Policy Development

Revisions to existing policies and development of new policies should follow the Policy Life Cycle steps listed here.  New policies should be created using the campus's approved policy template located on the Resources page.

Graphic showing the life cycle of a policy

Policy Life Cycle

1. Identify Need for a New Policy or Revision of an Existing Policy

The need for a new campus policy or revision of an existing policy may arise for a number of reasons, including mandates from external governing bodies or concerns raised by members of the campus community. A member of the campus community should bring such concerns to the appropriate governance committee(s), if applicable, or request that a responsible office or policy manager consider the perceived need for a policy or policy revision. The compliance office designee is available as a resource to help campus community members identify the office or person best positioned to address a perceived need, as well as whether the need might already be covered.

To determine if a new policy or revision is needed, the following criteria should be considered:

  • The need or concern is not already covered by an existing policy (at the campus or a higher level, such as the UMass Board of Trustees) or could not be effectively covered with a change to an existing policy. Where plausible, it is generally preferable to expand a relevant existing policy rather than create a new policy.
  • The policy or change is necessary to ensure compliance with federal or state laws, rules, or regulations, or with UMass Board of Trustees policies or other legitimate authority.
  • The policy or change is necessary to support the campus’s mission or goals and aligns with institutional values.
  • The policy will promote equity, consistency, efficiency, and effectiveness.
  • The policy will mitigate or manage significant institutional risk.

2. Draft and Edit the Policy

The policy manager for a specific campus policy is responsible for overseeing the process for creating or revising a policy. The policy manager is expected to carefully consider a variety of perspectives and to solicit feedback through informal and formal consultation methods, including with governance or advisory groups as necessary. The policy manager is expected to adhere to the established format, layout, and defined terms for policy management, using policy drafting template available on the policy library website.

3. Review/Revise the Policy

Substantive review of all existing campus policies should occur at regular intervals; an individual policy should be reviewed periodically to ensure currency with governing laws, rules, regulations, policies, and technologies. Review must be appropriate to the type and nature of the policy and sufficient to comply with governing laws, rules, and regulations. The responsible office and policy manager, in consultation with the compliance office designee, shall set the appropriate review cycle for policies under their purview. The review process should invite relevant stakeholders (such as business users and others regularly affected by a policy) to participate in policy review.

The policy manager is responsible for obtaining appropriate legal review and for consulting with compliance office designee when unsure who should review a draft policy.

Types of revisions:

  • Proposed modifications to policy, which are substantive revisions that affect the meaning of the policy or are otherwise material, follow the regular policy development, consultation, and approval processes.
  • Minor revisions, which do not alter the meaning of the policy (e.g., typo corrections, minor edits, changes to contact information, forms, procedural elements, or related information), may be made by the responsible office and/or policy manager and published after compliance office designee review.
  • Review, revision, and retirement actions should be noted in the history section of the policy. The compliance office designee will archive any versions of policies that are revised or rescinded.

4. Consult

Prior to final approval of a new or revised policy, it is expected that the policy manager will engage in robust conferral and consensus-building, including—where appropriate—consultation as part of shared governance. Groups and individuals who will be affected by a policy, including those who must comply with the policy, end-users, and those charged with implementation and compliance, should be informed of new and modified policies and have the opportunity to submit feedback during the development or revision process. The policy manager can work with the compliance office designee and relevant Vice Chancellors to make the draft policy available for review and comment and to help identify and communicate to key stakeholders to invite their feedback.

5. Approve/Retire a Policy

Once a final draft of a new or revised policy is complete, the policy manager should submit the policy to the appropriate Vice Chancellor for approval. The Vice Chancellor is responsible for presenting the policy to the Chancellor’s Council. The Chancellor’s Council will then review and provide feedback to the policy manager, and then submit to the chancellor, who will formally approve or deny the policy or policy revision. If a policy manager is unsure as to who is the appropriate Vice Chancellor for a given campus policy, they may consult with the compliance office designee.

Retiring or rescinding a policy follows the relevant steps outlined in this document, as does replacing the policy, where applicable.

Review, revision, and retirement actions should be noted in the history section of the policy. The compliance office designee will archive any versions of policies that are revised or rescinded.

6. Publish and Communicate the Policy

All campus policies will be published by the compliance office designee on the campus policy website, which shall be accessible by all members of the campus community, including faculty, staff, students, and visitors.

The policy manager works with the compliance office designee to create a dissemination plan for communicating to the campus community about a new or revised policy and ensuring that relevant key users are specifically targeted with appropriate communications.

Units may, if they choose, curate web pages that include policies relevant to their unit’s functioning for the convenience of their constituents; in such cases, the web pages should link the policies listed directly to the policies in the policy library. Only policies published in the campus policy library are considered official campus policies. Content published elsewhere (such as summary or interpretation of policies) is not considered campus policy, regardless of intent or language.