Cornell policies are owned by a "responsible office" under the authority of a "responsible executive," who is either a university vice president, dean, or other official. In the development process, policies receive rigorous review by two standing committees: the Executive Policy Review Group (EPRG), which meets quarterly, and the Policy Advisory Group (PAG), which meets monthly.
The EPRG, a group of vice presidents and deans and other officials, approves proposals for new policies and major revisions to existing ones. Once the proposed new or revised policy is approved to move forward, the next step for the office responsible for the policy is to draft the full document, consulting with identified stakeholders and assisted by an editorial committee. The fully drafted policy is reviewed, or "reality-tested," by the PAG, comprised mainly of senior university administrators. Once the review is complete and any necessary revisions are made, policies return to the EPRG for final approval before promulgation to the university community.
For a graphical representation of this process, see our Policy Development Process Chart (PDF, 214 KB).
At all stages of this process, the University Policy Office (UPO) provides support to the responsible office by furnishing a Policy Tool Kit. This Tool Kit, detailed below, includes documents and other information used in developing policy proposals, policy drafts, and even letters to relevant stakeholders.
At the start of the policy process, the responsible office representative must prepare an Impact Statement, which will guide the Executive Policy Review Group (EPRG) as it deliberates on approving the policy's development. The University Policy Office (UPO) will assist the preparation of the impact statement, and will advise the responsible executive officer and responsible office of when the EPRG will meet to review the proposal. The responsible executive officer and responsible office representative will attend the EPRG meeting to present the policy proposal, and address any questions presented by the group.
Below is the "Impact Statement" template that must be completed and sent to the UPO to begin the policy's proposal process. Also below is a sample stakeholder letter.
Once the Executive Policy Review Group (EPRG) has approved an impact statement, which proposes a new or revised policy, the responsible office representative must begin drafting the policy. To assist in that drafting, we provide a simplified policy template, which contains all of the headings and sections of the official policy template, but not all of the more intricate formatting of the official document.
Cornell has established a standard policy document and review process to achieve consistency, appropriateness, and ease of understanding of, ease of access to, and compliance with university policies. The university charges the University Policy Office with the responsibility to manage this standard document and process and related systems, and to assist others to engage them effectively.
The official record of a university policy that is presented in a standard format or “template” to facilitate consistency, clarity, and conciseness.
The front page of the document template carries the “Policy Statement” and "Reason for Policy." Included in the rest of the document are the “Principles,” which detail the fundamental provisions or requirements of the policy; and “Procedures,” which specify the tasks required to deliver these provisions or requirements. While the Principles express the immutable purpose of the policy, the Procedures are susceptible to change, particularly when new technology or best practice emerges. Official policy documents carry the seal of the university on the first page.
University Policy 4.1, Formulation and Issuance of University Policies, affectionately referred to as the "policy on policies," sets out the process for drafting, reviewing, and approving official Cornell University policies. It also defines the roles and responsibilities of the different participants in this process, the conditions governing the release of university policies, as well as what is required for a policy to become an official university policy.
Our Policy Style Book (PDF, 146 KB) helps you learn about policy terminology, documents, writing guidelines, and templates.