Guidelines for Developing, Revising, and Approving College Policies
Title: Guidelines for Developing, Revising, and Approving College Policies
Approved By: President’s Executive Cabinet
Date Approved: July 1, 2016
History: Effective Date: July 1, 2016
Additional References: CMC Bylaws
Responsible Official: Office of the President
CMC’s mission is to educate students for thoughtful and productive lives and responsible leadership and to support faculty and student scholarship. The realization of this important mission depends heavily on the clarity, consistency, and effectiveness of The College’s policies. The effectiveness of institutional policy derives in part from the quality of the process utilized in its creation, ongoing study, and adaptive modification.
These Guidelines for Policy Development and Approval outline the process for developing, approving, and revising CMC’s institutional policies, which are defined and organized into categories in Paragraph IV, below. By developing these Guidelines, the College seeks to align expertise with decision-making responsibilities, enhance operational efficiencies, adapt best practices, produce the foundation for effective decision-making, and comply with applicable laws and regulations. These Guidelines also help to ensure that policies are easily accessible and understandable, widely disseminated, consistent, and reviewed and approved appropriately.
All units of the College
A “College Policy” is a policy with broad application throughout the College which enhances the College’s mission, promotes operational efficiencies, reduces institutional risk, or helps ensure coordinated compliance with applicable laws and regulations, and is approved in accordance with the procedures stated in Paragraph IV. The President’s Executive Cabinet (or such other group as the President may designate) may develop criteria for distinguishing a College Policy to be approved under Paragraph IV from an Administrative or Departmental Policy that may be issued under Paragraph IX. Exhibit A sets forth selected criteria for distinguishing College Policies from Administrative or Departmental Policies. In the event of conflict between a College Policy and an Administrative/Departmental Policy, the College Policy supersedes.
College Policies are organized by the following categories:
- Governance / Legal: Policy and procedure documents relating to institutional governance; institutional compliance and legal processes; and, standards of ethical behavior.
- Academics / Research: Policy and procedure documents that relate to the College’s mission of teaching and research. Subjects include, but are not limited to, faculty governance; appointments, promotion, and tenure; academic freedom and faculty due process; teaching responsibilities; faculty research and development, including research misconduct; academic leaves; and, matters related to academics and the curriculum.
- Human Resources: Policy and procedure documents that relate to both academic and non-academic workplace issues at the university. Subjects include, but are not limited to, employment policies of general application to faculty and staff; faculty and staff employee benefits; procedures for resolving staff concerns; and, staff recruitment, hiring, and separation practices.
- Financial Management: Policy and procedure documents that relate to the College’s financial operations. Subjects include, but are not limited to, sponsored and non-sponsored accounting procedures; travel and other reimbursement procedures; and financial irregularities.
- Facilities, Transportation, and the Environment: Policy and procedure documents relating to the oversight and management of College’s buildings, grounds, transportation regulations, and the environment in general.
- Information Technology: Policy and procedure documents that relate to the College’s information technology services and resources. Subjects include, but are not limited to, the privacy, security, and responsible use of information technology resources.
- Student Affairs: Policy and procedure documents that relate to student life. Subjects include, but are not limited to, the Basic Rule of Conduct and the Student Conduct Process; residence hall and apartment policies; and, vehicles, parking and bicycles on campus. NOTE: Policies and procedures related to compliance with key federal and state laws, such as Title IX and other civil rights matters, the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crimes Statistics Act, the Drug Free Schools and Communities Act, and the Higher Education Opportunity Act are included under Governance / Legal. Policies and procedures related to academic matters are included under Academics / Research.
- Safety and Emergency Management: Policy and procedure documents that relate to the protection of the members of the College’s community and its campus, including, but not limited to: environmental health and safety; emergency management; and, campus safety and security.
President’s Executive Cabinet.
The President’s Executive Cabinet serves to direct CMC’s overall compliance efforts and to insure their alliance with CMC’s mission and values.
Responsible Official [Committee].
A Responsible Official may include the President, any Vice President, or any faculty or staff member or committee delegated by the President or a Vice President to develop a College Policy. If no Responsible Official has been assigned to a pre-existing College, the Vice President responsible for that area of operations is the Responsible Official.
A College Policy may be initiated or revised by a Responsible Official or Committee (hereinafter, the “Responsible Official”). The Responsible Official oversees the drafting and development process and may designate others to assist in this process. To the extent appropriate, the Responsible Official also oversees the ongoing review and update process for College Policies under their purview to ensure compliance with current laws, regulations, and best practices, and seeks review and approval of any material changes to College Policies by the Executive Cabinet. NOTE: The process for approving “non-material” changes to College Policies is described below in Paragraph VI.
As part of the policy development or revision process, Responsible Officials are expected to engage and consult with relevant stakeholders across the College. For example, if the College Policy would significantly affect academic issues or other issues of interest to the faculty, the Responsible Official should consult with the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty, or his or her designee, to develop and implement a consultation process with relevant faculty committees, other faculty representatives, etc. In addition, whenever a proposed policy raises potential financial or legal questions, the Responsible Official should also consult with the Business Office and the Office of the General Counsel.
At the conclusion of this process, the Responsible Official then prepares a brief policy proposal, which should not normally exceed 2-3 pages. The proposal should highlight the background of, justification for, and likely impact of the new policy, along with a summary of the principles and procedures involved. In addition, the proposal should briefly review the consultative process that was followed, and should highlight any key recommendations, concerns, or other feedback that was received, and how these matters were ultimately addressed in the proposed policy.
