Standard on Policies

Title

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Standard on Policies

Introduction

Purpose

To define the constituency and authority of Policy committees and roles, as well as the minimum acceptable baseline for the development, approval, review, publication, and decommissioning of Policies, Procedures, and Standards governed by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill ("UNC-Chapel Hill;" "University") Policy Framework.

Scope of Applicability

This Standard applies to all Units of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Standard

Policy, Standard, and Procedure Formatting, Publication, and Language Requirements

To ensure consistency of language, formatting, and a general common-sense approach to policy writing and interpretation across the University, all University Policies, Standards, and Procedures must:

  1. Use the latest templates provided by the Office of Ethics and Policy
    1. All newly-created documents must use the appropriate template.
    2. Units should make every effort to migrate legacy documents into the appropriate template during the document's next review unless the Office of Ethics and Policy grants an exemption, per the University Policy Framework.
  2. Be hosted in the University's electronic University Policy Repository.
    1. In the event of a difference in language between the version of a Policy, Standard, or Procedure hosted in the electronic University Policy Repository and any other version of the document, the electronic University Policy Repository version is the authoritative language.
  3. Use clear, concise, unambiguous language.
    1. Avoid jargon and qualifiers ("totally," "definitely," etc.).
    2. Visit the Center for Plain Language for more guidance.
  4. Be written from the perspective of the person trying to read, understand, and comply with the document.
  5. Use gender-inclusive language.
    1. Visit the UNC-Chapel Hill Writing Center for more guidance.
  6. Use active voice.
  7. Define terms.
  8. Spell out acronyms on first use.

The Office of Ethics and Policy does not require, but strongly recommends, Units format their Unit Policies, Standards, and Procedures according to these requirements.

Units may contact the Office of Ethics and Policy for assistance when drafting a Policy, Standard, or Procedure to ensure the document complies with the above requirements.

Document Review

Each Unit must follow the document review interval established in the Policy Framework.

Each Unit must also initiate revision processes for all Policies, Standards, and Procedures which the Unit issues and/or administers outside the normal document review interval when circumstances dictate. For example, a Unit must initiate a document review if a relevant state of federal law is created or revised that causes the relevant Policy, Standard, or Procedure to become out of compliance with the newly-created or revised state or federal law.

Documents with proposed Material Substantive Revisions must undergo the same review and approval processes required of new documents.

The University Policy Officer may recommend that any Policy, Procedure, or Standard (University or Unit level) undergo review or revision at any time.

Document Maintenance

Each Unit with responsibility for any University or Unit Policy, Standard, or Procedure must ensure that such documents are maintained with correct contact information, links to related documents or information, names of Units, and related non-substantive content. Non-substantive changes to text do not require a formal review or revision.

The Office of Ethics and Policy is responsible for managing University Policies, Standards, and Procedures to ensure accessibility, compliance with the General Records Retention and Disposition Schedule, and integrity of the documents. The issuing Unit is responsible for Unit Policies, Standards, and Procedures.

Decommissioning

It is possible that a University or Unit Policy, Standard, or Procedure may need to be decommissioned, rather than revised, as operational or regulatory requirements evolve.

University Policies, Standards and Procedures

Specific steps Units must follow to request their University Policy, Standard, or Procedure be decommissioned are addressed in the University Procedure for Policy Management.

Unit Policies, Procedures, and Standards

Unit documents may be decommissioned at the discretion of the Unit Head with responsibility for the document and following any process acceptable to the Unit that complies with the University Policy on Records Management.

Roles and Responsibilities

Policy Liaisons

The Office of Ethics and Policy designates Units requiring a Policy Liaison, maintains a list of those Units and liaisons, and coordinates with Unit leaders to facilitate selection of an appropriate staff or faculty member to serve as Policy Liaisons.

If designated by the Office of Ethics and Policy as a Unit requiring a Policy Liaison, the Unit must select an individual from the Unit to that role.

