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Policy 101

1 Introduction

1.1 The Appalachian State University Policy Manual provides (1) a single site to facilitate the location of policies and procedures ("policies") that govern university personnel and operations and (2) a uniform format and reference system to make access and reference to policies convenient. The Office of General Counsel maintains copies of approved policies and assigns a number and subject heading to all policies once they have been approved by the Chancellor or Board of Trustees. The website has a powerful search engine to enable any user to easily locate subject matter of interest in the Policy Manual. A policy template provides a standardized format for creation and revision of policies. This policy describes the elements of the template and provides guidance on how to draft clear and user-friendly policies.

2 Scope

2.1 This policy applies to all policies published in the Policy Manual.

3 Definitions

3.1 "Board of Trustees" or "Board"

means the Board of Trustees of Appalachian State University.

3.2 "Chancellor’s Cabinet"

means the Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor, the Vice Chancellor of Finance and Operations, the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, the Vice Chancellor for University Advancement, the Chief of Staff, the Director of External Affairs and Community Relations, the Director of Human Resource Services, the Director of Athletics and the General Counsel.

4 Policy and Procedure Statements

4.1 Uniform Template

4.1.1 A uniform policy template has been established to provide guidance to drafters of policies and uniformity to the policy website. The title is written at the top of the template along with a number and general subject category assigned by the Office of General Counsel.

4.2 Format

4.2.1 New policies should be drafted in numerical outline format, following the policy proposal template. Section titles and subtitles should be used in the body of the text where appropriate. Do not attempt to force formatting on fonts or paragraphs, since the website publication of policies will be maintained with a consistent font and section division. Policies should be written in active voice. In general, every sentence should have meaning and relate to the heading or sub-heading under which it is found.

4.3 Headings and Sub-headings

4.3.1 Use headings and sub-headings that let the reader know the content of each section. Policies can be either simple or complex, depending upon the substantive matters that are addressed. The following section headings should be included in a proposed policy:

  1. Introduction
  2. Scope
  3. Definitions
  4. Policy and Procedure Statements
  5. Additional References
  6. Authority
  7. Contact Information
  8. Effective Date
  9. Revision Dates

4.3.2 Some headings may not be applicable, depending upon the subject matter and scope of the policy. If so, the section heading should be set out in the policy and annotated as "Not applicable" or "N/A", or "None." Further explanation of the substance of each section is set forth below, unless the heading is self-explanatory.

4.3.1 Introduction

Describes the relevant background and reasons for the policy, and a brief statement about what the policy will address. Some examples of the purpose or reason for a policy are the following:

  1. To comply, or explain how to comply, with State or federal law or University of North Carolina (΄UNC‘) policy;
  2. To ensure accountability and/or explain or describe expected behavior; and
  3. To recognize and/or balance the legitimate interests/expectations of various university administrative/academic units or constituencies;

4.3.2 Scope

Addresses who or what is covered by the policy. For example, who must observe the policy and follow its procedure; who must understand the policy to do their jobs. Most policies have a primary audience and a secondary audience. The policy should focus directly on the primary audience in writing the policy. If there are two primary audiences, the policy should be clear in each section which audience is being addressed. Any locations, persons, or organizations that are excluded or excepted from application of the policy or any funding sources or job classifications that are excluded from the policy should be identified. This provision may also include information about special circumstances that affect only a few people or circumstances that occur infrequently.

4.3.3 Definitions

Defines any technical language or words used in a special sense.

4.3.4 Policy and Procedure Statement(s)

Policies create administrative structures, set priorities, assign responsibility, delegate authority, establish accountability, and define reporting requirements. Policy statements contain substantive provisions that create rights, privileges or duties. They essentially state what conduct and activities are prescribed or prohibited, and why. Depending upon the complexity of the subject matter, this may be a simple paragraph or may contain various numbered sections with subtitles. Procedures identify the ΄who, how, when, and where‘ of university operations.

4.3.5 Additional References

Other information relevant to the policies, such as guidelines, forms, charts, and handbooks

4.3.6 Authority

Relevant statute, regulation, UNC Policy Manual provision or other authority

4.3.7 Contact Information

Title and phone number of official or office responsible for implementation of or monitoring compliance with policy

4.3.8 Effective Date

4.3.9 Revision Dates

4.4 Consistency with Governing Authority

4.4.1 Policies must be consistent with all applicable governing authority. If a policy is to implement a federal or state law, a policy of the Board of Governors or the Board of Trustees, or a directive from the Office of the President, the introduction should note this and the remainder of the policy should be consistent with the higher governing authority.

