Policy Management Policy

The university has established a Policy Management Policy that governs the development, approval, maintenance, revision and withdrawal of all university policies, including those adopted by schools, colleges, divisions, departments and other units. The key provisions of the policy are summarized below. Click on an arrow or heading below to open and close each section. To open linked items in any section, click on the link or right click if you prefer to open the item in a new tab or window. 

Policy Approval Authority

The university president has sole authority to approve university policies (including policy revisions and withdrawals), unless the president has delegated policy approval authority to other St. Thomas employees or the university’s board of trustees has reserved such authority to itself.

The president has retained or delegated policy approval authority as set forth in the following table. University policies that are not described in the table below are subject to the president’s direct approval, unless the president delegates approval authority to another person in writing. The president retains authority to require revision or withdrawal of university policies approved pursuant to delegated authority, at the president’s discretion.

Policy CategoryDescriptionAuthorized Approver
Institutional Policies Policies that apply to all students and employees (faculty, staff and student workers) regardless of unit, that do not fall into another category below* President (subject to the authority of the board of trustees)
Employee Policies Policies that apply only to employees (faculty, staff and student workers), regardless of unit, and that do not govern areas of primary faculty responsibility as set forth in the Faculty Handbook* President (subject to the authority of the board of trustees)
Staff Policies Policies that apply only to staff employees, regardless of unit, and that do not govern areas of primary faculty responsibility as set forth in the Faculty Handbook* President
Faculty Handbook Documented standards and expectations with respect to areas of primary faculty responsibility as set forth in the Faculty Handbook, which are contained in the Faculty Handbook President, following approval of the faculty in accordance with the terms of the Faculty Handbook
Academic Policies Documented standards and expectations with respect to areas of primary faculty responsibility as set forth in the Faculty Handbook, which are not contained in the Faculty Handbook President, following approval of the faculty in accordance with the terms of the Faculty Handbook
Unit Policies Policies that address operational responsibilities and services managed by a particular unit (such as enrollment, food service, government relations, or purchasing and payables) or apply only to employees and/or students of a particular unit, or to persons served by a particular unit, that set directions and expectations for fulfilling that unit’s operational responsibilities or for working, enrolling or receiving services from that unit President’s cabinet member with the most direct management responsibility for the unit establishing the policy
Student Policies Policies that apply only to students in their capacity as students, or to student organizations, and that do not govern areas of primary faculty responsibility as set forth in the Faculty Handbook President’s cabinet member with the most direct management responsibility for the unit establishing the policy
Student Worker Policies Policies that apply only to student workers, regardless of unit, and that do not apply to other university employees Chief human resources officer

*Covered persons under these policies also may include independent contractors, volunteers, licensees, visitors and/or trustees of St. Thomas, depending on the subject matter of the policy.

 

Policy Development, Revision and Withdrawal

Regular Process

In order to be considered by the president for approval, university policies must be developed, revised and withdrawn in accordance with the policy management process specified in the Policy Management Policy and related procedures. That process is coordinated by the University Policy Advisory Committee (UPAC).

The development, revision, and withdrawal of university policies that do not require the president’s approval are not required to follow a particular process, and the authorized approver may specify a process at the approver’s discretion. Policy owners who undertake the development or revision of university policies that do not require the president’s approval are strongly encouraged to consult with the Office of General Counsel (OGC) early in the process, to assure that any legal or compliance considerations are addressed and that the proposed policy, revision or withdrawal does not conflict with established university policies or policies under development for the president’s approval. OGC also can provide drafting assistance.

Fast-Track Process

From time to time, university policies may need to be revised to correct a typographical error, update a position title or reflect other changes in the university’s operating structure, or make other non-substantive changes to maintain the currency of the policy. For institutional, employee and staff policies, such changes may be requested by the policy owner and implemented by the UPAC, without further approval of the president. For documented standards and expectations with respect to areas of primary faculty responsibility as set forth in the Faculty Handbook, such changes must be made in accordance with the Faculty Handbook.

In some situations, such as in a campus emergency, or upon substantial sudden changes in the university’s operations or government or legal mandates, it may be necessary to rapidly establish, modify or withdraw a university policy. In such cases, at the president’s discretion and as permitted by the terms of the Faculty Handbook, the president may approve a policy, revision or withdrawal following consultation only with OGC. Other steps in the policy management process will be followed to the extent consistent with timely implementation of the policy, and appropriate constituencies who did not have the opportunity to provide input prior to implementation will have the opportunity to do so after implementation. The president may approve subsequent policy changes as appropriate to incorporate such input.

Policy Objectives, Content and Format

To ensure that university policies meet the university’s objectives and that covered persons can easily identify and understand the university policies that apply to them, all university policies must comply with certain content and format requirements set forth in the Policy Management Policy. If you have questions about these requirements, please contact UPAC.

Policy Publication and Access

The most current version of all university policies subject to the president’s approval, along with any related procedures and FAQs, must be published in the University Policy Repository. The most current version of university policies that are not subject to the president’s approval must be published electronically either in the repository or in another remotely accessible location (e.g., a website, shared drive or shared university system) that is easily located, searchable and accessible by:

  1. all persons to whom the policy applies and their supervisors,
  2. the Department of Human Resources,
  3. the Office of General Counsel, and
  4. members of the University Policy Advisory Committee.

This assures that all persons covered by university policies and all St. Thomas employees whose responsibilities include the interpretation, enforcement and coordination of policies can easily find and access them.

Policies that have been superseded or withdrawn must be removed from publication or identified as no longer in effect.

Following the launch of the new University Policy Repository in 2017, the UPAC is working with units to transfer appropriate policies from unit websites to the repository. Following this transition, units may not duplicate, summarize or excerpt policies contained in the University Policy Repository on another webpage, in college or school handbooks, or in another electronic location, but may refer or hyperlink to the policy as titled and contained in the repository. Exceptions may be granted on a limited basis, depending on the particular facts and circumstances, at the discretion of the Office of General Counsel.

Policy Maintenance

University policies must be reviewed on a regular basis, generally no less frequently than every three years, to assure the policy continues to be current and effective. Policy owners are responsible for carrying out the regular review of policies they own.

The University Policy Advisory Committee may establish and maintain a regular review schedule for institutional, employee and staff policies. If you have questions about the review schedule for a particular policy, contact the policy owner or UPAC.