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Develop and Maintain a UB Policy

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You, as the policy writer, have the important task of reaching your audience with a policy that is clear, easily read and provides the right level of information. If users understand a policy, they are more likely to follow it and incorporate it into their daily work.

Develop Your Policy In 16 Steps

University policies align operations, set behavior expectations and communicate roles and responsibilities. Follow these steps and use UB’s resources and tools to successfully research and write a document that meets the criteria for a UB policy.

1-2. Plan the Policy

Step 1: Identify a Need for a University Policy

A unit or individual determines the need for a university policy and obtains the agreement of at least one responsible executive (i.e., provost, vice provost or vice president) to take ownership of the policy.

Policy issues may emerge through federal or state legislation, State University of New York (SUNY) or Research Foundation (RF) policies, trends within a university unit, changes in best practices, an incident on campus, or a variety of other ways.

Step 2: Know the Definition of a University Policy

A university policy is a directive that states the university’s official position on a particular issue. University policies endure across time and administrations and connect the university’s mission to individual conduct. University policies:

  • Mandate actions or constraints for members of the UB community
  • Have broad application throughout the university
  • Help achieve compliance with applicable laws and regulations
  • Support the university’s mission
  • Promote quality and operational efficiency
  • Help manage institutional risks
  • Support equity and integrity in practices across the university
  • Require presidential review and approval

A policy that does not meet all of the above criteria is a departmental, office or unit policy. A departmental policy may be more restrictive, but cannot be more permissive than a university policy and cannot be contrary to a university policy.

University policies must not be independently published or republished on departmental websites; departmental websites must link to the UB Policy Library.

3-4. Complete the Policy Proposal

Step 3: Complete the University Policy Proposal

The responsible office prepares the University Policy Proposal under the direction of the responsible executive.

The University Policy Proposal helps formulate:

  • The need for a proposed university policy
  • Whether the risk is sufficient to warrant the resources needed for policy development, implementation and maintenance
  • Initial university legal review and guidance

Step 4: Consult With University Legal Counsel

University legal counsel will review the University Policy Proposal:

  • For compliance with existing UB, SUNY and RF policies
  • For compliance with applicable federal and state laws
  • To identify potential legal risks that might arise from the use of a particular word, term, phrase or from any procedures included in or missing from the policy
  • For general legal obligations
  • To improve legal defensibility
  • To ensure that it is in the overall best interest of the university

5-6. Assemble a Writing Group

Step 5: Assemble a Policy Writing Group

Engage a group of individuals who are subject matter experts, policy users, stakeholders and others who will research and write the policy and procedures and provide feedback.

  • Define roles and expectations for members of the Policy Writing Group
  • Establish a plan and timeline for completion of the policy

Step 6: Know the Characteristics of a Good Policy Document

Good policy and procedure documents:

  • Consider why the user needs the information
  • Give the user the knowledge and security that the right things are done the right way
  • Are written assuming the reader has:
    • basic knowledge of the campus
    • novice knowledge of the specific policy and procedure being described
  • Use simple, clear, concise language – avoiding jargon, legalese and overly technical descriptions
  • Begin with a strong, clear policy statement
  • Are general enough to apply to unanticipated situations
  • Differentiate between policy, background, procedure and other sections within the policy
  • Include procedures and guidelines as a link to a departmental website
  • Provide accurate contact information
  • Are reviewed regularly and updated as needed

7. Conduct Policy Research

Step 7: Research and Gather Information

  • Determine if the proposed policy is needed in response to a:
    • Campus incident or problem
    • New or revised State University of New York (SUNY) policy
    •  New or revised Research Foundation (RF) policy
    • New or revised state or federal regulation
    • Changes in customer needs, best practices, university culture, social trends
    • Another reason
  • Review the University Policy Library to determine if existing policies address the issue
    • Could a related policy be expanded to include the information?
    • Could a related policy help inform the policy under consideration?
    • Cross reference rather than repeat information
  • Review policies issued by SUNY, other SUNY campuses and other universities
    • Other campuses may have found new ways of addressing the issue
    • Other policies may help focus your policy development, provide a good starting point and suggest clear language
  • Ensure that the university policy is in compliance with UB, SUNY and RF policies
    • A campus policy may be more restrictive, but cannot be more permissive than a UB, SUNY or RF policy
  • Identify current processes, problem areas and the potential impact of any changes

