Future Students     Current Students     Parents/Families     Alumni/Friends     Faculty/Staff
Ohio University                   etour  |  My OHIO    

General Policy and Procedure

Policy Drafting Guidelines

Status:Approved on October 2, 2015 Signatures and dates
on archival copy
Effective:when approved 
Approved by:Executive Staff Policy Committee
Pam Benoit, Chair

Previous Policypolicies and proceduresreviewersforms and referencesNext Policy

Numeric Index -Policy and Procedure- Alpha Index

A.   Overview

These guidelines have been prepared by the executive staff policy committee ("ESPC") pursuant to paragraph (B)(2) of policy 01.001, "Preparation of Policies." This document may be revised by the ESPC independently of policy 01.001.

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

    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. The name and title of the proposed endorser;

    5. A proposed policy development schedule.

  4. The ESPC 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 ESPC authorizes the continuation of the process, the initiator should proceed to draft the policy consistent with the format and content considerations set forth in paragraph (D), of this rule. 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 ESPC. 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 thirty 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 ESPC for final review. The ESPC 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 ESPC 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 ESPC, the proposed policy will be prepared for signature, signed by the initiator and the endorser, and sent to the president for final review and approval.

C.   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" part on the policy web page.

D.   Format

In order to minimize the differences between our online policy manual and the rules published as part of the Administrative Code under Senate Bill 3, policies shall be prepared in conformance to the specifications in the "Rule Drafting Manual" of the Ohio legislative service commission.

These guidelines and all policies approved or re-formatted since June 4, 2015, illustrate the formatting specifications provided here.

1.   Overall organization

Each policy shall be organized into a single outline structure with at most four levels. The top level must, the second level may, and the third and fourth levels must not have captions that describe the content that follows. All captions will be presented in boldface.

2.   Details

The following list is not complete, but does include most of the items that are different from prior practice.

  1. First-level parts shall be identified by sequential capital letters in the caption, except for the reviewers list and the forms, references, and history part.

  2. Second-level parts shall be identified by sequential Arabic numbers:

    1. In the caption if there is one,

    2. Otherwise as the hanging indent bullet.

  3. Third-level parts shall be identified by lowercase letters as the hanging indent bullet. Third-level parts will typically be used for lists of short items.

  4. In the rare cases where a third-level part itself contains a list of items, each such fourth-level part shall be identified by lowercase Roman numerals as the hanging indent bullet.

  5. For each first-level part, either all second-level parts will have captions or no second-level parts will have captions. The choice should be based primarily on the size and complexity of the first-level part; the larger and more complex, the greater the benefit of captions. Generally, if any of the second-level parts contains third-level parts or a list bulleted with lowercase letters, then all of the second-level parts of that first-level part should have captions.

  6. A first-, second-, or third-level part may have unlabeled introductory text prior to its first sub-part, and may have unlabeled concluding text after its last sub-part; the latter should be avoided when that can be done without degrading readability.

  7. No part may include itemized lists presented with the browser's default graphic bullets. Instead, use Arabic numerals, lowercase letters, or lowercase Roman numerals, as specified in items (D)(2)(a) to (D)(2)(d) of this rule.

  8. All itemized lists (including caption-free second-level parts) will be formatted with "hanging indents." For caption-free second-level parts, the bullets will be sequential Arabic numbers, starting with "1." For lists within second-level parts, the bullets will be sequential lowercase letters, starting with "a." For lists within third-level parts, the bullets will be sequential lowercase Roman numerals, starting with "i." Each first-, second-, and third-level part may have at most one such list, to permit unambiguous citation.

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

  10. These guidelines illustrate the desired format for policies.

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

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

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

  13. The signature block shall include as endorser the executive officer with oversight for the area, as accepted by the ESPC. To ensure that three different people sign each policy, the executive vice president and provost shall typically be the endorser for policies whose initiator is a member of the ESPC, reports to the president, or reports to the trustees. Otherwise, the endorser shall typically be in the direct chain of command of the initiator, but need not be the initiator's immediate supervisor.

  14. Citations to the Ohio Revised Code shall be in the form, "Chapter 4112 of the Revised Code," or "section 4112.02 of the Revised Code." Likewise, citations to the Ohio Administrative Code shall be in the form, "rules 123:1-41-01 to 123:1-41-22 of the Administrative Code," or "rule 123:1-41-01 of the Administrative Code."

    Citations to other parts of the same policy should be of the form, "paragraph (B)(3) of this rule," or "item (C)(2)(d) of this rule," without using the words, "above" or "below."

    Citations to other policies should be of the form, "paragraph (B)(1) of policy 03.004" or "policy 03.004."

    For more details on citations, see part 5.2 of the "Rule Drafting Manual."

  15. In general, policies are written in lowercase. The word "Ohio" shall be capitalized, as shall the first letter of each labeled part, sentence, and paragraph, but title case shall not be used for other words in section or subsection captions, nor in the names of institutions, organizational units, positions, or documents.

    For more details on capitalization and acronyms, see parts 5.3 and 5.6 of the "Rule Drafting Manual."

  16. Numbers shall be written out as words, not with Arabic numerals, except that Arabic numerals shall be used:

    1. In specific dates and times;

    2. When the number includes a decimal fraction;

    3. In addresses and telephone numbers;

    4. In citations of primary sources of law.

    When writing numbers out as words, the word "and" shall not be used (e.g., "one hundred twenty-five" not "one hundred and twenty-five").

    For more details on numbers, dates, and times, see part 5.7 of the "Rule Drafting Manual."

E.   Post-approval changes to policies

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.

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. If any change occurs in the body of the policy pursuant to this paragraph or the following table, the signature block's status field shall be updated to show both the approval date and the most recent re-formatting date; the history part shall be updated to show all prior approval and re-formatting dates; the re-formatting shall be listed on the "new policies" page; and an amended version shall be filed with the Ohio legislative service commission under SB 3. A copy of the policy as originally approved, and of any intervening published versions, shall be preserved in the history folder, for comparison with the currently published version, should questions arise.

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
Add or update links to the public copy of the policy filed under SB 3.X
Re-format the body of any policy approved since January 15, 2011, to conform to these specifications (e.g., in order to file under SB 3), including updating cross-references.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
In consultation with the initiator and legal affairs, re-format the body of any policy approved between October 15, 2002, and January 15, 2011, to conform to these specifications (e.g., in order to file under SB 3), including updating cross-references.X
In consultation with the initiator and legal affairs, re-format the body of any policy to incorporate non-substantive changes as discussed in the "Resources for Policy Initiators."X

F.   Annual update planning

  1. The ESPC 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.

  3. Drafts, memos, reviewers' comments, responses to those comments, etc., that accumulate during the revision process are included in the Policy 01.001 History folder: https://www.ohio.edu/policy2/01-001/

Previous Policypolicies and proceduresreviewersforms and referencesNext Policy

Numeric Index -Policy and Procedure- Alpha Index

Administrative Policy Manual

Dick Piccard revised this page
on October 6, 2015.

Ohio University   |   Athens, OH 45701   |   740.593.1000

Copyright © 2015 Ohio University.   All rights reserved.
Ohio University