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Policy Toolkit (Beta Test)

Policy Lifecycle

policy lifecycle

Frequently Asked Questions

Who do I contact if I have a question about an administrative policy or procedure?

If a telephone number or email address cannot be found within the Contacts section or in the text of the document, contact the Responsible Office listed beneath the heading. For general questions or comments, contact the Campus Policy Coordinator, (858) 534-3395.

Why would an administrative policy refer to both the university and the campus as separate sources for policy information?

The University of California Office of the President (UCOP) develops policies for the entire UC system. Authorized campus offices implement those policies for the UC San Diego campus. Campus policies, procedures and guidelines may be more detailed and restrictive than the UCOP systemwide policy.

How are administrative policies issued, and what is the source of the authority?

Administrative policy and procedure sections are issued as described in Policy and Procedures Manual (PPM) PPM 20.1 (under revision). Owners are responsible for keeping their sections up-to-date and aligned with systemwide policy. There may be several owners across coordinating points for an individual section. The authority for policies originates at Office of the President and is communicated through various UC San Diego campus and UC systemwide sources.

What is a UC San Diego campus policy?

A campus policy is a document that: (1) states the campus position on a particular issue, and (2) includes procedures for compliance. A campus policy is defined by all of the following criteria:

  • It has campus-wide application
  • It helps achieve compliance with applicable laws and regulations, promotes operational efficiencies, enhances the campus’ mission, or reduces institutional risks
  • It mandates actions or constraints and contains specific procedures for compliance
  • The subject matter requires Chancellor, Campus Counsel, and Executive Officer review and approval for policy issuance and major changes

If a policy fits these criteria, it is a campus policy. If it does not, it is a departmental, office, or unit policy, procedure or guideline.

What is the role of a Policy Owner?

The Policy Owner is responsible for developing the policy, obtaining the required approvals, and ensuring the policy is implemented, monitored, and reviewed. This position may also be the departmental contact for questions about the policy.

I have completed a minor revision of a policy managed by my department. Can I make the change without going through this process?

Unless it is merely a change to a position title or other technical change, every new, revised, or rescinded/withdrawn policy must be approved by the Chancellor.

What’s the difference between a guideline and a policy?

At UC San Diego, an administrative policy:

  • Is a governing principle that mandates or constrains actions
  • Applies across the UC San Diego campus
  • Helps ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations, university policies and Board of Regents Bylaws, Standing Orders or Policies (governing documents)
  • Enhances the university's mission, promotes operational efficiencies, or manages university risk
  • Endures from one administration to another and sets a course for the foreseeable future

A guideline is a statement by which to determine a course of action. A guideline aims to streamline particular processes according to a set routine or sound practice. By definition, following a guideline is never mandatory. Guidelines are not binding and are not enforced.

What is the process for drafting a new policy?

A department that wishes to sponsor a new administrative policy and/or procedure should:

  1. Consult with other affected campus departments and staff to develop a well-rounded draft.
  2. Submit the draft to Policy and Records Administration who will determine the level of review needed, recommend revisions and reformatting as an administrative policy and procedure, and upon completion of the review, forward a final version to the appropriate Issuing Officer for initial approval. The policy will then be submitted for formal Chancellor approval.

When are new policies added?

New policies generally arise from requirements imposed on the campus by the legislature or by the UC Office of the President. They may also enable a department to provide guidance or control in a specific area applicable to all campus entities. Such policies and procedures may be added to the Administrative Policies & Procedures Manual.

Who is responsible for policies and procedures?

The Responsible Department/ Issuing Office, listed at the top of each PPM, designate a Responsible Policy Officer who is responsible for the content and administration of that policy/procedure. The Campus Policy Coordinator coordinates with Responsible Departments in the review, update, rescission (withdrawal), and publication of PPMs.

Commonly Used Policy Terms

Effective Date: The date which the current policy enters into force.

Guidelines: Written, best practices for implementing a policy. Guidelines are freestanding and are maintained by the department on their departmental web portal, with links to the guidelines provided in the corresponding policy.

Issuance Date: The date a policy is posted in the online Policy & Procedure Manual.

Policy Approval Process: The Chancellor policy submission and review process. This includes review by the Chancellor, Campus Counsel, and appropriate Vice Chancellor(s). All new and revised UC San Diego policies are required to go through the Chancellor Policy Approval Process, except for those policies undergoing technical changes.

Policy Owner (PO): The individual (by position) who is the subject matter expert and is responsible for policy interpretation or other general questions for a particular policy. Policy Owners are designated by the Responsible Officer/Office (RO).

Procedure: A step-by-step description of the tasks required to support and carry out organizational policies. Procedures are freestanding documents located on the departmental website, with links provided in the corresponding UC San Diego Policy and Procedure Manual. A quick comparison between a policy and procedure is found in the UC San Diego Policy Toolkit.

Policy Template (Template): The approved format and style for all UC San Diego Policy and Procedure Manual campus policies.

Rescission: The decommissioning or withdrawal of a policy that is no longer needed or is more effectively combined with another policy.

Responsible Office/Issuing Office/Officer (RO): A person designated by the Chancellor as responsible for the high-level oversight of UC San Diego policy(s) that naturally fall within his/her areas of responsibility.

Review Date: A date when a policy will next be formally reviewed for technical, formatting, and substantive content.

Stakeholder(s): A constituency or functional group with a substantive interest in the policy or its implementation. Responsible Officers may identify an individual or organization, whose university role or professional expertise relates to the subject of the policy, and who, therefore, is consulted for comment on its draft.

Supersedes: The calendar date of the policy which immediately preceded the current policy.

Technical Changes: Includes title changes due to UC San Diego reorganization, or any additions or deletions that do not materially change the policy's intent. These changes do not require full policy review.

Universitywide Policy Office (UPO): Within University of California Office of the President, Ethics, Compliance and Audit Services Unit. This office coordinates the University Systemwide Policy Process and staffs the Policy Advisory Committee and Policy Steering Committee.

Policy vs. Procedure

How to Determine Whether a Statement is a Policy or a Procedure

Qualities of a Policy

Policies are guiding principles that express the institutional culture, goals, and philosophy. Policies promote consistency and operational efficiency, enhance the university’s mission and mitigate significant institutional risk. Policies allow for some discretion by guiding decision making and limiting or setting parameters or choices.

Because policies typically require extensive review and executive-level approval, we encourage policy writers to separate policies from procedures in university policy documents.

Qualities of a Procedure

Procedures are the operational processes necessary to implement institutional policy. They define the specific instructions necessary to perform the task. They detail:

  • "Who" performs the procedure
  • "What" steps should be taken
  • "When" steps should be taken
  • "How" steps should be performed

Have widespread application

Have a narrow focus

Are non-negotiable, change infrequently

Are subject to change and continuous improvement

Are expressed in broad terms

Are a more detailed description of activities

Are statements of what and/or why

Are statements of how, when and/or who and what

Address major operational issues

Detail a process

Policy Template