College Policies & Procedures
SUNY Plattsburgh has a long tradition of policymaking. There are hundreds of academic, administrative and unit policies establishing expectations for our community. In a world of ever-increasing scrutiny and demands for accountability, effective policies are more critical than ever.
Policy & Procedure Basics
Learn more about the three types of policies established at our campus.
- What is a policy?
A policy is formally documented statement of principles and expectations used to direct decisions and guide behavior on a specific topic or area. Policies:
- Support compliance with applicable laws, rules and regulations;
- promote operational efficiency and consistency;
- reduce organizational risk; and
- enhance SUNY Plattsburgh’s mission, vision and values.
Policies must be consistent with applicable laws, rules, and regulations and be officially approve through the appropriate policy review process.
- What is a procedure?
A procedure is a written document outlining the steps necessary to implement a policy. Procedures specify how processes should be completed, and include information on who, what, when, where, and how of the policy. Procedures must be consistent with all applicable policies and may be updated by their owners, as needed, to ensure that they remain current.
When in doubt, remember — policies are guiding principles that generate action. Procedures are the steps taken to implement the policy.
- Who is authorized to create a policy?
As a member of the State University of New York (“SUNY”), SUNY Plattsburgh is subject to system-wide policies and can create our own local policies.
Within the SUNY System (“University”), all powers of the University, including the powers to adopt policy and to adopt procedures, are vested in the Board of Trustees. The board may delegate to the chancellor and others, by resolution, both the power to adopt policy and create related procedures. The board is solely responsible for approving system-wide policies.
Article IX Title A of the SUNY Board of Trustees Policies delegates responsibilities to the college president. These responsibilities include the approval of locally developed policies at campuses like ours. All institutional policies are ultimately subject to approval by the college president.
- What is an academic policy and how does it differ from an administrative policy?
An academic policy is a policy related to the student educational program and established under the responsibilities invested in the Faculty by Article X §4 of the SUNY Board of Trustees Policies and the College’s Faculty Senate Bylaws.
An administrative policy is any policy that 1) is not an academic policy as listed above, 2) is managed by an administrative office, and 3) meets one of the following descriptions:
- Ensures compliance for applicable laws, rules, and regulations;
- governs a business transaction; or
- provides for the general administration and oversight of the College
A key difference between the two is who reviews the policies. Academic policies are reviewed by Faculty Senate while administrative policies are reviewed by Executive Council. All resulting actions serve as recommendations to the college president who is ultimately responsible for approving a policy action.
- What is a unit policy and how does it differ from an administrative or academic policy?
A unit policy is a policy related to a division or department. Unit policies are limited in scope to a particular unit’s operational functions and have limited impact on units outside of the adopting unit. Unit policies and procedures may supplement but may not be less restrictive than university and college policies and procedures. Unit policies and procedures
A key difference between the two is who reviews the policies. Unit policies policies do not require approval of the college president, nor are they reviewed by Faculty Senate or Executive Council.
Another distinction is where policies are listed. Academic policies are listed in the College Catalog, administrative policies are listed in the Campus Handbook, and unit policies are maintained by the respective division or department.
Policy Development Process
- Administrative Policies
All new administrative policy proposals or amendments to existing policies must comply with the rules stipulated in the college’s Administrative Policy and Procedural Manual. Specific instructions are outlined below.
- Contact [email protected] for an official copy of the policy you are seeking to amend. In the event that a
policy that you seek to amend or draft is already being reviewed by another department,
the Administrative Policy Program Manager will notify you and ask you to collaborate
with that area to bring forward a single revision/draft.
- In the case of a new policy, notify the Administrative Policy Program Manager of your intent to draft a policy.
- Review and complete a Policy Transmittal Sheet. This document is intended to help you assess the need for a proposed policy or revision and will provide important information to committees and individuals responsible for reviewing and approving your proposal. This transmittal sheet also ensures that policies undergo the appropriate review process.
- Using the “track changes” function, make proposed revisions to the current policy.
- If a new policy draft it using the college’s administrative policy template.
- Existing policies must be revised to reflect the current format before submission. If you have questions about policy format, content or style, please contact the Administrative Policy Program Manager for assistance.
