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Policy on Policy-Making 


“University Policy” is a policy that:

  • Has broad application throughout the University;
  • Enhances the University’s mission, reduces institutional risk and/or promotes operational efficiency; and
  • Supports compliance with applicable laws and regulations.

“School, Division, Department or Unit Policy” is a policy that relates only to matters of interest to a particular school, division, department or unit and only applies to people affiliated with that part of the University.


A School, Division, Department or Unit Policy cannot be inconsistent with University Policies. If a policy deals with the same subject as a University Policy, the University Policy will apply. A Department or Unit Policy cannot be inconsistent with the policies of a School or Division of which it is a part. If a policy of a department or unit within a School or Division deals with the same subject as School or Division Policy, the School or Division Policy will apply.


University Policy Approval

A University Policy must be approved by the Policy Approval Committee, the President or the Board of Trustees. The Policy Approval Committee will approve most University Policies. The Policy Approval Committee consists of the Provost, the Senior Vice President for Administration & Finance, and the Vice President & General Counsel. The Policy Approval Committee will refer policies with the potential for significant impact on the University to the President for approval. In appropriate situations, the President will refer a proposed policy to the Board of Trustees for adoption.

Policies that apply university-wide, unless required by law or regulation, and that impact faculty in a manner distinct from or more significantly than others will be discussed before adoption with the Faculty Senate Executive Committee and, if the Executive Committee deems it appropriate, with the entire Faculty Senate.

School, Division, Department or Unit Policy Approval

A School, Division, Department or Unit Policy must be approved by the senior leader responsible for the specific school, division, department or unit to which the policy applies.

For example, deans are responsible and have the authority for approval of policies that relate only to matters of interest to the school for which they are dean and apply only to people affiliated with the school. Similarly, Vice-Presidents are responsible and have the authority for approval of policies that relate only to the administrative division for which they are responsible. For example, the Senior Vice President for Health Affairs & CEO of the Medical Center can adopt policies that have effect for the entire Medical Center. The Director of Memorial Art Gallery, the Director of the Laboratory of Laser Energetics or the President and CEO of Strong Memorial Hospital are responsible for the policies that apply solely to their respective divisions. Departmental chairpersons and center or administrative unit directors can approve departmental, center or unit policies that apply to the specific department, center or unit for which they are responsible but do not have broader applicability and are not inconsistent with the decisions of the relevant dean or vice-president.

Delegation of Authority

The authority to adopt policies can be delegated by the Policy Approval Committee or by the Dean, Director or Vice President who is the senior leader responsible for the specific school or division to an individual, department, unit or a group, but the delegation should be in writing, must specify the area over which the policies will apply and be to a specific person or group. Identification of the individual or group can either be by name or by title. Revocation of delegation occurs automatically if an individual to whom authority has been granted is no longer employed in the position. The delegator can revoke a delegation at any time.

Policies Existing on January 30, 2011

Policies that exist on January 30, 2011, are deemed to have been properly adopted without further review. When such a grandfathered policy is next amended or when it is reviewed as part of the required five year review, the policy must be adopted formally by the person or body given authority in the preceding paragraphs to adopt this type of policy.

Initiation, Review, Repeal and Amendment of Policies

Any person affiliated with the University can initiate a policy, although the policy once drafted must be approved by the appropriate University official as explained in the previous section of this policy. If a policy involves compliance with a law or governmental regulation, the policy must be reviewed by the Office of Counsel before adoption.

Policy amendments and repeal require the same approval as required for initial adoption. Changes that are required by law, regulation or governmental authority or changes that are in the nature of updates or edits and do not change the original meaning of the policy can be made at any time without the formal approval required for initial adoption.

A policy that was adopted by a person or group to whom policy making authority was delegated may be amended or repealed by the person or group who originally delegated the policy making authority.

All policies must be reviewed and readopted every five years. Unnecessary or redundant policies should be repealed.

Guidelines on Policy Form

All policies should:

  • indicate prominently on the top right corner the official or body that adopted the policy, the date adopted and the most recent date amended, and the type of policy (University, school, division, department or other specific unit);
  • separate procedures and guidelines from policy (policy is the actual mandate or rule);
  • indicate to whom the policy applies; and
  • indicate the office or individual to contact for clarification or information.

As of the date of adoption of this Policy on Policy-Making some existing policies may not meet these Guidelines on Policy Form. When policies are reviewed or revised administrators are expected to amend them so that they will conform to these guidelines on policy form.

Policy Website

See the University Policies and Guidance webpage for University Policies and many policies of divisions, schools and primary units.

Contact to Notify of Policy Amendments, Repeal, Adoption or Relocation

Contact Office of Counsel if a policy is repealed, adopted, its website location is moved or it is not posted on the policy website. It is not necessary to notify Office of Counsel if there are amendments reflected in a policy posted on a University website that is already linked to the policy website and there is no change in the URL.

Contact for Clarification or Information

Contact Office of Counsel (585) 273-2167 with questions about this Policy on Policy-Making.

Approved by: President Joel Seligman

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