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Policy 1000
University Policy Management

Date of Current Revision: September 2017
Primary Responsible Officer: Assistant Vice President of HR, Training and Performance

1. PURPOSE

This policy outlines the process of policy management at the university, primarily by the University Policy Committee (UPC). The UPC is a team that is responsible for assisting the president and vice presidents with the oversight and management of those policies that have wide university impact.

2. AUTHORITY

The Board of Visitors has been authorized by the Commonwealth of Virginia to govern James Madison University. See Code of Virginia § 23.1-1600; § 23.1-1301. The Board has delegated the authority to manage the university to the president.

STATE OR FEDERAL STATUTE AND/OR REGULATION
University policies fall within a greater hierarchy of laws, statutes and regulations, as well as within the following framework; therefore, are subject to compliance with laws and regulations instituted by higher levels of authority:

  1. Federal laws and regulations
  2. State laws and regulations
  3. Board of Visitors policies and rules
  4. University policies and rules
  5. Divisional policies and rules
  6. Departmental policies and rules

3. DEFINITIONS

Division:
Division is the largest organizational subgroup of the university. The five divisions include: Academic Affairs, Access and Enrollment Management, Administration and Finance, Student Affairs, and University Advancement.

The President’s Office, while not considered a division, includes Audit & Management Services, Legal Services, and Strategic Planning & Engagement.

Policy:
A statement of management philosophy and a general statement of a rule, established to provide direction and assistance to the university community in the conduct of university affairs.

Procedure:
A statement that prescribes specific actions to be taken to conform to established policies, allowing for the orderly implementation of those policies.

University Policy Committee (UPC):
The group designated and appointed by the vice presidents to act as the central body for making recommendations regarding the creation, updating, and management of university-wide policies. Members of this committee include the director of human resources, a representative of audit and management services and one representative from each of the divisions of the university – chosen by the appropriate vice president. University Counsel is an ex-officio member of the committee. The committee is chaired by the assistant vice president for HR, training and performance.

4. APPLICABILITY

University policies and procedures are applicable to all members of the university community, unless the specific policy states otherwise.

The Manual of Policies and Procedures includes only those policies and procedures that are generally applicable to more than one division of the university. Matters pertaining to one division or to the internal procedures of a given division, department or offices are not considered to be within the scope of this policy or the purview of the UPC.

5. POLICY

The Manual of Policies and Procedures is the official repository of university policies and is available electronically by accessing http://www.jmu.edu/JMUpolicy/.

Each policy will include the following information:

  • Policy number
  • Policy name
  • Date of current revision
  • Responsible officer for that policy
  • Such other information on the attached template as may be appropriate for the specific policy

6. PROCEDURES

6.1 The assistant vice president for HR, training and performance will maintain the master list of policies within the Manual of Policies and Procedures website. An approved hard copy of each policy will be kept on file. The policies will be maintained on the university website and users may print copies directly from the website.

6.2 The procedures to initiate, review and approve new or revised policies, and to eliminate policies, are as follows.

a.  The need for a new or revised policy, or the elimination of an existing policy, is identified by a vice president, academic unit or department head, or dean or representative of the UPC. Any employee of the university community may recommend a new or revised policy, or the elimination of a policy, by contacting his/her director or head. An employee or student may also contact the appropriate stakeholder representative (specified in 6.2.e) with suggestions.

b.  Working in conjunction with the division’s representative serving on the UPC, the appropriate dean or academic unit or department head oversees the creation of a draft of the policy, based on the standard policy template, following these guidelines. If a policy falls within the responsibility of more than one division, any appropriate division may assume the responsibility for drafting and reviewing the policy.

c.  The resulting preliminary draft of the new policy or the recommended elimination of a policy is reviewed by the UPC.  New policies may be edited by the UPC.

d.  The chair of the UPC sends a copy of the resulting draft to each vice president for review and approval for posting. The chair will make changes to the policies based on the feedback of the vice presidents through an iterative process.  In the case of a recommended policy elimination, the chair will send rationale for the elimination of the policy.

e.  Once the policy is approved for posting by the vice presidents, the chair of the UPC posts a copy of the resulting draft to the UPC website.  The draft will be viewable only with a university password.  For new and updated policies, the chair of the UPC will notify the university community of the presence of a draft policy and will send a notice of the posting to stakeholder representatives (the employee advisory committee co-chairs, the speaker of the faculty senate and the president of the student government association). The chair of the UPC will notify stakeholders of the elimination of any policy and will request feedback from stakeholders.

