1. Identify Need for a New Policy or Revision of an Existing Policy
The need for a new university policy or revision of an existing policy may arise for a number of reasons, including mandates from external governing bodies or concerns raised by members of the university community. A member of the university community may bring such concerns to the appropriate governance committee(s) or request that a responsible office or policy manager consider the perceived need for a policy or policy revision. The policy library coordinator is available as a resource to help university community members identify the office or person best positioned to address a perceived need, as well as whether the need might already be covered in an existing policy.
To determine if a new policy or revision is needed, the following criteria should be considered:
- The need or concern is not already covered by an existing policy (at the university or a higher level, such as UW System) or could not be effectively covered with a change to an existing policy. Where plausible, it is generally preferable to expand a relevant existing policy rather than create a new policy.
- The policy or change is necessary to ensure compliance with federal or state laws, rules, or regulations, as well as UW System policies or other legitimate authority.
- The policy or change is necessary to support the university’s mission or goals and aligns with institutional values.
- The policy will promote equity, consistency, efficiency, and effectiveness.
- The policy will mitigate or manage significant institutional risk.
2. Draft and Edit the Policy
The policy manager for a specific university policy is responsible for overseeing the process for revising that policy and carefully considering a variety of perspectives and feedback by conferring informally with colleagues or through formal consultation with governance or advisory groups. The policy manager adheres to the established format, layout, and defined terms for policy management. A best practice is to use the policy drafting template available on the policy library website.
3. Review/Revise/Retire a Policy
Substantive review of all existing university policies should occur at regular intervals; an individual policy should be reviewed periodically to ensure currency with governing laws, rules, regulations, policies, and technologies. Review must be appropriate to the type and nature of the policy and sufficient to comply with governing laws, rules, and regulations. The responsible office and policy manager, in consultation with the policy library coordinator, shall set the appropriate review cycle for policies under their purview. The review process should invite relevant stakeholders (such as business users and others regularly affected by a policy) to participate in policy review.
Types of revisions:
- Proposed modifications to policy, which are substantive revisions that affect the meaning of the policy or are otherwise material, follow the regular policy development and approval process.
- Minor revisions, which do not alter the meaning of the policy (e.g., typo corrections, minor edits, changes to contact information, forms, procedural elements, or related information), may be made by the responsible office and/or policy manager and published after policy library coordinator review.
Retiring or rescinding a policy follows the relevant steps of the policy development and approval process, as does replacing the policy, where applicable.
Review, revision, and retirement actions should be noted in the history section of the policy. The policy library coordinator will archive any versions of policies that are revised or rescinded.
The policy manager is responsible for obtaining appropriate legal review in consultation with the vice chancellor for legal affairs. The policy manager is responsible for consulting with the policy library coordinator when unsure who should review a draft policy.
Prior to final approval of a new or revised policy, it is expected that the policy manager will engage in robust conferral and consensus-building, including—where appropriate—consultation as part of shared governance referenced in Wisconsin statutes and Board of Regents policy. UW–Madison’s shared governance process affords multiple opportunities for inviting and receiving comments and feedback on draft policies from the university community. Groups and individuals who will be affected by a policy, including those who must comply with the policy, end-users, and those charged with implementation and compliance, should be informed of new and modified policies and have the opportunity to submit feedback during the development process. The policy manager can work with the policy library coordinator to make the draft policy available for review and comment and to help identify and communicate to key stakeholders to invite their participation in a designated comment period.
5. Approve the Policy
The final step is formal approval by the appropriate delegated approval authority. It is best practice for the approval authority to be one individual position. Other groups or individuals who have concurred may be noted separately. If a policy manager is unsure as to who is the approving authority for a given university policy, they may consult with the policy library coordinator.
6. Publish and Communicate the Policy
All university policies will be published by the policy library coordinator in a central location (the policy library) accessible by all members of the university community, including faculty, staff, students, and visitors.
The responsible office works with the policy library coordinator to create a dissemination plan for communicating to the university community about a new or revised policy and ensuring that relevant key users are specifically targeted with appropriate communications.
Units may, if they choose, curate web pages that include policies relevant to their unit’s functioning—for the convenience of their constituents; in such cases, the web pages should link the policies listed directly to the policies in the policy library. However, only policies published in the searchable policy library are considered official university policies. Content published elsewhere (such as summary or interpretation of policies) is not considered university policy, regardless of intent or language.