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POLICY LIBRARY

Policy Library Help

  1. What is a policy?
  2. What are University-Wide Administrative policies?
  3. How do I find a policy?
  4. What is the Standard University Policy format?
  5. How are new policies developed?
  6. How do I know if a policy was recently updated?
  7. If I need further clarification on a policy or a specific example to discuss?
  8. What should I do if I want to comment on a current policy or procedure?
  9. What are procedures?
  10. What is the role of the University Policy Office?
 

1. What is a policy?
A policy is a governing principle that mandates or constrains actions.

2. What are University-Wide Administrative policies?
University-wide administrative policies must:

  • be warranted in order to (a) implement Board of Regents policy; (b) achieve compliance with laws, rules, or regulations; or (c) address a risk to the institution that cannot be adequately addressed elsewhere;
  • apply institution-wide or campus-wide;
  • have significant impact, including but not limited to, the number of people and colleges/units impacted and the level and number of risk factors involved; and
  • promote operational efficiency and effectiveness.
Administrative policies will either require or prohibit specific actions of faculty, staff, or students, as well as external individuals who use University resources or services, as appropriate.

 

3. How do I find a policy?
Specific policies may be found a number of ways. Options include:

  • Entering a keyword in the Search
  • Browse by category (e.g., Financial, Human resources). Each category has more refined subcategories to get you to the right place, such as Travel under Financial
  • Browse the full alphabetical list of policies.

If you still need assistance, you can call the Policy Librarian at 612-624-4372 or email policy@umn.edu.

4. What is the Standard University Policy format?
A format developed by the University Policy Office that defines the various optional and mandatory parts of a policy. All administrative policies will be written using this format. By standardizing the way that policies are presented to the reader, the University hopes to make policies easier to read and understand. The "Guide to Writing University Administrative Policy" more fully describes the policy format. In addition, related documents (procedures, appendices and FAQs) also have a standard format. This format is similar to the policy format but each document type is distinguished by color and labeling. Procedures are blue, appendices are copper and FAQs are green. These colors  and labels allow each type of document to be easily identified.

5. How are new policies developed?
The policy development process includes a number of steps that help ensure that the policy targets the intended audience, is easy to understand, and complies with the criteria for an administrative policy. To begin the policy development, the policy owner must first complete a policy plan. This plan asks key questions as to the type of risk the policy will address, what is the likely hood of a negative occurrence, who is the key audience for the policy, just to name a few. Once this plan is complete, it is reviewed by our standing committee, the Policy Advisory Committee (PAC). If the committee supports the new policy, the policy owner will draft the policy and then meet with PAC again. After incorporating changes from this meeting, the policy owner submits a revised draft to be considered by the President’s Policy Committee (PPC). This is the decision-making body within the University. If approved, the final draft will then be posted on the Policy website for public comment for a period of 30 days. The comments will be gathered during this time, and may trigger some modification to the policy before it is published and communicated. This same process will be used for major updates to existing policies.

6. How do I know if a policy was recently updated?
The Recently Updated Policies list shows all policies that have been updated within the last 3 months.

7. If I need further clarification on a policy or a specific example to discuss, who should I contact?
Each policy displays a primary contact, as designated by the policy owner. In addition to that individual(s), there are more contacts listed in the contacts section that may be specific to your area of interest.

8. What should I do if I want to comment on or have suggestions for a current policy or procedure?
The policy and procedure format encourages user feedback. A link at the left side of each Policy page, as well as a text box at the bottom of the policy asks specifically for feedback. That policy feedback will be reviewed by both the policy owner and the University Policy Office, and used when considering revisions to the policy and procedures. The feedback box can also be used to ask questions.

9. What are procedures?
Procedures are steps taken to comply with a policy. How are procedures different from policies? Policies outline what is allowed and what can be done. They are governing documents. Procedures explain how to do those things and are instructional documents. Each procedure is related to at least one policy and viewing that related policy allows you to see other related procedures.

10. What is the role of the University Policy Program?
The University Policy Program supports the policy owners, the Policy Advisory Committee, the President's Policy Committee, and the designated responsible officers throughout the policy lifecycle: initiation, development, implementation and subsequent policy management. The office is responsible for the dissemination of timely and relevant information regarding new and amended policies to the broader University community, and maintaining the central repository and official web site for all current institution-wide administrative policies. The staff works closely with the policy owners to ensure compliance with the review schedule and to share policy user feedback. For questions call the University Policy Office at 612-624-8081 or m-gros@umn.edu.

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Last modified on July 1, 2013