I. Policy Statement
This policy details UNC Asheville’s protocols for formulating, evaluating, revising, approving, issuing and maintaining University and Divisional policies. This policy defines a University policy, a Divisional policy, Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), and Established Practices (EPs), outlines the standardized policy format and explains the relationship of procedures and forms to administrative policies.
A. Reasons for the Policy
This policy promotes:
• consistent definition, process and format for policies
• the appropriate level, scope and frequency of oversight to administrative policies
• clarity, transparency and shared understanding of administrative policy protocols
B. Responsibility for Maintenance of the Policy on Policies
The Office of the General Counsel is responsible for the maintenance of this policy, and for responding to questions posed regarding this policy.
C. Who Is Governed By This Policy Scope
All staff, faculty and students at the University. In addition, the UNC Asheville Faculty Handbook contains additional policies that pertain only to Faculty members which are not included in the UNC Asheville Policy Site. Similarly, the UNC Asheville Student Handbook contains some policies that pertain only to students.
D. Who Should Know This Policy
All individuals involved in developing, complying with, or revising University or Divisional Policies, Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), or Established Practices (EPs)
A. Responsible Office
The “Responsible Office” is the University office or unit with primary responsibility for administering a particular policy, and thus, is responsible for proposing new policies (i.e. within the appropriate subject matter area), reviewing an existing policy, answering inquiries about a specified policy, and collecting input and feedback from campus constituents on all aspects of proposed or existing policies. Ideas for new policies and modifications to existing policies should first be provided to the Responsible Office, or General Counsel if the Responsible Office is unknown or unidentified. The “Responsible Office” may also be responsible for monitoring the effectiveness and ensuring compliance with a policy.
B. Policy Owner
The Policy Owner is the larger division under which the Responsible Office reports. In some cases the Policy Owner and Responsible Office are the same.
C. Definition of University Policy
1. A University Policy is a statement of University principle or intent that is of general applicability and is approved by the Board of Governors, Board of Trustees, or Chancellor that addresses any of the following matters:
• Requirements related to implementation or compliance with policies of the Board of Governors or Board of Trustees or UNC system regulations;
• Matters not specifically addressed in Board of Governors, Board of Trustees policies or UNC system regulations but that fall within the general nature of the Chancellor's delegated responsibilities to administer the institution;
• Compliance with fiscal, academic, research, human resources, or other management standards with university-wide impact;
• Requirements imposed by federal or state laws or implementing regulations.
2. A University Policy must not conflict with policies of the Board of Governors or Board of Trustees, UNC system regulations or requirements imposed by federal or state laws or implementing regulations, and should be clearly written and well communicated to the campus community.
D. Definition of Divisional Policy
A Divisional Policy is a policy adopted by an academic or administrative unit of UNC Asheville under authority of a University Senior Staff member pursuant to authority delegated by a UNC Asheville Policy or by the Chancellor. A Divisional Policy addresses specific subject matter areas that are limited in scope to a particular unit's operational functions that impact units or individuals outside of the adopting unit. A Divisional Policy may supplement but must not conflict with University Policies and should be clearly written and well communicated to those subject to the regulation.
E. Definition of Standard Operating Procedures
Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) are established by academic or administrative units to facilitate the day-to-day business operations of and within a particular unit. They are distinguished from University and Divisional Policies because they do not directly or substantially affect procedural or substantive rights or duties of units or individuals outside of the adopting unit (other than the unit's customers). SOPs are not subject to this policy but should be clearly written and well communicated to those subject to the SOP. SOPs are not posted to the official Policy website, but are typically posted on the unit’s website and/or distributed within the unit as hard copies, and are not frequently modified. Examples of SOPs include formalized University Audit Procedures, Accounts Payable Procedures, and Athletics Compliance Procedures.
F. Definition of Established Practices
Established Practices (EPs) are created or adopted by academic or administrative units to facilitate the day-to-day business operations of and within a particular unit. Similar to SOPs, EPs are distinguished from University and Divisional Policies because they do not directly or substantially affect procedural or substantive rights, or duties of units or individuals outside of the adopting unit (other than the unit’s customers). EPs are also not subject to this policy, and are usually less formal than SOPs. EPs may also be frequently changed to adjust to internal unit requirements, coordination needs impacting other business, academic or administrative units, workflows and staffing levels. EPs are often posted, conveyed or distributed only within the administrative unit or to its customers or users. Examples of EPs are Lab Manager Safety Expectations Guidance, Course Syllabi, and Payroll Action Processing steps.
