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Policy and Procedure

Policy Drafting Guidelines

Status:Approved on September 22, 2013Signatures and dates
on archival copy
Effective:when approved 
Approved by:Executive Staff Policy Committee
Pam Benoit, Chair

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I.   Overview

These Guidelines have been prepared by the Executive Staff Policy Committee pursuant to Subsection II (B) of Policy 01.001, "Preparation of Policies." This document may be revised by the Executive Staff Policy Committee independently of Policy 01.001.

II.   The Policy Development Process

  1. The term "Initiator" means the head of the department that administers the subject matter of a policy. The Initiator is responsible for complying with the requirements of Policy 01.001 and for moving the policy through the development process in a timely way.

  2. The first step in the process is the development of a consensus within the department and the Planning Unit on the need for and content of the proposed policy. The Initiator should consult with his or her supervisor and ultimately the Planning Unit Head to obtain their approval before moving ahead with the process.

  3. After approvals are obtained within the Planning Unit, the Planning Unit Head should submit a Policy Proposal Memorandum to the Executive Staff Policy Committee. The Memorandum must be signed by the Initiator as well as the Planning Unit Head and should address the following topics:

    1. A summary of the subject matter of the proposed new or amended policy;

    2. A description of the need for the proposed policy, including specific information about problems the policy will address or how the policy will improve university operations;

    3. A list of reviewers to be consulted during the process;

    4. A proposed policy development schedule.

    A draft of the proposed policy may be attached to the Memorandum, but this is not required.

  4. The Executive Staff Policy Committee will review the proposal and decide whether it should go forward. The Committee may provide guidance concerning the content of the proposed policy and the officials and constituencies to be consulted during the process.

  5. If the Executive Staff Policy Committee authorizes the continuation of the process, the Initiator should proceed to draft the policy consistent with the Format and Content Considerations set forth in Section IV, below. The Initiator may consult with the Office of Legal Affairs for advice and assistance. Each draft should be identified by number and date.

  6. After a satisfactory draft has been prepared, the Initiator should send it to the reviewers approved by the Executive Staff Policy Committee. The draft should be accompanied by a cover memo that explains the need for the proposed policy, including specific information about problems the policy will address or how the policy will improve university operations. The cover memo should state that in conformance with Policy 01.001 and these Guidelines, the draft and all comments will be posted online. The memo should also include the policy development schedule and should request a response from the reviewer by a specific date. As a general rule, senates should be given at least 30 days to comment on a policy draft. In order to complete the policy development process in a timely way, offices and constituencies whose comments are requested should respond promptly.

  7. When all comments have been received, the Initiator should prepare the next draft, making a good faith effort to address the issues raised by the reviewers. In cases where serious objections have been raised, the Initiator may wish to meet with the reviewers to share information and discuss their concerns.

  8. All circulated drafts will be posted online, along with their cover memos and comments. Specific instructions for the posting process shall be linked through https://www.ohio.edu/policy2/. The drafts, memos, and comments shall be retained online after the new policy is approved.

  9. At the conclusion of the comment period, the Initiator should share the next draft of the policy with all the reviewers, along with a cover memo explaining which suggestions were accepted and the reasons why others were rejected. This draft and the cover memo will be posted online.

  10. At the conclusion of the review process, the Initiator should submit the policy to the Executive Staff Policy Committee for final review. This Committee will review the content of the policy and will also ensure that the proper process has been followed, that all the appropriate reviewers have been consulted, and that due consideration has been given to their recommendations. If any reviewers have failed to respond after being given a reasonable opportunity to do so, the Executive Staff Policy Committee may recommend the policy to the President without their comments.

    The submission to the ESPC shall be by e-mail to all the addresses identified in the current version of the Policy Initiators’ Resources page, and shall include:

    1. a list of the University officials and constituencies consulted, identifying any that did not respond;

    2. either a statement that there are no known unresolved issues, or a description of the known issues and an explanation of the Initiator’s decision to submit the draft as-is;

    3. a statement that all cross-referenced policies have been examined to identify and resolve any possible conflicts, with the following results: (followed by a list of changes already made to this policy, if any; changes recommended to other policies, if any; and in the latter case, an explanation as to whether those changes should be done simultaneously with this policy, or can properly be postponed until some time after approval of this policy).

