Establishing University Policies
Executive Vice President for University Academic Affairs
Chief Policy Officer
Office of the Exec. VP for University Academic Affairs
Indiana University formally approves official university policies through an established process, publishes those policies in a consistent format, and maintains official university policies in a central, readily accessible policy website. Responsible administrators (as defined below) and their offices must comply with the procedures in this policy for drafting, approving, revising, distributing, maintaining, and withdrawing university policies.
The standard template, as formatted for posting on the university policy website, should be used for all university policies.
Authority for approving policies
University policies may be adopted and posted only with the approval of a university vice president whose responsibilities include the subject of the policy; by the president within delegation; or by the Board of Trustees. Academic policies shall be adopted and posted in accordance with the principles of shared governance of Indiana University.
Development and review period
A university-wide policy should be based on a determination that its requirements are necessary to support a university mission or goal; promote consistency, efficiency, and effectiveness; mitigate or manage significant institutional risk; or assure compliance with federal or state laws, rules, or regulations.
Policies should impose the minimum burden, including time and resources to comply and should be consistent with achieving the stated objectives.
Groups that will be affected by a policy, including those that must comply with the policy and those responsible for assuring compliance, must be informed, and have the opportunity to submit feedback. Affected groups may be consulted through existing organizations such as job categories, schools, or committees. The faculty as a whole is represented by the University Faculty Council; individual notices are not required.
Unless circumstances necessitate an expedited process (see paragraph 5 below), policy drafts must be posted to the university policy website for a minimum of 30-days for review prior to final approval.
As part of the policy development process, policy drafts must be reviewed by the Policy Advisory Council (PAC) for assistance with disseminating policies, recognizing groups that will be affected, and identifying issues and intersections with other policies. Policies with broad impact should also be reviewed by the President’s Cabinet.
Included with the policy draft should be brief descriptions of the following:
The need for the policy (if not already explained in the Reason for the Policy section);
The roles and responsibilities for administration and compliance;
How and for whom the policy changes workloads;
How the policy complies with the minimization of workloads principles as stated in paragraph 3 above.
Responsible offices may put an interim policy into place in situations when a university policy must be established in a time period too short to permit the completion of the process delineated in this policy. An interim policy will remain in force for up to one year from the date of issuance.
Responsible offices may forego the review period and approve a policy via an expedited process when necessary. Special situations where this is likely may include a change in federal or state law, a significant and immediate financial opportunity, or a major institutional risk.
Faculty, staff and students are responsible for knowing, understanding, and complying with policies that relate to their position, employment or enrollment at the university. Responsible offices are responsible for following the policy development and implementation process established by this policy, communicating their policies effectively, reviewing and updating their policies regularly, and monitoring their policies for compliance and effectiveness.
Academic and administrative units (including campuses, schools, and departments) may develop local policies, whether or not a corresponding university policy exists. Local policies must be compliant with any applicable university policy. In the event of a conflict between a university-wide policy and a campus, school, or departmental policy, the university policy will prevail.
Review, revision, and withdrawal
Policies should be reviewed by the responsible office no later than every three years from the effective date or the last update or review, to ensure that the information in the policy remains accurate and that the policy is still necessary and effective in its current form. Revisions that affect the substance or scope of the policy should follow the policy development and approval process; however, minor revisions and changes in contacts, forms, or related information may be made by the responsible office and posted without review. If a policy needs to be withdrawn, that information should follow the policy development and approval process along with any replacement policy. Review, revision, and withdrawal actions should be noted in the history section of the policy. The office of policy administration will archive any versions of policies that are revised or withdrawn.
A staff member in the office of policy administration will serve as the policy facilitator in order to receive comments, concerns, and questions about policies. The policy facilitator will direct feedback and questions to the responsible office and policy contact and follow up to ensure that addressed response is received. The policy facilitator will not be involved in determining policy applicability to individual cases, but will instead generally track which policy areas receive feedback.
Indiana University establishes university-wide policies to further the university's mission; promote consistency, efficiency, and effectiveness; and mitigate or manage significant institutional risk. Responsibility for creating university policies is derived from the authority of Board of Trustees, including delegated authority to the president and university leadership to manage the institution, and to comply with federal and state laws, rules, and regulations.