f.  The draft remains posted for ten business days, during which time the UPC will accept comments from the university community.  During this posting period, EAC co-chairs, the speaker, and SGA president will have an opportunity to notify the UPC committee chair of any request to attend the next UPC meeting to provide comments on behalf of these organizations to the UPC. 

g.  If the EAC co-chairs, the speaker, and/or the SGA president make a request to attend the next UPC meeting, the UPC will hear from the stakeholder representative(s) at the beginning of the next regularly scheduled meeting of the UPC, according to a schedule set by the UPC. 

h.  The comments received by the UPC from the university community and from any of the three organizations are advisory in nature and will not obligate the UPC to make any changes in its recommendations concerning the policy under consideration or elimination.  After considering any comments, the UPC will finalize the draft of the policy or rationale for elimination.

i.  The chair of the UPC will send a copy of the resulting final draft (or rationale for elimination) to each vice president for final review and approval.  The chair will make changes to the policies based on the feedback of the vice presidents through an iterative process.

j.  Once the final draft is approved by the vice presidents, the chair of the UPC forwards the resulting draft to the president’s office for final review and approval (including any rationale for the elimination of a policy)

k.  Physical and electronic files will be maintained by the chair of the UPC that contain pertinent backup materials applicable to the development of each new policy and procedure (as well as the elimination of any policy)

l.  Once the president has approved a final draft, the chair of the UPC will ensure that the new policy is published to the web-based Manual of Policies and Procedures.  The president will evaluate and, where applicable, provide approval of deleted policies. The UPC chair will also ensure that deleted policies are archived and will unpublish the policy. 

m.  A notice will be sent to the University Policy Listserv of any new, revised or deleted policies. (any employee may gain access to the listserv by visiting the landing page of the Manual of Policies and Procedures and clicking on “subscribe to the Policy ListServ”)

6.3 Emergency Policy Implementation (Fast-track)
It may be necessary to rapidly establish or modify a policy due to natural or man-made disaster, fiscal exigency, substantial legal changes or government mandates.  The above-listed procedures will be modified to include only those steps necessary to implement such a policy (or policy change) on a timely basis. The comments period will not be included in any fast-track policy review. It may be necessary to fast-track the elimination of a policy. For example, a statute may change that will force JMU out of compliance if a related policy continues to be maintained.

6.4 Information about new or changed policies will be announced campus-wide using the Policy Change Notification Template.  To keep the university community current on campus-wide policies, the UPC will distribute updates twice a year. During each fall and spring semester, a list of policy additions and revisions finalized during the previous semester will be posted on the UPC website, and summary information will be announced in the HR newsletter.

The policy change notification email will include four sections:

New Policies: Including policy number, name and URL.

Minor Policy Changes: Including policy number, name, URL and a brief description of the changes made.

Substantial Policy Changes: Including policy number, name, URL and a brief description of the changes made.

Deleted Policies: Including policy number and name and rationale for deletion.

A date range representing the dates of the policy activity will be included, as well as contact information for the chair of UPC.

6.5 The UPC schedules a regular cyclical review of all university policies, ideally resulting in a review of each policy approximately every 18-24 months.

6.6 The UPC may make changes to policies in the process of updating them. When these changes are considered by the committee to be minor, cosmetic and/or related to form and style, the committee may decide to forego the vice presidential staffing and comment process described above and update the policies on the web-based Manual of Policies and Procedures directly without the approval of the vice presidents or president.

7. RESPONSIBILITIES

The AVP for HR, Training and Performance has been identified as the manager responsible for the collection, review and distribution of new and revised policies.

The UPC assists in this process. Members of the committee are responsible for identifying areas within their divisions that are in need of new or revised policies, for recommending appropriate policies and for reviewing university-wide policies.

The vice presidents review new and substantially updated policies and provide related feedback on a timely basis when requested. 

The heads of academic units and departments are responsible for assuring adherence to established policies in the conduct of their area’s affairs. They are also responsible for directing the appropriate individuals on their staffs to the UPC.

Only the president has the authority to issue university policies.

Employees are responsible for adhering to all policies and for informing their respective directors and academic unit and department heads if they feel that a substantial change must be made to a university policy.

Stakeholders are responsible for reading listserv announcements, obtaining comments from the groups they represent and for communicating suggestions to the University Policy Committee.

