The Catholic University of America

Frequently Asked Questions regarding policies

Q: What is a University policy?

A. A policy is a guiding or governing principle formally approved to provide assistance in the conduct of University affairs. A University policy is a policy that applies University-wide, which distinguishes it from policies that pertain to only a particular school or department.

Q. How can I tell the difference between a policy and a procedure? 

A. Policies set forth the University's goals or requirements with respect to a specific area or activity.  They inform people what to do, or what not to do, in specific University activities. 

Procedures are more specific, and instruct people how to engage in a certain activity. Procedures often change more frequently than policies. 

For example, the University may have a policy that it will maintain current student contact records in Cardinal Station, who will oversee this process, and that it will review these records annually for accuracy. The responsible owner may then draft procedures which specify when the audit will be carried out, who will conduct the audit, how information will be collected, and how exceptions will be processed. 

The Policy Committee reviews University-wide policies, but typically does not review the procedures that implement the policies.
 

Q. What is the role of the Policy Committee?

A. The Policy Committee supports the President ain implementing and disseminating policies, and in identifying a responsible University official and office for each policy. The Charter for the Committee and the relevant procedures are set forth in the University Policy Process and Resources

The committee is not the entity within the University responsible for promulgating the substance of the policy. 

Q. How does a policy get drafted?

A. If the policy is academic, a new policy is initiated by the Academic Senate or one of its committees, the Provost or the President. If the policy is an administrative policy, it will be initiated by the President, the Provost or any Vice President. Any member of the University community can propose a policy to the Provost or the appropriate Vice President. A template is available to assist in drafting the policy in the proper format.  See the University Policy Process and Resources for further guidance.

Q. How does a policy get revised?

A. Revisions are initiated in the same manner as drafts of new policies as set forth above.

Q. What is the process for providing input regarding new policies?

A. The Vice President in whose area the administration of a policy falls is responsible for determining who in the University community should review proposed policies, whether new or revised. Each Vice President and the Provost has a representative to the Policy Committee. Specific input regarding a pending or already drafted policy should be sent to the Responsible Official identified in the policy. If the policy is only in the draft state and a Responsible Official has not yet been identified, input can be sent to the cognizant Vice President.

Q. What is the role of the Responsible Official?

A. The Responsible Official is the University official charged with administration of the policy.

Q. Who is responsible for compliance with the policies?

A. All members of the University community are responsible for compliance with policies.  Individual managers and Vice Presidents are responsible for reinforcing the requirement to comply with policies.

Q. I would like to post a policy on our departmental web page. Are there any rules about what format I need to follow?

A. Only one version of a University-wide policy may exist, and that version resides on the official policy website. This is to ensure proper updating of policies, and consistency in presentation. Any policies referenced on a department web page should link back to the official policy website. In other words, do not cut, copy and paste the policy onto the departmental page, but link to the policy that resides on the official policy site.