Policy Template

standard suggested format for policies

Title:  Name of policy 

Effective Date: Date the policy is to go into effect.  Often the date it is approved, but may be a later date.

Revision Date:  Specify "First Version" if applicable; otherwise, the date the revision or amendment was approved.

Contents:  For longer policies, a table of contents with internal links (anchors) to section headings can improve readability.

I.      Scope

List the types of people or university units that are governed or affected by the policy.  For example, specify whether the policy applies to students or employees, only certain categories of employees, or a specific office or department only.  For some policies, combining the scope and purpose sections improves readability. 


II.    Purpose

Include one or two short paragraphs:

  • Explaining what the policy does; and
  • Specifying any laws, regulations, or other policies that the policy is implementing or to which it directly relates.


III.  Definitions

If necessary, define any terms not commonly understood or with specialized meanings; may be done by reference to other policies. If only a few defined terms are used, preference is to define them as used and not have a separate Definitions section.


IV. Policy

  • For long or complex policies, break down into multiple sections.
  • Where policy requires action or imposes specific responsibilities, make sure ownership is clear -- assign roles and responsibilities to specific employees or units.  For example, if a policy applies to both students and faculty, but imposes different obligations on students than on faculty, that must be made clear.  As another example, if a policy requires employees to complete a form, it should specify which office receives the form, and any deadlines for submission.
  • If detailed step-by-step guidance is required, consider using a related procedure, which can be revised more readily.


V.   Approval, Amendment[, and Guidance]

  • Which officer approved the creation of the policy and when.
  • Who has authority to amend or terminate the policy.
  • If helpful and applicable, who should interpret or answer questions about the policy or implement it, e.g., as by drafting procedures.
  • Any schedule or process for reviewing or updating the policy.
  • If the policy is being amended, summary of the nature of the amendment and date of amendment.


VI.    Related Policies or Other Documents

Any related policies or procedures including any that are superseded by the policy.  Hyperlink when feasible.