The College believes that policies serve an integral role in supporting its institutional mission, values and vision, and in creating a culture of compliance College-wide for all members of the College community. This policy is intended to decrease risk and increase compliance and consistency across the College as well as make College policies organized and easily accessible to students, faculty and staff so that all individuals are able to educate themselves regarding the College’s policies, procedures, practices, and processes.
Centralized policy management is designed to reduce risk College-wide by helping to make compliance, policies, and access uniform across the College and all of its venues. This policy sets forth the processes by which College policies are developed, drafted, approved, reviewed, amended, implemented, and maintained. A defined policy process that is consistent with best practices enhances operational efficiencies and ensures effective decision-making across the College.
A policy template is included at the end of this policy to be used for all College policies.
This policy applies to all written institutional policies, procedures and/or processes, whether stand-alone documents, those included in broader catalogs or handbooks in other formats.
Aside from a limited number of policies specifically enumerated in the College’s Bylaws that require Board of Trustee review and approval – such as the Conflict of Interest Policy and Contracting Policy – policy authority is vested in the College President. To help ensure the College is complying with applicable federal, state and local laws, regulations as well as other various compliance obligations related to the operations of the College, the College President has charged the Office of the General Counsel with the responsibility and oversight of day-to-day policy management at the College, and may designate other members of the College community to assist in this responsibility. Policy management includes, but is not limited to, the development and drafting of new policies for potential approval, reviews, and updates of existing policies, as well as oversight of the College’s Online Policy Library.
All new College policies shall adhere to the procedures set forth in this policy. Existing College policies will undergo a review to bring them into compliance with this policy. Note, there are certain College faculty policies contained in the faculty handbook that are not covered by this approval/review process.
I. Initiation of a New Policy
The policy making process begins when an individual, department, committee, and/or other source from the College community proposes a new policy. The need for a new policy commonly comes about either reactively due to some event or requirement or is proposed and implemented proactively.
The source of the new policy proposal should contact the Office of the General Counsel at this early stage to discuss the reason(s) for the policy, impact of the policy, and whether an amendment to an existing or similar policy can accomplish the goal of the new policy, among other considerations. When evaluating policy objectives at this initial review stage, considerations include, but are not limited to, legal compliance, regulatory guidance or regulations, operational ease of administration, risk and liability for the College, and is it in the best interest of the College.
II. Policy Drafting and Development
If the proposal of a new policy moves forward, the source of the new policy shall prepare a draft of the policy. The Columbia College Official Policy Template should be used for all new policies institution-wide. All new policies shall follow the consistent format and include, at a minimum, the following sections: Purpose, Scope, and Policy. There is also an internal administrative header section that must be completed.
After drafting, the policy shall be submitted to the Office of the General Counsel and it will be reviewed and edited for formatting, grammar, tone, organization, and consistency with other College policies. The draft may go through multiple versions with various input to ensure it serves its desired purpose and is consistent with this policy and other College policies, as applicable.
The College President may review new policies or amendments to existing policies that have material impacts on College operations or that will result in significant changes. Other minor or non-material additions or changes may not require Presidential review.
III. Policy Implementation, Dissemination and Location of Policies
After the policy receives final approval, depending on the nature of the policy, it may be announced by various means and will typically be communicated to all potential stakeholders – those who will be most involved in the policy’s compliance and/or affected by the policy. Certain policies may also require affirmative steps to train and educate students, faculty, and/or staff.
A key step in the implementation and dissemination stage is for the policy to be easily searchable and accessible for all members of the College community. The College utilizes a centralized, searchable and accessible Online Policy Library where the most up-to-date versions of all official College policies can be found (see section V below for more information).
IV. Policy Maintenance
The College endeavors to review certain policies on a regular basis so that they can be kept current with existing law and regulations, comply with appropriate rules and regulations, and remain current with the dynamic and ever-changing higher education environment. College departments are responsible for reviewing their own policies (at least annually), determining whether any revisions or amendments are necessary, keeping the policies up-to-date, and submitting revised policies for inclusion in the Online Policy Library consistent with this policy.
V. Structure and Organization of the Online Policy Library
The College’s Online Policy Library is the single centralized source where all official College policies are maintained and can be found on the College’s website. The Online Policy Library is easily searchable and College policies are organized in alphabetical order as well as by the following categories based on the application of the policy: (i) students, (ii) employees, and (iii) College-wide. Note that some policies may appear in more than one category. All references to College policies contained and/or set forth in other sources or locations should include hyperlinks to the official College policy found in the Online Policy Library and should not include the text of a policy, in part because the text of the policy could be subject to change. When policies need to be updated, the version found in the Online Policy Library will be updated. To the extent a policy has conflicting versions, the Online Policy Library version of the policy will govern.