- Submit the Policy Transmittal Sheet and final draft of the policy to the appropriate dean or vice president (as applicable) who will determine whether adequate review has been completed, if the proposal is in the proper format, and indicate his/her approval.
- Once approval has been received, the appropriate vice president will forward the policy to the Administrative Policy Program Manager. The Administrative Policy Program Manager will make the determination of whether the policy is a major revision or minor revision. If the policy change is minor, the Administrative Policy Program Manager will update the Campus Handbook.
- If the policy change is a new policy, major revision, or policy rescission, the Administrative Policy Program Manager will notify the approving vice president.
- Upon final approval, new or amended polices will be posted to the Campus Handbook. The Administrative Policy Program Manager will also send a notification to the faculty and as appropriate student digests.
- Contact [email protected] for an official copy of the policy you are seeking to amend. In the event that a policy that you seek to amend or draft is already being reviewed by another department, the Administrative Policy Program Manager will notify you and ask you to collaborate with that area to bring forward a single revision/draft.
- Academic Policies
All new academic policy proposals or amendments to existing policies must comply with the rules stipulated in the college’s Administrative Policy and Procedural Manual. Specific instructions are outlined below.
- If amending a policy, contact the provost and vice president for Academic Affairs for an official copy of the academic policy you are seeking to amend. Review the policy and document concerns and suggestions for improvement.
- Contact the chair of the Faculty Senate’s Academic Policies Committee to schedule a time to discuss the proposed policy action with the committee.
- Meet with the committee to discuss your concerns and suggestions for a new or revised policy.
- As requested, assist the committee to gather information or draft a policy.
- Once drafted, the policy will be forwarded to the Faculty Senate for consideration.
- If Faculty Senate approves the proposed policy action, it will notify the president’s office for final approval.
- If approved by the president, the president's office will notify the Administrative Policy Program Manager.
- Upon final approval, new or amended polices will be posted to the Campus Handbook. The Administrative Policy Program Manager will also send a notification to the faculty and as appropriate the student digests.
- Unit PoliciesDivisions and departments have adopted their own process for review of their policies.
- Drafting a Policy
All policies must follow a standard format to ensure consistency between policies.
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 the Administrative Policy Program Manager. 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 the Administrative Policy Program Manager
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.
- 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. The Administrative Policy Program Manager will provide information related to the distribution.
- Policy — main text of the 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 the Administrative Policy Program Manager.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Where can I find [insert policy title] policy?
If you are looking for a SUNY System-wide policy, please visit SUNY’s policy website.
If you are looking for a local academic policy, please visit the College Catalog.
If you are looking for a local administrative policy, please visit the Campus Handbook.
Still having difficulty locating a policy? If you need further assistance locating a policy, please contact the administrative policy program manager at 518-564-2538 and we will be happy to assist you.
- Who writes these policies? Who is responsible for their content?
All administrative policies have a policy owner. The administrative policy program manager is responsible for assigning an owner to each policy as part of the approval process. The owner is responsible for writing content for the policy, ensuring that policies are accurate and current, and answering questions about the policy. Typically, the owner is the department that has responsibility for the area associated with the policy. The administrative policy program manager provides technical assistance to policy owners and is responsible for managing the content of the policy webpage.
Each administrative policy has an owner assigned on the specific policy’s webpage.
- I have questions about [insert policy title] policy. Who do I contact?
All SUNY Plattsburgh administrative policies have a policy owner assigned. Please contact that department for more information about the policy.
- [Insert Policy Name] is no longer accurate. What should I do?
If you are not the policy owner, please notify the appropriate policy owner. If you are the policy owner, you will need to revise the policy in accordance with the College’s policy guidelines. All updates should be made in MS Word using tracked changes. The content owner can make changes to their copy of the published policy or request it from the administrative policy program manager.
Content owners should submit all policy changes to Lauren Currie, internal control coordinator, administrative policy program manager accompanied with the transmittal below.
- What is a policy number? What does it mean?
All administrative policies are assigned a policy number by the administrative policy program manager. This number is used to identify the policy. The policy number identifies the section of the Campus Handbook, the location of the policy within that section, the number of major revision, and for procedures or forms there will be a suffix with that letter.