Policy Development Guidance
What is the difference between a University policy and University procedure?
A University policy is approved by the Board of Trustees and reflects the BOT’s principles for University governance and sets direction for institutional decision-making and practices.
A formal University procedure serves to implement a Board policy that may address a specific policy topic, provides detail to implement the policy and may be administrative in nature. A procedure is approved by the University President.
When is a University policy or procedure necessary?
Characteristics of a University policy include, but are not limited to:
- Support the University’s mission, values or core function
- Ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations, particularly if legislation requires Board of Trustee involvement
- Address matters that utilize significant University resources
- Address auxiliary operation of the University
- Apply broadly across the institution
- Endure across time and administrators; change infrequently, and set the course for the foreseeable future
- Promote quality and, operational efficiency, and provide guidance for managing the institution
- Manage institutional risk
Questions to consider when determining whether a new policy should be created or an existing policy should be revised or rescinded:
- Are there new mandates (state or federal law, case law, rule changes) that require that a policy change or a new policy be written?
- Can this policy be eliminated? Is it still needed? This question is particularly relevant if the policy is at least ten years old.
- Have changes occurred in best practices, student or employee needs, University culture or social trends to suggest policy changes or the need for a new policy?
- Can this issue or matter be integrated with or addressed by other policies, procedures, or guidelines?
- Does it conflict with another University policy or procedure?
- Are terminology, office names/numbers/websites/hotlinks, and cross references current and correct?
If you are uncertain whether a policy action is necessary, contact the General Counsel’s Office for a consultation.
Policy Review and Development Process
Assessment of Current Policy:
When an existing policy is scheduled for review, first try to determine whether the policy and/or underlying procedure should be revised, rescinded or simply renewed.
- Renewal. Board of Trustee action is not required for a simple renewal if it is not modified or revised.
- Rescission. Board of Trustee action is required.
- Revision. Board action is required.
Make a Policy Review Plan:
- Assemble a review and writing team. Involve individuals with topical expertise.
- Identify issues. Issues may emerge from newer University trends or processes within a VP unit, through federal or state legislation or regulation, changes in best practices, as a result of an incident on campus, or in other ways.
- Review best practices. Review policies, procedures and processes from other Ohio public higher education institutions and SSU’s benchmark institutions.
- Review applicable state and federal laws and other applicable University policies and procedures. (Check to make sure the policy does not and will not conflict with other University policy.)
- Identify Affected University Constituencies. What groups are subject to the policy? It may be beneficial to inform a governance group or other structured group of scheduled review or plan to enact new policy. Get initial input early before drafting begins. This is particularly important with review of an existing policy and/or procedure.
Solicit input from key stakeholders and governance groups, if applicable:
- Include all University units that have responsibilities in the policy/procedure implementation.
- Identify and include affected University governance groups and other affected constituencies. Ask what groups are subject to the policy.
- Get input for initial assessment and draft review.
- Use policy and procedure templates.
- Are terms adequately defined and is terminology consistent, both within the policy and with other existing policies?
- Do the policy sections sufficiently flow from one section to the next?
- Is the responsible office’s role clear?
- Are expectations clear to the affected constituencies?
- If individuals are required to comply, use terms such as “will” and “shall”/ avoid “should” to prevent ambiguity.
Implementation and Communication
- Policies and procedures are posted on the Policy web page upon approval.
- The responsible office (identified in policy and procedures headers) is responsible to ensure that the new and newly revised policy and procedure is effectively communicated to and shared with the applicable constituencies.
- The responsible office is responsible for monitoring compliance.