back to variable list


The minor program (if any) for which the degree recipient has completed all requirements. A list of extant minors can be viewed by opening the Record Selection window from the pod options window. Back to variable list


Indicates whether the graduate completed all requirements for graduation from the GVSU Honors College. Back to variable list


The ethnicity of the student, as recorded in the university's student records. Back to variable list


The gender of the student, as recorded in the university's student records. Back to variable list


The graduate's country of citizenship as of the graduation date. A list of applicable countries can be viewed by opening the Record Selection window from the pod options window. Back to variable list


The student's age as of the graduation date.
The default groupings are as follows: See above for an explanation of how the table generators label and define value ranges. Back to variable list

Native / Transfer

Indicates whether the undergraduate student initially came to GVSU as a transfer student. Note that all graduate students are classified as "Native students". Students who initially came to GVSU before the advent of the current student records system are categorized as "Unknown". Back to variable list


The number of degrees awarded that meet the specified criteria Back to variable list