III. Developing a New University or Divisional Policy
A. Policy Development
1. When a new University or Divisional Policy is needed, the appropriate Responsible Office drafts the policy in consultation with the Senior Staff member overseeing that area. The Responsible Office may consult with the University General Counsel during the drafting period. Once drafted, the Responsible Office submits the policy draft to the University General Counsel for feedback and edits.
2. Once reviewed by the University General Counsel, the draft policy is disseminated, in paper, electronic or other appropriate medium, to the Policy Review Committee and other appropriate key campus stakeholders (e.g. Faculty Senate, Staff Council, University Planning Council (UPC), Student Government Association (SGA), Senior Staff, etc.) for review. The policy draft must be accompanied by a written statement prepared by the Responsible Office setting forth the rationale for the new policy or for any substantive changes to an existing policy. Any substantive changes recommended during the review process are returned to the Responsible Office for consideration. Key campus constituencies, the Policy Review Committee and the Responsible Office are encouraged to provide, request or share additional policy draft feedback as the needs arise.
3. Once campus reviews are completed, University Policies will be submitted for approval to the designated authority: The Chancellor, Board of Trustees, or Board of Governors. In the case of a Divisional Policy, the policy will be submitted to the appropriate Senior Staff member for approval.
4. Following approval, the Responsible Office will work with the Office of the General Counsel to assure that the new policy is posted on the University’s policy web site and that appropriate notice is provided to the campus of the new and/or revised policy. See the Associated Forms section for the Development & Approval Process graphic and the Review & Amendment Process graphic.
B. Policy Format
To ensure consistency, a standard policy template has been created. Use of the standard policy template facilitates the adoption of clear, concise policies and procedures throughout the University. The format will identify the Responsible Office, Policy Owner, Next review date, Approval authority, the office responsible for ensuring policy compliance, etc. All policies should conform to the University or Divisional Policy Template and all sections must be included. If a section does not contain any information or is not applicable, the drafter should put “N/A” under the section heading. Policy numbers will be assigned by the Office of the General Counsel. Please refer to the Associated Forms section of this Policy for the official Policy Template. Responsible Offices are also encouraged to use the Policy Guidelines which can be found in the Associated Forms section.
C. Policy Dissemination
University and Divisional Policies are posted on the University’s website by the Office of the General Counsel. Any electronic republication of, or reference to, a University or Divisional Policy by any university unit must be by hyperlink to the official UNC Asheville policy web site. An email to campus will notify University members of new and currently reviewed University and Divisional Policies. SOPs will be disseminated on a division-wide level by the Responsible Office. In addition, this policy will be communicated at least once annually to the campus community via email.
IV. Review Period/Policy Amendments
Every University and Divisional Policy shall be reviewed at least once every five (5) years, or more frequently in the discretion of the Responsible Office or Policy Owner. The period of review should be identified on the document when the policy is approved and implemented. Policy end dates should also be listed, where applicable. The Last Amended Date and Next Review Date headings must be included and maintained. These dates are an important management tool, as they will be used by the Responsible Office when it is time to review the policy. The Responsible Office is tasked with updating the policy if there is a change in law or regulation. When changes are necessary to a University or Divisional Policy, the Responsible Office should forward the amendment to the Office of the General Counsel. If upon legal review, the changes to a University or Divisional Policy are found to be substantive, the policy is disseminated in paper, electronic or other appropriate form, to the Policy Review Committee and other appropriate key campus stakeholders (e.g. Faculty Senate, Staff Council, University Planning Council (UPC), Student Government Association (SGA), Senior Staff, etc.) for review. Any feedback or changes recommended during the review process are returned to the Responsible Office for consideration. Key campus constituencies, the Policy Review Committee and the Responsible Office are encouraged to provide, request or share additional policy draft feedback as the needs arise. If the changes are found to be non-substantive or required by law or other regulation, the policy is forwarded to the appropriate approval authority (e.g. Senior Staff Member, Chancellor, BOT or BOG) or the University General Counsel for approval. See the Associated Forms section for the Review & Amendment Process graphic.
V. Policy Review Committee
The Policy Review Committee is an advisory group that includes representatives of the UNC Asheville campus. The group is charged with reviewing University and Divisional Policies to suggest substantive feedback, and internal University constituents whose review may be helpful. The Policy Review Committee may also be called upon to review policies that are due for their scheduled review period.
Senior Staff members will appoint members of the committee. Representatives may include, but are not limited to: Academic Affairs, Athletics/University Enterprises, Chancellor’s Office, Faculty, Administration and Finance, Human Resources, Information Technology Services, Student Affairs and University Advancement. The University General Counsel and Internal Auditor will serve ex officio. Student representation and/or additional advice from campus constituents may be sought on an as-needed basis.