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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a university policy?

A policy is a governing set of principles that guide University practice.  It helps to ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations, promotes operational efficiencies, enhances the University’s mission and values, and reduces institutional risks.  It has broad application throughout the University community.  It provides a basis for consistent decision making and resource allocation, or a method or course of action selected to guide and determine, present, and future decisions.  It mandates actions or constraints and contains specific procedures to follow. In developing a University policy, consideration should be given to the implications for implementation to ensure that the intent of the policy is achievable, cost effective, and that outcomes can be measured.

What is the difference between a university policy and a departmental policy?

A university policy is a policy that applies university wide, which distinguishes it from policies that pertain to only a particular school or department. 

There are two distinct kinds of University policies:  Board of Trustees policies and campus-based policies.  In general, Board of Trustees policies include those specific actions required by state law, executive orders issued by the Office of the Governor, policy issued by other state agencies, and all other items for which the Board chooses to establish policy. 

The authority to determine which policies require Board of Trustees approval rests with the Office of the President.  All other University policies are by definition campus policies and are approved by the Chancellor or his/her designee.  Any College, Department, or Operational Memoranda cannot supersede or conflict with a campus policy.

How does a policy get drafted?

Any individual (including Deans, Chairs, Center Directors, etc.), group, or campus unit at UMass Dartmouth can identify a campus-wide policy issue and accordingly request that a new policy or procedure be formulated or that changes be made to an existing one.  In both cases, proposals for new or updated policies and procedures are to be submitted initially to the Vice Chancellor having primary responsibility for the policy area.  If the primary responsibility rests directly with the Chancellor, the proposed policy or procedure will be submitted first to the Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance (VCAF) for review and further action.

How does a policy get amended?

Amendments are initiated in the same manner as drafts of new policies.

What is the role of the Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance?

The Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance(VCAF) supports the Chancellor and the Vice Chancellors in implementing and disseminating policy, and in identifying a responsible university office for each policy. The committee works to ensure consistency in the format and presentation of policies; elimination of conflicts between policies to the extent possible; consistency with laws or other external regulation; identification of necessary policies, proper archiving, mission consistency, and ensuring a process for regular review of all policies.

How can I tell the difference between a policy, a procedure and guidelines?

Policies delineate in broad strokes an organization's goals in a certain area of interest. The procedures that correspond to the policy describe exactly how the policy is carried out.

 Procedure:   A procedure is a set of mandatory steps established to implement a University policy and/or to manage a University activity.  It describes a process that must be followed to achieve the desired outcomes.

Guidelines:   Guidelines establish a protocol to manage a particular policy or procedure as it relates to a University activity.

What is the process for input or feedback into new policies?

The Vice Chancellor in whose area the administration of a policy falls is the party responsible for determining who in the university community should review proposed policies, whether new or amended. A draft proposal that is going forward to the Chancellor for approval will be posted on the Policies website under Policies Under Consideration. Any feedback can be sent to the Vice Chancellor or to be forwarded to the appropriate person.

What is the role of the Responsible Office?

The Responsible Office is charged with the administration of the policy.

Who is responsible for compliance with the policies?

Compliance with policies resides with individual managers and Vice Chancellors.

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

Only one version of a university-wide policy may exist and that version resides on the official policies page. 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 web page. Please contact to request a link on your departmental page to the policy that resides on the official policy page.



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