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Policy and Procedure Writing Guide

Drafting a Policy – Policy Format

All policies must follow a standard format to ensure consistency between policies.  Download the administrative policy template  (MS Word doc file size 34Kb)

Below is a description of the information that should be included under each major heading.

Policy title – should capture the content of the policy; should not include the word “policy.”

Reviewed by – list of all individuals and/or groups that reviewed the draft policy.

Policy number – for new policy drafts, this section should remain blank until a number is assigned by Management Services. For revisions, this number will remain unchanged.

Original issue date – for policy revisions and/or rescission, should be the date the policy was originally approved by Executive Council.  For new policies, list “new”.

Revision date – the date the draft was created

Version – to be assigned by Management Services

References – list of applicable statute, regulation, State Board policy, Executive Order, or other relevant policies.

Purpose – a brief statement of the purpose of the policy, which may include a basic explanation for the policy if not readily apparent.

Revision history – a list of dates that the policy was changed.  If it is a new policy, just let “new policy”

Units and Persons affected – to who or what does the policy apply? For example, all employees, only students, etc.

Policy – The policy statement is the governing principle, plan, or understanding that guides the action. It states what we do, but not how. The policy statement(s) should be brief, and is supplemented by the information within the rest of the document.

Policies should be outlined using the following standard.

  1. Policy – main text of the policy.

Definitions – uncommon words or words with meanings unique to higher education should be defined and listed in alphabetical order.

Responsibilities – list unit, department, college or other pertinent area responsible for administering or enforcing policy.

Procedures – includes the steps necessary to comply with the policy, with sufficient detail that end users will readily understand how to comply with the policy mandates. Procedures should be consistent with the policy section.

Forms– List all forms associated with this policy.

Appendix – Should include any other information to be linked to in the policies or other relevant information.  Examples of information that should be included are forms to support the policy, etc.

Distribution and Training – Should list means by which the policy should be distributed.  Management Services will provide information related to the distribution.

Drafting a Policy – Style Tips

1.    All policies should be drafted in MS Word, using Arial 12 pt font and 1″ margins.
2.    Policies should be clear and concise and written in the third person.
3.    Words should be selected carefully. Words such as should and may imply choice.
4.    Do not use information that may quickly become outdated such as employee names or web addresses or specific software programs names.
5.    When using acronyms, spell out the words the first time, then indicate the acronym in parenthesis, e.g., Office of Civil Rights (OCR).

For questions not addressed in the writing guide, please contact Management Services

Learn more about the Campus Handbook and administrative policies

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