Ok. You've been learning about Categories, Groups, and Roles in Kuali Build, and you may be starting to get a handle on them (See the section of articles entitled Categories, Groups and Roles). But if you're anything like me, things are still a little fuzzy. Let's see if we can clear away some of the fog.
What is the difference between Categories and Groups?
Categories and Groups: aren't they just the same thing using different words?
I like to think of a Category as a classification for certain types of Groups. Groups are also part of a Category, not the other way around. Since every institution's organizational hierarchy is slightly different, let's look at a few completely separate examples that might help us understand the difference.
We might say that "Cups" can be a Category. Within the Category "Cups" we may have several different Groups: mugs, sippy cups, goblets, wine glasses etc. "Cups" describe what type of Groups belong in this Category.
We could label another Category "Sports." Groups within the Sports Category could include hockey, soccer, basketball, football, etc.
Now let's look at an example from a higher-ed institution. We could have a Category for "Colleges." Within our Colleges Category we may have several Groups including the College of Business, the College of Humanities, the College of Engineering and Technology, etc. The "Colleges" Category tells us what types of groups we have.
It is possible to create a hierarchy of Categories within Kuali Build as well. Meaning, our "Colleges" Category could have the Sub-category or child category of "Departments." And within our Departments Category we may have several Groups including Biology, Math, English, etc. (See Configure Category Hierarchies).
Below is a screenshot of one institution's Kuali Groups area, and it illustrates the example we just described.
Where do Roles fit in?
Roles are what allow us to assign specific tasks or permissions to users or a collection of users (see Create and Manage Roles). Roles live at the Category level and are available to all Sub-categories and Groups within that Category. Because they live at the Category level and trickle down to everything below it, that saves you precious time of having to create the same types of Roles over and over again for each Group. Roles can be re-used. It's simply who's assigned to those Roles that changes based on the Group the individual(s) belongs to.
Use Case #1 for Categories, Groups, and Roles
Let's go back to the example we discussed above with Categories and Groups. We have a Category for "Colleges." We know that each Group (meaning, each College) has the Role of Dean. We can create the "Dean" Role at the Category level, and when we go to assign the Dean within each of the individual Groups, the Role will already be there for us without our having to re-create it.
Notice in the graphic below how the Dean, Assistant Dean, and Review Board are created within the Colleges Category and that they are made available to the Groups (College of Business, College of Education, and College of Humanities) below.
Here's what it looks like in Kuali Build.
In this screenshot, we are viewing the configuration screen for the Colleges Category. Under Roles we created College Dean, Review Board, and Assistant Dean.
This screenshot shows the configuration screen for the College of Business, which is a Group within the Colleges Category. Notice that under the "Roles" section, we see the 3 Roles we created in the Colleges Category, and from here we can assign specific individuals to each of these Roles.
Use Case #2 for Categories, Groups, and Roles
Let's dive into our second example. We know that each Group within the Departments Category will have a Department Chair. If we create a "Department Chair" Role at the Departments Category level then all departments will have access to that Department Chair Role.
Notice in the graphic below how the Department Chair, Faculty, and Curriculum Committee are created within the Departments Category and that they are made available to the Groups (Biology, Math, and English) below.
Here's what it looks like in Kuali Build.
In this screenshot, we are viewing the configuration screen for the Departments Category. Under Roles we created Department Chair, Executive Committee, Faculty, and Curriculum Committee.
This screenshot shows the configuration screen for the Biology department, which is a Group within the Departments Category. Notice that under the "Roles" section, we see the 4 Roles we created in the Departments Category, and from here we can assign specific individuals to each of these Roles.