University-Level Policy Development

Applicable Employee Classes:Original Policy Date:Date of Last Review:Approved by:
Students, faculty, and employees December 1, 2021 December 1, 2021 Dr. T. Dwayne McCay, President

Policy Owner: Office of the President

Policy Purpose

University-level policies govern operations, clarify institutional expectations, and support the university mission. They also reduce risk and articulate required compliance with laws, regulations, and accreditation standards. This policy requires that university-level policy follow a defined process for creation, review, revision, recommendation, and maintenance of new and existing university-level policies that is clear, consistent, and accessible.

Policy Scope

This policy applies to all university-level policies and those who develop, approve, manage, and maintain them, excluding the faculty handbook.  

Policy Statement

New university-level policies and revisions to existing policies must be recommended, developed, approved, and maintained using the established university procedure described in this policy. Policies must conform to the policy template.

Approved University Policies are published on the policy website and take precedence over any policies established at a lower organizational level. Policies may not conflict with one another and must adhere to all legal, regulatory, or compliance requirements. 

The policy owner must review each policy at least annually. Minor editorial revisions to policies may be submitted as needed. Policies must be approved by the appropriate university policy authority.

Procedures/Guidelines

Process Initiation and Drafting

New Policy Development

  1. When a new university-level policy need is identified, the prospective policy owner sends a recommendation to oir@fit.edu. OIRE and the policy team verify that the policy does not already exist and forward the recommendation to the appropriate policy authority.
  2. The policy authority reviews the recommendation, decides how to proceed, and tasks the appropriate area with drafting of the policy as required.
  3. The assigned policy drafter consults others who may be impacted, drafts the policy using the policy template, and sends it to the policy owner academic or administrative unit head for review.

Existing Policy Review/Revision

  1. Policy review is initiated annually and at other times as needed.
    • OIRE sends each policy to the appropriate unit(s) for review annually.
    • Review may be requested at other times as warranted by institutional, regulatory, or societal changes.
  2. The policy owner or other designee of the policy authority reviews the policy and consults others who may be impacted.
  3. The policy owner or other designee of the policy authority drafts the recommended revised policy using the policy template and sends it to the policy owner academic or administrative unit head for review.

Review and Approval for All New Policies and Policy Revisions

  1. The policy owner unit head reviews and endorses the policy and sends it to oir@fit.edu.
  2. OIRE and the policy team:
    • Check for adherence to standards and the template
    • Coordinate additional review with the policy owner and other offices if needed, to include Office of Compliance and Risk Management review of legal, compliance or risk-related elements, SACSCOC liaison review of accreditation implications, Provost’s office review of academic matters, and any others deemed necessary.
  3. The policy owner unit head incorporates and/or confirms any changes resulting from additional review and returns the updated revised policy draft to oir@fit.edu.
  4. OIRE and the policy team send the final draft to the policy authority via DocuSign for review and approval.
  5. Upon policy approval, OIRE and the policy team inform the policy owner.
  6. The policy owner communicates the policy to appropriate individuals and groups, prioritizing notification to those affected by any immediate impact to operations and owners of relevant documents (catalog, handbooks, websites, etc.) and processes.
  7. OIRE posts the approved policy in the policy system and sends a monthly email to faculty and staff summarizing new or revised policies.
  8. OIRE prompts the policy owner for annual review and update.

Additional helpful guidelines are available on the policy site.

Definitions

Guideline: Recommendations, best practices, and clarifications.

Minor editorial revision: A change that does not alter policy intent, objective, or ownership, and which does not significantly change procedures. Examples include spelling corrections and updates to titles, departments, or addresses.

Policy: A statement of mandatory actions or outcomes.

Policy authority: The President, Provost, and Chief Financial Officer are the university policy authorities.

Procedure: The required means or steps to comply with the policy.

University-level policy: Those policies necessary for the university to fulfill its mission, operate efficiently, mitigate risk, and/or comply with legal and other external requirements. These policies apply broadly across the institution, not solely to a particular academic or administrative unit, and may impact multiple operational or academic areas.

Compliance Reference

N/A

Responsibilities

The policy owner implements the policy and related communications. They monitor for effectiveness and compliance, review the policy at least annually, and recommend updates, revisions or new policies as needed.

The academic or administrative unit head submits each recommendation for a new policy or substantive policy revision on behalf of the unit to the appropriate policy authority or their designee for consideration. They may be charged with drafting the policy recommendation or revision.

The President, Provost, and Chief Financial Officer are the university policy authorities. Policies and substantive revisions are drafted at their discretion and are presented as recommendations for their consideration.  Policies and policy changes must be approved by the appropriate policy authority.

The university faculty are the university’s subject matter, academic content, and curriculum experts.  Policies in areas of faculty purview such as curriculum, academic requirements, graduation requirements, and other academic policies are developed in consultation with and with recommendation from appropriate academic units, committees, and/or bodies.

The Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness coordinates policy development and maintenance and monitors for SACSCOC accreditation implications.

The Office of Compliance and Risk Management reviews policies that could impact compliance or risk and obtains legal advice when needed. 

Enforcement

Policies which do not follow the standard template and process will not be approved.