You are here: American University University Policies Policy Development Process

Policy Development Process

This Policy addresses the process for developing, issuing, revising and maintaining all American University policies and applies to all university departments, faculty, staff and students. Internal policies that apply to the operations of individual units or departments may not conflict with a University Policy, but may be more restrictive.

The purpose of this Policy is to ensure that the American University community has ready access to well-developed and understandable University Policies. University Policies must be aligned with the university’s mission, values, and goals while enhancing operational efficiency and governance. American University formally approves, issues and maintains in a consistent format, official University Policies in a central Policy library. Individuals engaged in developing and maintaining University Policies must follow the requirements outlined in this document.

The Responsible Office will identify University community members who will be affected by the policy under development and who will help the Responsible Office craft the language for the policy (see Formulation and Issuance of University Policies, Sec. III (F)). These University community members are often referred to as “statekholders”.

Once the execution copy of the policy reaches the Office of General Counsel, it is routed to “Stakeholder Groups”, which are “specific university committees and representative organizations that are routinely provided with formal notice of Policy changes. Stakeholder Groups include, but are not limited to President’s Council, American University Student Government (AUSG), Washington College of Law Student Bar Association (SBA), Graduate Leadership Council (GLC), President’s Council on Diversity & Inclusion (PCDI), Faculty Senate, and Staff Council. 

The purpose of routing the policy to these groups, is to inform them of the finalization of the policy and allow them the opportunity to provide any relevant feedback. 

The comments gathered from the Stakeholder Groups are sent to the Responsible Executive, who reviews the feedback provided, and determines whether changes should be made to the policy. The amount of time it takes to make this decision can vary depending on the department reviewing the comments. However, the goal is to update and finalize the policy within two weeks of receiving comments.  Once OGC receives the final executed version of the policy, it is posted to the University Policy Library, and an announcement is sent out to the Stakeholder Groups notifying them of the policy posting.

Most policies require only the approval of the Responsible Executive to become effective.  However, certain Policies that have broad institutional impact, may require the preparation and submission of a decision memo to the President prior to finalization. When the draft Policy is ready for final review and approval, the Responsible Executive will submit the draft Policy along with a decision memo to the President. A select few Policies require Board of Trustee approval, such as the Faculty Manual and the Gift Policy, will be forwarded by the Responsible Executive to the Board Secretary for placement on the Board’s meeting agenda.

Once the Policy is approved and signed by the Responsible Executive, OGC will notify the Stakeholder Groups Listed below and the Responsible Executive, place the final version in the Policy Library on the University Policy website, and appropriately archive all prior versions of the new Policies.

Stakeholder Groups:

AUSG, SBA, GLC, Staff Council, Faculty Senate, PCDI and President's Council

The Responsible Office is tasked with coordinating any necessary supplemental communication about a new or revised Policy to specific Stakeholders.

A University Policy, also referred to as “Policy”, is a statement of management philosophy and direction, established to provide guidance and assistance to the university community in the conduct of university affairs. A University Policy is a governing principle that typically mandates or constrains actions, has institution-wide application, changes infrequently and sets a course for the foreseeable future, helps ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations, reduces institutional risk, and is approved at the executive levels of the university (president, provost, vice presidents) or Board of Trustees. The term “University Policy” or Policy does not include Board of Trustees’ policies, Academic Regulations, and the Faculty Manual.

Please refer to the Procedures for Formulation and Issuance of University Policies, Section B (4) for guidance on this matter.
“a shortened or extended period will be allowed at the discretion of the Vice President and General Counsel if the particular circumstances require it. Such exceptions will be granted only when practicable or required to ensure compliance with laws or regulations; however, mere failure to initiate the policy review process in a timely manner is not an acceptable justification.”