Policy Liaisons (or their designee) perform three primary responsibilities:

  1. Involvement in the drafting of Policies, Standards, and Procedures put forth by their Unit (both University and Unit);
  2. Communication of new/changed Policies, Standards, and Procedures affecting their Unit to the Unit more broadly; and
  3. Serving on the Policy Review Committee (PRC), a pan-University committee charged with effective vetting and review of University Policies.
Responsibilities as a PRC Member

In addition to the responsibilities outlined above, Policy Liaisons have the following responsibilities as members of the PRC:

  1. Attend all PRC meetings unless obligated to miss a meeting due to an unavoidable scheduling conflict;
  2. Read all Executive Summaries provided by the PRC Chair prior to each PRC meeting;
  3. Submit all proposed new University Policies created by their Unit to the Ethics and Policy Office; and
  4. Submit all current University Policies created by their Unit with proposed Material Substantive Revisions to the Office of Ethics and Policy.

The Policy Liaison is responsible for coordinating with the Office of Ethics and Policy regarding management of University Policies, Standards, and Procedures administered by the Policy Liaison's Unit, including timing of changes, ensuring adequate review, incorporation of feedback, and maintenance of documents.

Policy Review Committee

The function of the PRC is to ensure coordination between Units and bring multifaceted review to governance documents to ensure their effectiveness and quality through the use of expert review and feedback. The PRC does not have authority to approve or refuse approval of Policy documents.

The PRC is the default group for reviewing and coordinating University Policies across the University. The University Policy Officer may elevate a University Policy for the Executive Policy Approval Committee (EPAC) review if, after consultation with PRC, the Office of University Counsel, the Office of Institutional Integrity and Risk Management, University Communications, or other relevant stakeholders, the University Policy Officer deems the University Policy to be high-risk and/or have the potential to generate significant media attention. The Unit responsible for creating and administering the University Policy in question may also, in coordination with the University Policy Officer, elevate the University Policy to EPAC based on the criteria listed above.

Units may, at their discretion, submit Unit Policies, as well as University or Unit Standards or Procedures, to the PRC for review.

Duration of PRC Comment-and-Review Period

The PRC should have at least one (1) week to review and provide feedback on a draft University Policy, Standard, or Procedure.

Ideally, Policy Liaisons will have one (1) week to review the document(s) prior to the PRC meeting. The goal is to ensure PRC liaisons have the opportunity to formulate thoughtful, substantive feedback prior to the PRC meeting, and to solicit similar feedback from their Unit stakeholders prior to the PRC meeting.

This one-week time-frame does not apply to University Policies passed by the University Chancellor in accordance with the "Expedited Policies" section of the University Policy Framework. However, any University Policies passed under the "Expedited Policies" section of the University Policy Framework must be reviewed at the next PRC meeting and complete the regular one-week review time-frame prior to the PRC meeting.

Units requiring Policy Liaisons include the following:

Units Required to Send Policy Liaisons to PRC
Unit Unit
Adams School of Dentistry Office of University Counsel
Athletics Department School of Education
University Communications School of Government
College of Arts and Sciences School of Information and Library Science
Eshelman School of Pharmacy School of Law
Finance and Operations School of Medicine
Friday Center School of Nursing
Gillings School of Global Public Health School of Social Work
Human Resources and Equal Opportunity and Compliance Student Affairs
Hussman School of Journalism and Media Summer School
Information Technology Services The Graduate School
Kenan-Flagler Business School University Development
Office of Internal Audit University Libraries
Office of the Provost Vice Chancellor for Research
Office of the Registrar  
Office of Scholarships & Student Aid  
Office of Undergraduate Admissions  

In addition, the Employee Forum, Faculty Council, and Student Government are invited to provide Policy Liaisons. Other University entities may be invited to provide Policy Liaisons to the PRC at the discretion of the PRC Chair.

Executive Policy Approval Committee

The Executive Policy Approval Committee (EPAC) is composed of a subset of the Chancellor's Cabinet, including: Human Resources and Equal Opportunity and Compliance; Finance and Operations; Office of University Counsel; Office of the Provost, and other representatives as designated by the Chancellor.