8-9. Write the Policy

Download the MS Word Template

Step 8: Prepare a Draft Policy

Draft the policy using the University Policy Template.

The University Policy Template:

  • Provides a framework for developing the policy and organizes content in a consistent manner
  • Is structured so that the user can focus on the aspect of policy relevant to their decision

Contact Pam Lojacono in the Policy and Operational Excellence Office for advice and guidance at any time during the policy development process.

Step 9: Draft the Procedures, Guidelines, Forms, Instructions and Department Web Pages

Draft:

  • procedures required to implement the policy
  • guidelines, if additional information or explanation is needed
  • forms, templates and related instructions required by the new policy
  • department web pages that will include the procedures, guidelines, forms and instructions; the policy includes a link the departmental website

10-12. Obtain Policy Reviews

Step 10: Obtain Stakeholder Input

The responsible office provides the draft policy, procedures and related documents to constituents, stakeholders, vice presidents, deans and senior administration, as appropriate, who can offer a broad perspective on the content and application of the policy. After deliberating the feedback, the responsible office updates the draft policy and related documents.

Step 11: Obtain Feedback fron the Policy and Operational Excellence Office and Policy Review Group

The responsible office forwards the draft policy, procedures and related documents to Policy and Operational Excellence (POE). POE reviews the draft for clarity, coherence, structure, format, expression and other editorial aspects.

Members of the responsible office and other subject matter experts, as appropriate, attend the Policy Review Group (PRG) meeting to discuss the policy, procedures and related documents and respond to questions. The PRG reviews the draft for understandability, practicality, implementability and potential impact

The responsible office considers feedback, researches questions, and revises the draft policy, procedures, and related documents, as appropriate.

Step 12: Obtain Final Legal Approval

Depending on the initial guidance received from university legal counsel in the University Policy Proposal, the responsible office may be required to forward the final draft policy to university legal counsel for a second review.

The responsible office updates the final draft policy based on guidance received from university legal counsel, then forwards the final draft to Policy and Operational Excellence.

13. Obtain Presidential Approval

Step 13: Obtain Presidential Approval

Policy and Operational Excellence prepares the policy for presidential signature and forwards to the responsible executive.

The responsible executive signs the Presidential Signature Routing Slip and submits the final policy document to the president for approval.

The president reviews the final policy and upon approval, signs and returns it to the responsible executive.

The responsible executive returns the original, signed policy to:

        Pamela Lojacono
        Policy and Operational Excellence
        420 Crofts Hall
        North Campus

14-15. Implement the Policy

Step 14: Communicate the New Policy

Policy and Operational Excellence:

  • publishes the approved policy in the UB Policy Library
  • works with the responsible office to issue an announcement to the university community

Policy announcements can be:

  • posted to various list servs (e.g., all employees; deans, directors, department heads; chief financial officers; department specific)
  • discussed at department staff meetings
  • posted on the Administrative Services Gateway

Step 15: Conduct Education and Training

The responsible office:

  • implements education and training activities to achieve compliance with the policy
  • updates their website to include the procedures, guidelines, forms and instructions related to the policy

16. Maintain the Policy

Step 16: Review the Policy

The responsible office reviews their policy every three years, or more frequently as circumstances require. 

When changes are needed, the responsible office follows the process to modify a UB policy.

Contact an Expert

Pamela Lojacono

Policy and Operational Excellence

Phone: 716-645-6070

Email: plojacon@buffalo.edu

Policies, Forms, Templates

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