30 Policy Development and Review

Approved by Board of Trustees
Effective Date: June 5, 2017
Responsible Division: President
Responsible Office:  Office of the University Counsel
Responsible Officer:  University Counsel

I. Purpose

This policy provides for an orderly process of creating, drafting, revising, reviewing, and adopting policies for the governance and management of the University. A policy advances the mission as an institution of higher education by providing for compliance with applicable laws, ethical norms, and accepted best practices; the promotion of operational efficiencies; the enhancement of opportunities to achieve the University’s goals; and the reduction of institutional risks. Policies for Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU or University) will be classified as either Board policies or University policies.                   

II. Scope

The responsibility for the development and revision of Board policies, as defined below, rests solely with the Board of Trustees (Board). Therefore, this University policy and its procedures do not apply to Board policies. 

III. Definitions

A.  Board of Trustees Policy (Board Policy). Board policies relate solely to the organization, administration, and responsibilities of the Board as the body that governs the University. 

B.  University Policy. A statement of general principle, plan, or course of action that guides the University, its employees, and students in the management of duties and responsibilities, obligations, and expectations.

C.  Initiator. The budgetary head or University committee that creates a proposal for a new policy or changes in an existing policy. The Board, or a Board committee, may also be an initiator by directing the Provost, a Vice President, or the University Counsel to draft or revise a policy.

D.  Responsible Office. The University unit responsible for developing, coordinating, and maintaining a University policy.

E.  Responsible Officer. The individual responsible for developing, coordinating, and maintaining the policy.

IV. Responsibility

The Provost and each Vice President have the overall responsibility for ensuring that policies falling within their area of responsibility are accurate and kept current. The Office of the University Counsel is similarly responsible for policies concerning governance and compliance, and general and miscellaneous policies not otherwise the responsibility of the Provost or a Vice President. The Office of the University Counsel is also responsible for maintaining the University policy website.

V. Procedure

A.  Initiating a New Policy or Policy Revision. The initiator will initiate proposals for new policies or changes in existing policies (proposal) through the Provost, the appropriate Vice President, or the University Counsel. The Board or a Board committee may also direct that a policy be drafted or revised. Along with the draft, the initiator should indicate the basis for, and explanation of, the proposal. Questions regarding the substance of the proposal should be directed to the initiator through the Provost, Vice President, or the University Counsel, as appropriate.

B.  Review. It is the responsibility of the Provost, appropriate Vice President, or the University Counsel to make certain that proposals are in compliance with existing University policies and any applicable federal or state statutes. All proposals must be submitted by the Provost or appropriate Vice President to the Office of the University Counsel for initial review and proposed revision.

The draft of the proposal will then be provided to the Provost and Vice Presidents, who may share the draft with other appropriate staff for review and comments. The Provost will solicit input from faculty on policies related to academic affairs by providing copies to the Faculty Senate or appropriate University committees for review. As deemed appropriate, the Vice President for Student Affairs will solicit input from the Student Government Association on policies related to student affairs. These comments will be taken into consideration during the review process.

The proposal will be revised and reviewed as needed and, once a final draft is reached, will be submitted to the Provost and the Vice Presidents for review and approval. After approval by the Provost and Vice Presidents, the proposal will be sent to the Office of the University Counsel which will then present the proposal to the campus for a thirty (30)-day comment period. Comments submitted will be considered and additional revisions made, as deemed appropriate. If additional revisions are made, the Provost and Vice Presidents will again review and approve the draft. If it is an academic affairs policy, the Provost will bring it to the attention of the Faculty Senate.

New policies, or changes to existing policies, may be implemented prior to the conclusion of the comment period where quick implementation is necessary. Comments submitted by the campus community will still be considered and, where needed, further revisions will be made. 

C.  Review and Approval by the President. The Office of the University Counsel will prepare the final draft of the new or revised policy for review and approval by the President. If the policy relates to a responsibility that the Board has delegated to the President, the President’s approval is the final step in the process. Once approved, the policy will be posted to the University policy website.

D.  Review and Approval by the Board. Certain policies will be designated by the Board to require the Board’s review and approval prior to implementation. After the process provided above has been completed, the President will forward the new policy or policy revision to the appropriate Board committee for consideration and recommendation to the Board for approval. 

E.  Publication. When a policy becomes final (or at a later-designated date), a notice will be provided to the campus community, and the policy will be posted to the University policy website.

F.  Policy Format. University policies will appear in a standardized format which will include, at a minimum: the policy name and number designation, the effective date of the policy, whether the policy requires Board approval, the Responsible Office and Responsible Officer, a list of dates the policy has been revised, a list of references found within the policy, to include statutes and other University policies, and a list of any forms referenced in the policy.

G.  Exceptions

1.  Exceptions to this process may be made at the direction and discretion of the Board or the President.

2.  As stated above, new policies or changes to existing policies may be implemented prior to the conclusion of the thirty (30)-day campus comment period where quick implementation is necessary. Comments submitted by the campus community will still be considered, and, where needed, further revisions will be made to the policy. 

3. Non-substantive, editorial revisions such as correcting typographical errors, formatting changes, or updating position titles, will only require notice to the Vice Presidents and Provost and will not require a comment period or the President’s or Board’s review and approval.

Forms: none.

Revisions: none.

References: none.