When tasked by PRC, EPAC consults with the Unit Head, the University Policy Officer, the Office of University Counsel, the Office of Institutional Integrity and Risk Management, University Communications, or other relevant stakeholders.

After this consultation, EPAC may take one of three actions:

  1. Send the University Policy in question back to PRC for additional review, along with a list of specific topics or areas of research to consider;
  2. Authorize the approval of the University Policy; or
  3. Elevate the University Policy to consideration by the Chancellor's Cabinet.

EPAC may elevate a University Policy for the Chancellor’s Cabinet review if, after consultation with the University Policy Officer, the Office of University Counsel, the Office Institutional Integrity and Risk Management, University Communications, or other relevant stakeholders, EPAC deems the University Policy to be extraordinarily high-risk and/or likely to generate extraordinarily significant media attention.

Chancellor's Cabinet

When tasked by EPAC, the Chancellor's Cabinet coordinates with the Unit Head, the University Policy Officer, the Office of University Counsel, the Office Institutional Integrity and Risk Management, University Communications, or other relevant stakeholders.

After this consultation, the Chancellor's Cabinet may take one of three actions:

  1. Approve the University Policy;
  2. Revise the University Policy and send the Policy back to the Unit Head for implementation; or
  3. Reject the University Policy.

Additional Processes

Above and beyond the minimum Standards and processes defined here and in the University Procedure for Policy Management, the Office of Ethics and Policy and Policy Liaisons may opt to add reviewers, public meetings, or other ad-hoc processes as they deem appropriate to ensure that all Policies, Standards, and Procedures adopted are well-considered and reflect the aspirations and mission of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Unrepresented Units

University Units with no designated Policy Liaison may designate any full-time staff member responsible for Policy management to work with the Office of Ethics and Policy. The Office of Ethics and Policy and PRC must facilitate and assist these Units as needed to ensure access to the Policy process and coordination with University Policy activities.

Interpretation Guidance

The Office of Ethics and Policy is directed to bring clarity, accessibility, and common-sense to Policy management processes at all times. Interpretation of the Policy Framework, this Standard, and related Procedures by the University Policy Officer, Policy Liaisons, and Issuing Officers should be made in any reasonable way that results in pragmatic, common-sense outcomes, and does not result in change in document purpose or effect without appropriate consideration and approval by officers of the University within the scope of their responsibilities.

Definitions

Please refer to the University Policy Framework for definitions.

Related Requirements

University Policies, Standards, and Procedures

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Policy Framework

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Procedure for Policy Management

Contact Information

Policy Contact

Office of Ethics and Policy
123 W. Franklin Street, Chapel Hill, NC 27599
Phone: 919-445-8364
Email: policy@unc.edu
Website

Important Dates

Revised version approved by:

Jen DeNeal January 13, 2021
Associate Director, Office of Ethics and Policy

Revisions approved by:

Kim Strom-Gottfried, PhD June 28, 2019
Director, Office of Ethics Education and Policy Management

Approved by:

Kim Strom-Gottfried, PhD January 07, 2017
Director, Office of Ethics Education and Policy Management

100% helpful - 1 review

Details

Article ID: 132083
Created
Thu 4/8/21 9:23 PM
Modified
Thu 7/29/21 5:01 PM
Effective Date
If the date on which this document became/becomes enforceable differs from the Origination or Last Revision, this attribute reflects the date on which it is/was enforcable.
01/25/2021 12:00 AM
Issuing Officer
Name of the document Issuing Officer. This is the individual whose organizational authority covers the policy scope and who is primarily responsible for the policy.
Issuing Officer Title
Title of the person who is primarily responsible for issuing this policy.
Administrative Director
Last Review
Date on which the most recent document review was completed.
01/25/2021 12:00 AM
Last Revised
Date on which the most recent changes to this document were approved.
01/25/2021 12:00 AM
Origination
Date on which the original version of this document was first made official.
01/07/2017 12:00 AM
Responsible Unit
School, Department, or other organizational unit issuing this document.
Ethics and Policy Office