8. SANCTIONS

Any sanction for violation of a policy should be listed in that policy.

Sanctions will be commensurate with the severity and/or frequency of the offense and may include termination of employment for employees, expulsion from the university for students, removal of affiliate status for affiliates, loss of privileges, and/or no trespass orders for any individual.

9. EXCLUSIONS

The president has the authority to sign into effect, waive or temporarily alter any policy necessary to address an emergency or temporary situation, without utilizing the procedures outlined in this policy.

In the absence of the president and with the support of the other vice presidents, the vice president who is in a supervisory or reviewer status over the responsible officer listed for the policy may temporarily sign a policy into effect in an emergency, subject to ratification by the president. If the president fails to ratify the temporary policy by signing it within three months, it will automatically become void.

10. INTERPRETATION

The authority to interpret this policy rests with the president and is generally delegated to the assistant vice president for HR, training and performance.

Previous version: September 2014
Approved by the President: August 2014


Appendix
Template for Policies
Policy Change Notification Template

__________________________________________________________________________________

Appendix I

Manual of Policies and Procedures
Template for Policies

Policy #  - A number provided by the University Policy Committee (UPC) on initial inception of the policy.

Title - Official name of the policy.

Date of Current Revision
- Month and year that the latest version of the policy was posted to the web.

Primary Responsible Officer
- Person responsible for accuracy, timeliness and implementation of the policy.

Secondary Responsible Officer -
Person responsible for accuracy, timeliness and implementation of the policy in the absence of the Primary Responsible Officer.

1.  PURPOSE - Subject of the policy and what it is trying to accomplish, in one sentence, if possible.

2.  AUTHORITY - Each policy shall use the same statement, which reads, “The Board of Visitors has been authorized by the Commonwealth of Virginia to govern James Madison University.  See Code of Virginia § 23.1-1600.  The Board has delegated the authority to manage the university to the president.”

STATE OR FEDERAL STATUTE AND /OR REGULATION

Describe the supplemental authority granted by the state or federal government that allows JMU to establish and enforce this policy.

3.  DEFINITIONS - Definitions of words that might be confusing, have different possible meanings, or are being used in a specific way.

4.  APPLICABILITY - Describe to whom the policy applies (board members, administrators, faculty, staff, students, affiliates, visitors, etc.).

5.  POLICY - Describe the policy by phrasing each statement separately in numbered paragraphs of one sentence in length, if possible.

6.  PROCEDURES - Describe the detailed steps associated with implementing the policy.

7.  RESPONSIBILITIES - Describe in detail what offices/individuals (including the office with primary responsibility) have the job of making the policy and procedures work.

8.  SANCTIONS - Describe what happens to violators, including the range of possible punishment.  The following standard statement may be inserted here: “Sanctions will be commensurate with the severity and/or frequency of the offense and may include termination of employment or expulsion from the university.”

9.  EXCLUSIONS - The president has the authority to sign into effect, waive or temporarily alter any policy necessary to address an emergency or temporary situation, without utilizing the procedures outlined in this policy.

In the absence of the president and with the support of the other vice presidents, the vice president who is in a supervisory or reviewer status over the responsible officer listed for the policy may temporarily sign a policy into effect in an emergency, subject to ratification by the president. If the president fails to ratify the temporary policy by signing it within three months, it will automatically become void.

10.  INTERPRETATION - Identify who is empowered to describe what the policy means and how to apply it.

Previous version - The date of the previously posted version of the policy.
Approved by the president - The date that the president last approved the policy.

President’s name and title appear here.


APPROVED:____________________________________DATE:____________

APPENDICES
Anything that would help to implement the policy (i.e., a form or example of a memorandum or a template)

_______________________________________________________________________________________

Appendix II

Policy Change Notification Template

University Policy Committee

Policy Changes Implemented from ___/___/___ through ___/___/___


New Policies: To include policy number, policy name, and URL.

Minor Changes: To include policy number, policy name, URL, and description of changes.

Substantial Changes: To include policy number, policy name, URL, and description of changes.

Deleted Policies: To include policy number, policy name, and rationale for deletion.

Supervisors are required to ensure that all employees (including those without access to e-mail) are aware of university policies (and any policy changes), and all employees are required to adhere to the policies.


*For further information, please contact Rick Larson, Chair, University Policy Committee @ larsonrd@jmu.edu or 8-4248.