Policy on Policies

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Policy Code: 
Approval Authority: 
Policy Type: 
University Policy
Policy Owner: 
Chancellor's Office
Responsible Office: 
General Counsel - 828.251.6821

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, and Standard Operating Procedures, outlines the standardized policy format and explains the relationship of procedures and forms to administrative policies.

A. Reasons for the Policy

This policy on policies 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 (http://www3.unca.edu/aa/handbook/) contains additional policies that pertain only to Faculty members which are not included in the UNC Asheville Policy Site (http://administration.unca.edu/policies). Similarly, the UNC Asheville Student Handbook (http://housing.unca.edu/student-handbook) contains some policies that pertain only to students.

D. Who Should Know This Policy

Senior Staff Members, Deans, Chairs, Directors, Senior Administrative Officers, Departmental Administrators, and others involved in developing, complying with, or revising a policy.

II. Definitions

A. Responsible Office

The “Responsible Office” is the University office or unit responsible for proposing a new policy, reviewing an existing policy and/or answering inquiries about a specified policy. 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 regulations of UNC General Administration;
  • Matters not specifically addressed in Board of Governors or Board of Trustees policies or regulations of UNC General Administration 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;
  • 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, regulations of UNC General Administration, 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 to address specific subject matters 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 (SOP’s) 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. Standard Operating Procedures are not subject to this Policy on Policies but should be clearly written and well communicated to those subject to the SOP. SOP’s are not posted to the official Policy website, but are typically housed on the unit’s website and/or distributed within the unit as hard copies.  

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 in 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 submitted to the Policy Review Committee 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. The Policy Review Committee will confirm whether the Policy is a University or Divisional Policy and will determine the level of review required. Any substantive changes recommended during the review process are returned to the Responsible Office for consideration. After changes are incorporated, the draft University Policy and the accompanying statement of rationale are disseminated for campus review.

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. The Policy Review Committee, with advice from the University General Counsel, determines who must approve University Policies.  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 Policy Review Committee. 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 (http://administration.unca.edu/policies). An email to campus will notify University members of new and currently reviewed University and Divisional Policies. Standard Operating Procedures will be disseminated on a division-wide level by the Responsible Office.

IV. Review Period/Policy Amendments

Every University and Divisional Policy shall be reviewed every three years at a minimum. 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 to by the Office of the General Counsel to notify 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 review, the changes to a University or Divisional Policy are substantive, the Office of the General Counsel will consult with the Policy Review Committee to determine the level of review needed (i.e. campus, division, etc.). See the Associated Forms section for the Review & Amendment Process graphic.

V. Policy Review Committee

A. Charge

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 appropriate reviews by internal constituents of the University and to determine the level of approval required. At the discretion of the University General Counsel, the Policy Review Committee may also be called upon to review policies that are due for their scheduled review period.

B. Makeup

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, Finance & Campus Operations, Human Resources, Information Technology Services, Student Affairs and University Advancement. The University General Counsel will serve as chair, ex officio. The Internal Auditor will also serve ex officio. Student representation and/or additional advice from campus constituents may be sought on an as-needed basis.