4.5 Essential Subject Matter

4.5.1 Policies

Policies should be concise, understandable and contain only material essential to the policy. Brevity and clarity should be sought whenever possible.

4.5.2 Historical Information

Historical information may be useful, but it should not be in the policy. Such information may be in a task force report or other explanatory material that can be hyperlinked in the Additional References section of the template to provide the reader with additional information.

4.5.3 Statutes, Regulations, UNC Policy Manual or Board of Trustees Policies

Do not repeat language from statutes, regulations, Board of Governors’ policies or Board of Trustees' policies unless it is necessary. Instead, reference the law, regulation or policy (with a hyperlink when appropriate) and include it in the "Authority" section.

4.5.4 Webpages, Forms, Handbooks and other References

Unit webpage or other information relating to the policies, such as guidelines, forms, charts, and handbooks, should not be incorporated into the body of the policy, but should be listed and hyperlinked in the Additional References section following the text of the policy. ASU policies and forms and policies in the UNC Policy Manual may be hyperlinked within the body of the policy. References and hyperlinks to policies within the body of the policy should be to the title of the policy (not the http address). References to forms should be to the title of the form and the office or title of the person from whom they can be obtained since all forms may not be available electronically. No other hyperlinks may be made within the body of the policy. Other hyperlinks may be inserted in the Additional References section. References to persons to contact within the body of the policy should be by official title only.

4.6 Official Policies

4.6.1 Official policies of Appalachian State University are those approved by the Board of Trustees and certified by the Secretary or Assistant Secretary of the Board, or approved by the Chancellor. Copies of official policies are maintained in the Office of General Counsel. The Board of Trustees may adopt policies on subject matter within its purview on its own initiative or upon the recommendation of the Chancellor. In the absence of an express delegation of authority by the Chancellor, all other policies must be approved by the Chancellor or the Chancellor’s designee.

4.7 Proposals

4.7.1 Any person may propose a new policy or revision of an existing policy by submitting a proposal in accordance with the uniform template linked to this policy. The proposal may be submitted to the contact identified in an existing policy; an employee’s supervisor; a vice chancellor or other member of the Chancellor’s Cabinet. The recipient of the proposal shall review the proposal and make a recommendation concerning its approval to the recipient’s next-level supervisor.

4.8 Review

4.8.1 A Cabinet member who receives a proposal for a new or revised policy may consult with individual personnel and one or more advisory bodies for recommendations on adoption or revision. Following review at the Cabinet member’s discretion, the Cabinet member will submit the proposal and that official’s recommendation to the Chancellor for action on the proposal.

4.9 Approval

4.9.1 If the Chancellor approves a policy proposal within the Chancellor’s purview, the Office of General Counsel will prepare a copy of the policy for the Chancellor’s signature. If the subject matter of the policy requires Board of Trustees approval, the Chancellor may present the proposal to the Board at the Chancellor’s discretion together with the Chancellor’s recommendation on the proposal. Upon approval by the Board of Trustees, the Board’s Secretary or Assistant Secretary shall certify a true and accurate copy of the policy and transmit it to the Office of General Counsel for filing and publication. The General Counsel is authorized to revise approved policies to correct typographical and grammatical errors, update webpage links, and otherwise make policies consistent with State and federal laws and regulations, and policies adopted by the Board of Governors of The University of North Carolina.

4.10 Publication

4.10.1 Upon receipt of a certified copy or original signed by the Chancellor, the Office of General Counsel shall assign a number and subject matter title, if needed, and publish the text of the policy in the Policy Manual.

5 Additional References

Policy Proposal Template

6 Authority

  1. G.S. 116-11(13) and (14)
  2. G.S. 116-33 and 116-34
  3. The UNC Policy Manual, Chapter 100.1, Sections 403, 502C and 502D, and Appendix 1 - Delegations of Duty and Authority to Boards of the Trustees

7 Contact Information

Office of General Counsel (828.262.2751)

8 Original Effective Date

9 Revision Dates