  11. After acceptance by the Executive Staff Policy Committee, the proposed policy will be prepared for signature, signed by the Initiator and the Executive Vice President, and sent to the President for final review and approval.

III.   Content Considerations

  1. Policies should be concise and easy to read.

  2. Redundancies should be avoided.

  3. To the extent possible, technical terms that are not easily understood should be avoided; when such terms are necessary, they should be explained.

  4. As a general rule, references to related policies and educational or explanatory materials should not be included in the formal text of a policy. Links to other policies and explanatory information will appear in a "References" subsection on the policy web page.

IV.   Format

A.   Overall Organization

Policies should be organized in sections and subsections. Sections must and subsections may have captions that describe the content that follows. All section and subsection captions will be presented in boldface. Subsections shall not have sub-subsections.

B.   Details

  1. Sections will be identified by sequential capital Roman numerals in the caption, except for the Reviewers section and the Forms, References, and History section.

  2. Subsections will be identified by sequential capital letters:

    • in the caption if there is one,

    • otherwise as the hanging indent bullet.

  3. For each section, either all subsections will have captions or no subsections will have captions. The choice should be based primarily on the size and complexity of the section; the larger and more complex, the greater the benefit of captions. In particular, if any of the subsections contains a numbered list, then all of the subsections of that section should have captions.

  4. A section may have unlabeled introductory text prior to the first subsection.

  5. Sections, subsections, and numbered lists may include itemized lists consisting of a modest number of short items (i.e., that generally do not wrap to a second line of text), presented with the browser's default graphic bullets, rather than Arabic numerals or capital letters.

  6. All other itemized lists (including caption-free subsections) will be formatted with "hanging indents." For caption-free subsections, the bullets will be sequential capital letters, identifying the subsections. For lists within subsections, the bullets will be sequential Arabic numerals. Each section or subsection may have at most one such list.

  7. Words and phrases should not be emphasized with boldface, italics, or underlining.

  8. These Guidelines and Policy 01.001 illustrate the desired format for policies.

  9. The header on preliminary drafts should contain the following information, in this order:

    Policy xx.xxx:   [title of the policy]
    Version [N]; [date]

  10. Drafts prepared with Microsoft Word should use the "Track Changes" feature to indicate changes on each draft from the previous version.

V.   Post-Approval Changes to Policies

The table below identifies the types of changes to an approved policy that are allowed without the review and approval process of Policy 01.001, and summarizes the procedures to be used for each.

Form revisions that change the layout or add or remove optional form fields are administrative actions that do not require any change in policy. All other changes, including form revisions that add or remove required fields, changes to the list of Reviewers, and other changes to the text of the policy, do require full or interim review, as directed by the ESPC, according to Policy 01.001.

Review-Free Post-Approval Changes to Policies
ChangeGeneral Counsel decides whether to inform ESPC after the fact or consult ESPC beforeOIT Staff inform General Counsel and Initiator after the factOIT staff make change with no notification
Fix typos in pre-2002 policies, to match hardcopy originals.X
Mend links, including online location of forms.X
Update History subsection to correct clerical mistakes (e.g., finding an unlisted old version in the files).X
Update to match current title or hardcopy location of forms, both in the Forms subsection and throughout the policy.X
Change references to track revisions to other policies (title change, merger, splitting, and elimination).X
Change references to add relevant new policies.X
Change references to add relevant old policies that were previously neglected.X

VI.   Annual Update Planning

  1. The Executive Staff Policy Committee should conduct an annual policy update planning exercise, resulting in the publication every summer of a priority-ranked list of policy actions (creation, revision, or elimination) to be completed by the end of the forthcoming academic year.

  2. Each year, these Guidelines will be reviewed to consider whether updates are necessary. Those listed as Reviewers for Policy 01.001 will be consulted.

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Administrative Policy Manual

Dick Piccard revised this page
on August 26, 2015.

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