Tools Library

Tools Library

FAQ Policy

What is a university policy?

A university policy is a document that (1) states the university's position on a particular issue, and (2) includes procedures for compliance. A university policy is defined by all of the following criteria:

  1. It has broad application throughout the university
  2. It helps achieve compliance with applicable laws and regulations, promotes operational efficiencies, enhances the university's mission, or reduces institutional risks
  3. It mandates actions or constraints and contains specific procedures for compliance
  4. The subject matter requires university president and/or executive officer review and approval for policy issuance and major changes

If a policy fits these criteria, it is a university policy. If it does not, it is a departmental, office, or unitinfo-icon policy. For more information on the policy process, see University Policy 4.1, Formulation and Issuance of University Policies.

Does the University Policy Office (UPO) actually write policies?

At its inception, the University Policy Office (UPO) was charged with the responsibility to identify and standardize all university policies. In doing so, the office's staff found policies in all forms: some written, some as memos compiled in notebooks dated back many years, some existing only by word-of-mouth, and some that needed development from beginning to end. Standardization or development of a policy requires consultation with individuals from all parts of the university, such as administrators, business managers, vice presidents and other officers, deans, University Counsel, the University Ombudsman, the Judicial Administrator, etc.  In meetings and consultation with these different groups, the UPO gathers information and assists in the crafting of a cohesive document that is complete, comprehensible, and easy to use.

What kinds of policies does the UPO assist to write?

The UPO helps units develop policies that have application throughout the university, as represented by the seven University Policy Library volumes. These policies concern subjects as diverse as harassment, fraud, operating practices, ethics, and smoking, and they affect faculty, students, staff, volunteers, and visitors.

Who approves these policies?

As a policy is standardized or developed, it goes through a rigorous review and approval process. The responsible executive writes an impact statement, which is approved by the Executive Policy Review Group (EPRG). Then the editorial process takes place, during which the policy is "fleshed out." The Policy Advisory Group (PAG) then approves the policy, making any necessary changes. The EPRG is the final approving body, putting its stamp on the document. The entire process often takes six months or more.

When will all of the policies be written?

When the UPO was first established, the UPO consulted with the university vice presidents and deans to accomplish the initial charge of identifying all university policies that do or should exist. A list of these policies, the University Policy Library Table of Contents, was compiled. It contains nearly two hundred policies. Because of the large number of potential policies and the nature of the process, it is very difficult to predict an "end date."

How can I get a copy of a policy?

The policies that have been issued through this department are available to read and print from our Web site. Policies that have been standardized are accessible in PDF. If you need information on a policy listed in the Policy Library Table of Contents that has not yet been standardized by the UPO, contact the responsible office for that policy.

Can I make suggestions to improve a policy?

Absolutely. Feedback about policies may be sent to the UPO. Typographical or other simple errors that you submit will be changed immediately. Suggested changes of a more substantive nature will be introduced to the responsible executive, and revision to the policy will take place when and if appropriate.

Where do I call if I have a question on a policy?

Almost all of the policies issued through the UPO have a contacts section directing you to the appropriate office for answers to your questions. For policies that do not have a contacts section, or if you are unsure of where to call, contact your department's administrative office or the responsible office for that policy.

Where do I send questions or comments about this website?

Send comments or suggestions about this website to the UPO.