The Responsible Official then presents the proposal and the proposed policy to the Executive Cabinet for review. The Executive Cabinet will review the proposal and proposed policy and may then vote to approve the policy, or may refer the proposal back to the Responsible Official with such requests or instructions as it determines is appropriate (e.g., conducting additional outreach, additional legal review, etc.).
In appropriate circumstances, the Executive Cabinet will present a College Policy to the Board of Trustees for approval. Exhibit B sets forth selected criteria for identifying College Policies that shall require approval by the Board of Trustees.
Wherever practical, College Policies should be reviewed and approved in accordance with the guidelines set forth herein, but nothing in this policy limits the authority of the Board of Trustees, the President, or the faculty as authorized in the Bylaws to issue, amend or revoke a College Policy. This policy is intended as a set of guidelines and does not establish required procedures that must be followed for a policy to have legal effect.
Individuals may consult with the Office of the General Counsel at any stage in the process or for help interpreting College Policies that have previously been adopted.
College Policies should be written in clear language and should avoid using “legalese” so that all members of our community can easily understand them. In addition, all College Policies should incorporate the following standard information:
- The Policy’s title, purpose, and scope;
- The Policy’s date of approval, effective date, and cycle for review or renewal, if appropriate;
- Any existing Policy which the new or revised Policy will amend or supersede;
- The Policy’s Responsible Official
Exhibit C provides a sample template for a College Policy.
Upon approval, Responsible Officials are responsible for adding a College Policy to the College’s Policy Library and in relevant College publications. The Policy Library is publicly available and updated annually, during the summer. Whenever possible, Responsible Officials should plan for new and revised College Policies to become effective with the next edition of the Policy Library.
As described in Paragraph IV, the Responsible Official oversees the ongoing review and update process of College Policies under their purview on a timely basis to ensure compliance with current laws, regulations, and best practices.
If and when a Responsible Official determines that there is a need to update or amend a College Policy and that such proposed revision does not represent a material change to the scope, purpose, or financial impact of such Policy, then the Responsible Official may present such proposed non-material revision or amendment to the Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer.
The Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer will review the proposed non-material revision and may decide to approve the revision, or will forward it to the Executive Cabinet for approval.
The President may approve an interim College Policy in situations where the President determines in good faith that a College Policy must be established in a time period too short to permit the completion of the procedures described above. An interim College Policy will remain in force for up to six months from the date of issuance, unless such period is further extended by the President.
These Guidelines apply to new College Policies developed and issued after the effective date of this document. The Vice Presidents should review existing policies in their areas of responsibility that would be considered College Policies if developed hereafter and should post such policies on the College’s Policy Website after approval from the Executive Cabinet.
Vice Presidents, Deans, and other administrative units may promulgate other policies within the scope of their areas of responsibility (“Administrative or Departmental Policies”), provided that such Administrative or Departmental Policies shall not conflict with College Policies. Administrative and Departmental Policies should be disseminated and maintained in an appropriate manner that makes them easily accessible, such as a link to “Departmental Policies” on such Department’s website.
Selected criteria for deciding whether a policy is an Administrative or Departmental Policy that may be issued under Section X rather than a College Policy that must be approved under Sections VI
The following criteria are not binding, but each refers to a situation or describes a type of policy that may not require central approval but may instead be considered as an Administrative or Departmental Policy that is appropriate for approval under Section X.
- The policy applies to an individual department, unit or function and does not have institution-wide significance.
- The policy may relate to a subject with institution-wide application, but it is an internal operational policy intended principally for employees in a particular department or unit.
- The policy may need to be changed quickly and/or on a regular basis because of changing circumstances, such as changes mandated by government regulations, and does not otherwise have a material impact on the administration of the College (e.g., routine employment compliance related policies).
- The policy relates to a subject that is technical or requires specialized training or experience to develop and implement (e.g., tax, immigration).
Criteria for Deciding Whether the Board of Trustees Should Approve a College Policy
In deciding whether a particular College Policy should be approved by or reviewed for information with the Board of Trustees or a committee of the Board, the Executive Cabinet should consider the following factors. These criteria are not binding, but each refers to a situation where review and/or approval by the Board or a Board Committee may be appropriate.
- The policy is required by law to be approved by the governing board (e.g., compliance plan, non-discrimination policies, Red Flags).
- The Board approved an earlier version of the policy (e.g., intellectual property, conflicts of interest, faculty teaching load).
- The policy relates to the fiduciary duties of board members (e.g., executive compensation policy, conflicts of interest of trustees, underwater endowments).
- The policy relates to a subject that is addressed in the By-laws and/or reserved by the By-laws to the Trustees (delegation of authority, appointment of the President and other officers of the College, appointment of tenure and tenure-track faculty).
- The policy deals with issues of important reputational significance (service on boards and outside activities by College officers, use of the College’s name).
- It is important to demonstrate to external or internal constituencies that the College has approved the policy at the highest level (prohibition on engaging in political activities, institutional conflicts of interest).
- The subject of the policy is one that is discussed with the Board on a regular basis (significant compliance and institutional risk management policies).
- The policy relates to an important governance or oversight function (this Policy, investment policy, certain development policies relating to endowments and naming).
College Policy Template
Category: [Governance/Legal; Academics; Research; etc.]
Approved By: [President’s Executive Cabinet]
Date Approved: [July 1, 2016]
History: Effective Date, Revised Date
Responsible Official: [Business Office]
[Brief, 1-2 paragraph summary of the mission / purpose of the policy.]
Departments Covered by this Policy
[All units of the College]
[Principles/Procedures in One or More Sections]