Faculty Table Generator Help

Table of Contents


The Faculty Table Generator is a World-Wide Web tool that allows users to access aggregate information about GVSU faculty members over the internet.   Using the table generator, getting the information you want about GVSU faculty 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.

Note that the Faculty Table Generator delivers data on multi-semester contracts only. This includes "regular" (tenured and tenure-track) faculty and Affiliate and Visiting faculty. It is not currently possible to obtain data about adjunct faculty via the Faculty Table Generator.

The table generator consists of two principal parts:

  1. About a dozen blue boxes which represent the faculty 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 Rank pod into one of the of the slots labeled "Row", it would specify a table that looks something like this:

Number of faculty
Distinguished Professor1
Professor 140
Associate Professor 256
Assistant Professor 261
Instructor 34
Affiliate Professor 93
Visiting Professor 129

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

Distinguished Professor Professor Associate Professor Assistant Professor Instructor Affiliate Professor Visiting Professor Total
Total 1 140 256 261 34 93 129 914

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.

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 and up to 2 row variables.  You can select one page variable and up to 4 data elements.  If you select more than one data element, a new pod, Data Variables, will appear in your table diagram. This pod is a placeholder that controls how the multiple data variables will be dispayed in your table. You can move it around in your table (to other "Column", "Row", or "Page" slots), but the only way to remove it from the table is to remove "Data" variables until only one "Data" slot is occupied, at which time the Data Variables pod will disappear. The Data Variables pod will initially be placed in an empty "Column", "Row", or "Page" slot if possible. If all of those slots are filled, Data Variables will displace the pod in the second "Column" slot.

The following tables illustrate effects of different placements of Data Variables:

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

For "Data" variables, slot order only affects the order in which the types of summary data appear. For example, the first table below has Headcount before Attempted Hours, while the second tables has their positions reversed.

Data Type
HeadcountAttempted Hours
Female 11909 134273
Male 8002 92104
Total 19911 226377
Data Type
Attempted HoursHeadcount
Female 134273 11909
Male 92104 8002
Total 226377 19911

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
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    Department/School, 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 faculty members that are of interest to you, For example, you can create a table of only Nursing faculty, or only female faculty members, or faculty with tenure.

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
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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.
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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 -- Students must meet all selection criteria to be included in the table. For example, if you select "Undergraduate" for Level and "Journalism' for Major you will get data only for students who are undergraduates AND Journalism majors. (In logic terminology, you're making "and" operations, not "or" operations.) With these selections you could get the following simple demographic breakdown of undergraduate Journalism majors:

. -< 182  2
18 -< 1923 11 34
19 -< 2029 10 39
20 -< 2272 31 103
22 -< 2471 24 95
24 -< 2514 10 24
25 -< 2613 6 19
26 -< 3023 11 34
30 -< 359 5 14
35 -< 406 3 9
40 -< 503 1 4
50 -< 601 1 2
Total266 113 379

To remind you that your table shows a subset of GVSU students 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 Fall 03
Major Journalism
Level Undergraduate

About term (semester) selection

You can generate tables with GVSU student 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 may individuals meet certain criteria in at least one term in a multi-term range). If you need unduplicated student counts for a multi-semester period, please contact the Office of Institutional Analysis directly.

Formatting variables:

With many variables, you have a choice about how the values will be categorized in your table. This allows you much more flexibility to create the table precisely the way you need it. For example, if you need to compare information about students who are under 28 to those who are 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 are two types of formatting windows you may encounter. A few variables have a limited number of formatting options available, and their formatting windows present a drop-down list with the choices. Following is a list of those variables and links to their data dictionary entries, where you can find specific details about formatting options.

The other type of formatting window appears for continous variables -- that is, variables like Age or Attempted Hours that can take any value within an expected range. For these variables a default rule for separating the values into categories has been assigned (these are described in the variables' data dictionary entries), 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. Most of the default formats are already set up this way, so it should only be custom-formatted variables that require attention to this detail.

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 have more than one major at a time. If you specify a table showing students'majors but don't enable duplication, you'll get a tabulation of students' primary majors, and the total for the table will correctly reflect the number of students at the university (provided you didn't use
record selection). However, the number of students majoring in any given field may be under-reported, because students who declared 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 students in each particular major, but the total for the table will be higher than the actual number of students at the university.
The decision of whether to enable duplication is substantive, based on your needs. If you want each student 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 student 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 Faculty 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 Faculty 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 Faculty Table Generator.  A list or range of the extant values is given for each element.  Definitions or explanations are provided for selected elements/values.

Department / School
Office Location

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Tenure Status
Highest Degree
Full-time equivalence
Number of faculty

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Data Variables


The semester in which the faculty member was employed. Since full-time faculty appointments begin in the fall and encompass the academic year, faculty headcounts do not change between fall and winter semesters.
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Back to variable list


The college that holds the faculty member's primary appointment.

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Department / School

The department that holds the faculty member's primary appointment. Although some faculty members hold joint appointments, they are required to have a primary department for Human Resources purposes, and it is with that department that the faculty member is tabulated.

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Office Location

The building in which the faculty members principal office is located.

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The faculty member's rank or appointment type. The default level of aggregation is to show detailed rank, as in the first column of the table below. Alternatively, you may group all long-term and shorter-term full-time faculty (as shown in column 2) by using variable formatting.

Distinguished ProfessorRegular Faculty
Associate Professor
Assistant Professor
Affiliate ProfessorAffiliate and Visiting Faculty
Visiting Professor
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Tenure Status

Indicates whether the faculty member has earned tenure, or is eligible to earn it.

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Highest Degree

The level of the faculty member's degree, as recorded in the Human Resources system

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Full-time equivalence

The full-time equivalence (FTE) of the faculty member's appointment. Although all faculty included in the Faculty Table Generator have appointments that are commonly called "full-time" in postsecondary education parlance, a few are in fact only employed part-time. The majority of these cases are phased retirement arrangements for long-time faculty members. When used as a data variable, table cells will contain the sum of the FTE for all applicable faculty members.

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The faculty member's gender

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The faculty member's ethnicity, as reported in the Human Resources data system.

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The faculty member's age, as of September 1 of the given academic year.

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Number of faculty

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Data Variables

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