St. Cloud State University Policies & Procedures

Frequently Asked Questions

Who has authority to adopt policies and procedures?

  • The President of the University has authority delegated by the Minnesota State Board of Trustees to adopt university policies and procedures. A policy must be approved by the President to be effective.
  • The President of the University may delegate authority to develop policy and/or procedure. 

Why do we have policies and procedures?

Policies are to:

  • provide a framework for institutional integrity.
  • comply with federal, state, and local laws.
  • comply with Minnesota State policies and procedures.
  • adhere to accreditation requirements.
  • promote consistency, efficiency, and effectiveness.
  • support or advance institutional mission or vision.
  • manage institutional risk.

Procedures are to:

  • provide explicit directions or instructions regarding implementation of a policy.
  • provide consistency in the implementation of policies.
  • clarify lines of responsibility and authority.

What should be included in a Policy or Procedure?

Policy

A policy is a written statement that translates 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 to account.

The policy should be stated clearly and concisely, using as few words as possible and the language should reflect the intent of the policy. Wording should be precise and specific. Jargon, abbreviations, philosophical, and unenforceable statements should be avoided in policy and procedures.

Procedure

Procedures are related to the accomplishment of a task or goal. The actions outlined are mandatory for a specific situation. A greater amount of text is typically needed to explain procedures.

The requirements and steps of the procedure should be well developed and explained. Explanation of procedures will require various scenarios and situations be explained and addressed. If procedures are required to be completed in a specific order, that should be noted as part of the procedure content and the order identified. Procedures should outline and explain the process. Procedures should not be used in place of training on and understanding of work practices.

When is it appropriate to develop policy and/or procedure?

It is appropriate when:

  • the policy or procedure supports the University’s mission and strategic positioning goals.
  • the policy or procedure impacts an individual or group that is part of the University population. 
  • specific instruction or guidance are necessary for consistent implementation across units.

It is NOT appropriate to develop procedures when:

  • an institutional policy prohibits certain actions.
  • an action or behavior is prohibited by law.
  • an action or behavior is part of a standard office/department work practice. (For example, how the Maintenance Department determines which lots to plow first when it snows.)

Are all policies and procedures created equal?

  • Similar to Federal and State Laws, local ordinances or city codes, institutional policies and procedures can be developed at different levels.
  • The President can delegate authority to administrative areas, academic areas, functional units, and departments (academic and work function) to develop and review policies and procedures.
  • Policies and procedures are developed in a structural hierarchy. Those policies and procedures developed further down the structure may provide greater specificity to a particular university population, but they must still be in agreement with the policies in place higher up the structure.    

How are policies and procedures proposed?

  • New policies may be proposed by anyone with a valid STAR ID and password. To access the proposal form, click the “Propose” button under the left menu of the Policy website, log into the Policy Document Management System, and click the “Propose Policy” link from the left menu.
  • Members of the St Cloud State University community without a STAR ID may send policy proposal suggestions to policy@stcloudstate.edu.
  • See Policy Development Process for details of next steps following a proposal.

How can policies and procedures be changed?

  • St. Cloud State University is committed to periodically reviewing and updating policy and procedures on an established review cycle.
  • Occasionally it is necessary to review a policy or procedure outside of the scheduled review process. Policies at St. Cloud State University may be changed at any time without prior notice for appropriate reasons. Changes may include, but are not limited to, minor edits or formatting, or revisions required by new laws, policies, or needs of the university.  Minor edits, such as a spelling correction or adding a definition, will be immediately implemented by the Policy Team.  Revisions that are substantial in nature will go through an expedited review process.
  • To raise concerns regarding a particular policy or procedure or make suggestions for changes, users with a valid STAR ID can use the “Public Comment” box located in all approved and published policy. Users without a valid STAR ID can contact policy@stcloudstate.edu to share ideas or concerns.

What happens when a policy is no longer needed?

A new law, the elimination of a program, a change in leadership or strategy, or any number of other factors can cause a policy to become obsolete or unnecessary. When it is determined that a policy is no longer needed, it can be removed from public view and retired in the PDMS.

Terminology

Policy Document Management System (aka PDMS or Policy Hub)

The Policy Document Management System (aka PDMS or Policy Hub) is a centralized repository designed for the proposal, collaborative development, and display of policy, procedure, and supporting materials. This robust repository also includes a mechanism for providing feedback and is used to maintain, review, revise, and archive policy and procedure.

Policy Type

At St Cloud State University policies and procedures are organized as either All University, Academic, or Other.

  • All University policies and procedures are those which impact all or a substantial number of members or groups of the university community. These policies and procedures are the highest level institutional policies and procedures.
  • Academic policies and procedures are those which mainly impact academic operations, or a substantial number of student or faculty members, or the services and support provided to academic operations for students or faculty.
  • Other policies and procedures including department, functional unit, or unit specific policy – is defined as policy that does not fit well into either of the other two policy categories and is specific to management, operation and administration of smaller, individual units or areas, or groups of units or areas within the university.

Responsible University Officer

The responsible university officer is an executive designated by the president as responsible for the high-level oversight of policies and procedures that fall within the area of responsibility of that person in the organizational structure of the institution. The responsible university officer is always a member of President’s Council. Depending on the scope of the subject matter, a policy may have more than one responsible officer.

Policy Owner

The policy owner is the person employed in the functional position responsible for the operational administration of the policy and related procedures, processes, instructions, and forms. Depending on the scope of the subject matter, a policy may have more than one policy owner. The policy owner may also be the same person as the responsible university officer.

Policy Contact

The policy contact is generally a person in a frontline position who frequently interacts with the operational intent of the policy and procedure, and who is a subject matter expert designated by the policy owner. The policy contact should be the first point of contact to answer policy and procedure questions and to assist in policy interpretation. The policy contact may be the same person as the policy owner. Depending on the scope of the subject matter, a policy may have more than one policy contact.

Rationale

The rationale describes the reason for the policy and procedure (i.e., mitigates institutional risk, implements a Minnesota State Board policy, supports institutional mission and values, meets legal or regulatory requirements, etc.). During development and implementation, the rationale may include some history or philosophical perspective. Historic and philosophic statements may or may not be incorporated in the rationale of final approved and published policy.

Guidelines

Guidelines are advice or suggestions that encourage efficient or consistent work practice. Guidelines provide examples of “best practice” or an encouraged process. Unlike procedures, guidelines are not required to be followed explicitly.

Keywords

Keywords are alternative terms or everyday language terms that describe the content of the policy and procedure. Keywords are the terms the average user will type into the search bar when attempting to find a specific policy or procedure.

Supporting Documents

Supporting documents are materials that aid in understanding, applying, or accessing St. Cloud State University policy and procedures. Documents may include but are not limited to forms, flow charts, or related compliance program documents.

Supporting URLs

Supporting URLs are usually links to external websites or web content, such as Minnesota State's policies and procedures, which may help the user better understand the full scope of the St. Cloud State University policy or procedure they are viewing. 

Definitions

In an effort to be consistent, a database of terms for use in policy and procedure has been developed. These terms can be added to any policy or procedure when it is determined that defining terms may be beneficial to the user.

Related Policies

Related policies are other St. Cloud State University policies and procedures that are connected to the content and action identified in the policy being viewed.