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.
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.
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 or outside the university, a shift in university values or priorities, changes in best practices, concerns raised by the university community, an incident on campus or a variety of other ways.
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:
A policy that does not meet all of the above criteria is a departmental, office or unit policy.
Departmental, office or unit policies:
University policies must not be independently published or republished on departmental websites; departmental websites must link to the UB Policy Library.
The responsible office prepares the University Policy Proposal under the direction of the responsible executive.
The University Policy Proposal helps formulate:
University legal counsel will review the University Policy Proposal:
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.
Good policy and procedure documents:
Before you start writing:
Draft the policy using the University Policy Template.
The University Policy Template:
Procedures are a set of instructions, steps or methods for the implementation, enforcement or administration of a university policy. Typically, procedures are:
|Adress major operational issues ||Detail a process|
|Have widespread application||Have a narrower focus|
|Are non-negotiable, change infrequently||Are subject to change and continuous improvement |
|Are expressed in broad terms ||Are a more detailed desciptions of activities|
|Are statements of what and why ||Are statements of how, when and who |
The responsible office provides the draft policy, procedures and related documents to stakeholders (including 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.
Effective Stakeholder Engagement
Stakeholders are those individuals/work areas who may affect or be affected by a university policy. Stakeholders are likely to have distinct needs and levels of involvement, often with diverse and possibly conflicting interests and concerns.
Stakeholder engagement is about including the relevant people at the right time and in the most appropriate manner. All university policies have stakeholders with varying degrees of influence, involvement and interest.
When executed effectively, stakeholder engagement can be used to:
When identifying stakeholders, it is important to think broadly to ensure all relevant stakeholders are recognized. Consider the following:
Stakeholder engagement is an iterative process and should occur throughout policy development.
Stakeholder engagement is most effective when:
Some individuals may find it difficult to engage or circumstances may hinder them from fully contributing to the policy development process because of a lack of time or gaps in knowledge. However, it is important that the right people participate in the policy development process. Every stakeholder's perspective is valuable and will inform the end result.
Policy and Operational Excellence Office
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.
Policy Review Group
Subject matter experts and other members of the responsible office 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.
The responsible office revises the policy based on feedback from the Policy Review Group. Policy and Operational Excellence posts the revised draft in 30-Day Review, an opportunity for the campus community to review and comment on new and revised policies. The responsible office considers the feedback received and revises the draft policy, as appropriate.
Policy and Operational Excellence forwards the final policy draft to university legal counsel for review and makes any recommended revisions.
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 Policy and Operational Excellence:
Policy and Operational Excellence
420 Crofts Hall
The effectiveness of a policy depends on the extent of its reach and how well it is understood and followed. A communication plan helps achieve these objectives.
Policy and Operational Excellence:
Policy announcements can be:
The responsible office:
The responsible office reviews their policy every three years, or more frequently as circumstances require. A comprehensive policy review is needed to determine if:
When changes are needed, the responsible office follows the process to revise a UB policy.