University policies must be thoroughly reviewed, maintained, and made available to the university community to promote compliance and accountability. The present policy provides for a consistent, transparent, and inclusive development process; an identified authority for approving policies; a mechanism for regular review of policy needs, compliance, and effectiveness; a consistent policy format; and an accessible electronic policy library.
Drafting and review of policies
The responsible office may draft a policy using its own process or with the assistance of the office of policy administration. The policy draft should be entered into the database format in the web test section (without being published online), and can be circulated for review and comment using a web address link to the draft.
The office of policy administration can assist with presenting the policy draft to the PAC for suggestions concerning language, level of detail, readability and potential impacts on other university policies or practices. PAC members may solicit input from the organization or campus they represent. After receiving the input from the PAC, the responsible office will update the policy draft as needed.
The final policy draft must be posted on the university policy website for at least 30 days to provide a review and comment period. Any comments received through the policy website will be forwarded to the responsible office. Following the review period, the policy may be revised or posted as final.
Posting and disseminating policies
Once the policy is posted as final, the final version will be shown as a New Policy. The policy web address will be sent to the PAC for assistance with dissemination. In addition, the responsible office should work with the office of policy administration to determine the targeted policy users and the most effective method for policy dissemination.
Review and maintenance of policies
Policies should be reviewed by the responsible office at least every three years to assess the ongoing need and effectiveness. The office of policy administration will notify responsible offices when policies are due for review. The responsible offices should respond whether a policy will remain in its current form or whether a revision will be considered. Any reviews should be added to the history section of the policy. The office of policy administration may assist in determining if a revised policy draft should be posted for review. (See paragraph 7 above.)
University Policy – A guiding or governing set of rules or principles, formally approved, to further the conduct of university affairs. This policy encompasses only university-wide policies, which should be distinguished from procedures or guidelines and from campus, school or departmental policies. Only those policies approved in accordance with this policy will have the force of university policy.
Policy Advisory Council (PAC) – The Policy Advisory Council is a standing committee of University administrators convened by the Office of the Executive Vice President for University Academic to consult with university offices on proposed and draft policies to consider whether they are necessary and aligned with institutional mission, goals, and priorities; that policies are concise, consistent in format and scope, and easy to understand; to identify constituencies and other policies that may be affected; and to make recommendations to the responsible offices. The PAC also assists with dissemination and sharing feedback regarding policies. The PAC meets on a quarterly basis, and consists of the director of policy administration (chair), and representatives of each vice president, chancellor and provost.
History – The history section should include the initial approval date. Reviews or revisions to the policy should be noted in this section, as well as any policies that have been withdrawn or replaced in the process.
Policy Contact – The policy contact is generally a person who is the subject matter expert designated by the policy owner to be the first point of contact to answer policy questions and assist in policy interpretation.
Policy Statement – The policy statement describes what the policy is including core provisions, prohibitions or requirements.
Policy Facilitator – A staff member of the office of policy administration will serve as the coordinator for complaints, questions or feedback about policies.
Procedures – Procedures are a series of consecutive action steps related to a policy that specifies how a particular process should be completed. Procedures include information on who, what, when, and where of the policy. Procedures that are lengthy or involved may be maintained outside of the policy database, but linked to in the procedures section.
Reason for Policy –The reason for the policy is a statement that describes the need for and objective of the policy and the general approach taken by the policy, as distinct from the actual requirements of the policy.
Related Information – Related information may include links to other policies, relevant statutes or other information that may assist the policy user.
Responsible Administrator – The responsible administrator may be the Board of Trustees, the President, the University Faculty Council, and/or an executive designated by the president as responsible for the high-level oversight of administrative policies that fall within their areas of responsibility. The responsible administrator has approval authority for policies; is accountable for the substance of the policy and compliance with administrative policies under his or her jurisdiction; and delegating to and overseeing the performance of the responsible office. Depending on the scope of the subject matter, a policy may have more than one responsible administrator.
Responsible Office –The responsible office is assigned by the responsible administrator and is tasked with the operational administration of a policy and its related procedures, processes, instructions, and forms. Depending on the subject matter, a policy may have more than one responsible office.
Sanctions – When appropriate, a policy may include sanctions with implications for the individual or office in the case of non-compliance with the policy.