Policy Guidelines

Policy, procedure, or guideline?

Policy: In this context, policy is a statement of mandatory actions or outcomes – exactly what is required and why.

Procedure: The required means of complying with the policy, or the steps that must be taken to achieve the end goal of the policy.

Guideline: Best practices, recommendations, or the way things are ordinarily done.

Best Practices

  • Choose words carefully to ensure the policy says exactly what is intended.
  • Use the names of offices or departments. Avoid specific titles or the names of individuals.
  • Refer to systems and such in general terms whenever possible. (E.g., “student information system” rather than Banner; “learning management system” rather than Canvas.)
  • Remember that you are an expert in your area, but users of the policy may not be. Keep the general university community in mind as you review existing policies or write new ones.
  • Procedures/Guidelines should be high level. Detailed procedures and supplemental information can be posted on your webpage or maintained internally as appropriate.
  • When referring to University Policies, other written material such as web pages, departmental policies, and handbooks should link directly to the policy site rather than copying in the information. This will ensure the most current version is readily available to the reader.

Prompts for Policy Review

Does this policy reflect current regulations, needs, practice, and intent?

  • Is it adequate?
    • Have there been issues or are issues emerging that should be addressed via changes to this policy?
    • Have there been any changes in university operations, laws, regulations, accreditation standards, or other related external standards?
    • Does it align with best practices in higher education?
  • Are details current?
    • Processes
    • Terminology
    • Names of offices
    • Websites/links
    • Contact information
  • Is it aligned to university values as expressed in the mission statement?
  • Does it address all appropriate populations? (for example – all types of students at all sites and in all programs/modalities, or a subset of students)

Do changes to this policy impact operations or other policies?

  • Are there other individuals or offices who should be consulted?
  • Is there any conflict with other policies or current practices?