The policy development process is established as a framework for proposal, development, implementation, review, and archive of St. Cloud State University policy and procedure. As this policy development process is implemented over time, it is the goal of the Policy Office that all policies and procedures will be proposed, drafted, reviewed, revised, maintained, published, and archived in the Policy Document Management System (also known as PDMS or the Policy Hub). Once a unit, division, department, or program’s policies have been incorporated into this process and uploaded into the PDMS, future policies or revision to existing policies for that group must be developed using the PDMS. Units, divisions, departments or programs that have not been incorporated into the new PDMS process may continue to develop policies and procedures consistent with past practice, appropriate to their responsibilities, and in accordance with the established Policy Hierarchy.
Policy and Procedure
Policies and procedures are enacted to direct the interaction between the University and its constituents and community members. Policies are written statements that translate the university’s mission, values and obligations into daily actions by making explicit to the university community the behaviors for which its members will be held accountable. University policies exist within a broader legal environment (see Understanding the Policy Hierarchy section below).
Procedures are written statements of specific processes to implement policy. Procedures bridge the gap between policy and practice. St. Cloud State University may develop written procedures to implement it's own policy, Minnesota State policy, state or federal law, or contractual obligations.
Understanding the Policy Hierarchy
Policies at each level of the policy hierarchy shall comply with the laws or policies at all levels above it. To maintain consistency and uniform application, policy should be developed and applied at the broadest institutional level. At St. Cloud State University, policies designated with the policy type “All University” will provide the broadest level of implementation. When proposing a policy it is important to first determine if the policy can or should be written as an All University policy.
Unique circumstances or specific requirements of a department or unit can be written as an exception within an All University policy or procedure and should be whenever possible. For example, the Student Participation and Medical Consultation Procedure is classified as All University, but there is an exception for Education Abroad Medical Concerns which has specific requirements involving the Center for International Studies.
When it is not possible to capture the necessary exception within an All University policy because it is too detailed or the policy is only applicable to a specific department or group of departments; Departmental, Functional Unit and Unit Specific Policies can be developed as long as they comply with all policies or laws higher up the hierarchy structure.
Overview of Development Process
A visual snapshot of the policy and procedure process can bee seen in the Policy Process Flow Chart (pdf) and is described in further detail below:
- When a proposal is received in the PDMS the content is reviewed by the policy office. It may be necessary for additional information on the content to be gathered from the proposer, by getting input from those with expertise, or through general research.
- Once the rationale, scope, and basic concept of the proposal are outlined, the policy office, consulting the President as needed, determines if the proposal should be developed further.
- If it is determined that the proposal will not move forward at all or will not move forward until a later date, a member of the Policy Team will enter the appropriate Reject reason in the PDMS.
- If a proposal moves forward, and there is a need for urgent implementation, the President can authorize an expedited process which may not include all of the following steps. When urgent implementation is not required, the Policy Team determines the appropriate policy type and recommends a collaborative group to work on policy development. For policy determined to be academic in nature, this may be the Academic Policy Working Group.
- The collaborative working group, sometimes referred to as stakeholders, may research best practices, review peer policies, consult legal or other experts, and will develop a policy draft and any other associated documents such as procedures, guidelines, and forms.
- When the collaborative working group determines the proposed draft is developed to an appropriate level it will be presented by a member of the Policy Team or the Responsible University Officer or designee to the President for a decision. The President may consult with others prior to determining next steps.
- Once the President has determined the proposed draft is sufficiently developed it will generally be shared publicly (including with Collective Bargaining Units) for comment. Policies implemented due to federal regulations or other required legal compliance will generally not be shared publicly for comment.
- At the end of the 4 week public comment period, all comments and concerns will be reviewed and, if necessary or appropriate, the draft will be amended. Subsequent drafts are returned to the President for review. Once no further drafting is needed, the President will approve the policy.
- When a draft is approved by the President it will be shared publicly and published electronically as a policy.
Overview of Review and Maintenance Process
- When policy documents are approved and adopted a review schedule is established.
- When a policy or associated document is scheduled for review, or it is determined that a policy needs to be reviewed outside of the scheduled review date, the Policy Office will notify the Responsible University Officer. If only minor revisions are required, the Policy Office has the authority to make corrections to policy at any time without notifying the Responsible University Officer or going through the full revision process, comment period, and public sharing as described below.
- The Responsible University Officer will either determine that revisions are needed or decide that no changes are required during this review cycle.
- If it is determined that no changes are necessary, a new review date is set.
- If revisions are recommended, the Responsible University Officer and a collaborative working group, often including the policy Owner and the contributors who last worked on the policy, will draft the needed changes.
- When the collaborative working group determines the proposed revisions are developed to an appropriate level the draft will be presented by a member of the Policy Team or the Responsible University Officer or designee to the President for a decision. The President may consult with others prior to determining next steps.
- When the President determines the proposed draft revisions are sufficiently developed the draft policy will ordinarily be shared publicly (including with Collective Bargaining Units) for comment.
- If a reviewed policy is shared for public comment, at the end of the 4 week public comment period, all comments and concerns will be reviewed and, if necessary or appropriate, the draft will be amended. Subsequent drafts are returned to the President for review. Once no further drafting is needed, the President will approve the revised policy.
- When the revisions are approved by the President the policy will ordinarily be shared publicly and will be published electronically replacing the previous version.
- The previous version will be archived within the PDMS.