New website offers easy access to University policies
New website offers easy access to University policiesSeptember 21, 2007Kevin Morrowkdmorrow@syr.edu
Syracuse University has a new directory of information on institutional policies. The new University Policies website (http://supolicies.syr.edu) becomes operational on Monday, Sept. 24, offering easy-to-navigate access to a wealth of documentation on the University’s official policies.
With the launch of the new website, the previously existing Administrative Policy Manual — created years ago as a printed document and later transferred to the Web — has been decommissioned. The policies on the new website are the official versions and take priority over any inconsistent or conflicting versions appearing elsewhere.
The process of creating the University Policies website began more than two years ago — in spring 2005 — with a directive from the University’s Board of Trustees and Chancellor and President Nancy Cantor. The purpose was not to create new policies, but rather to review the hundreds of existing policy documents; standardize the policy format; eliminate redundancies; improve the online organization, accessibility, and search and navigation capabilities; clarify the processes for submitting new policies and revising existing policies; and link to and coordinate with existing policies in the Faculty Manual, the Student Handbook, the Academic Rules and Regulations, and those established through the University Senate.
A project team, led by Eleanor Ware, secretary to the board and senior vice president for human services and government relations, reviewed policies from the Administrative Policy Manual and others submitted by all divisions of the University or residing on individual websites. If edits were recommended, the team worked with the appropriate department(s) and, when necessary, legal counsel to discuss and finalize the edits. As much as possible, redundancies were eliminated and multiple policies relating to the same topic were combined where appropriate.
The team also examined policy sites at several private and public universities across the country to identify and adopt those institutions’ best practices. Among the sites used as models were those of Case Western Reserve University, Cornell University, Northwestern University, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Southern California.
The University Policies website organizes the institutional policies into nine broad categories that can then be navigated to find more specific policy documents:
- University Ethics, Integrity, and Legal Compliance
- Faculty, Teaching, and Research
- Employment, Benefits, and Workplace
- Administrative and Financial
- Information Technology
- University Facilities, Equipment, and Property
- Public Safety and Environmental Health and Safety
- University Senate Policies
The new format for each individual policy includes the policy statement itself; its scope and effective or revised date; policy administration; and links to related policies, procedures, forms and other information.
The website also provides direction for submitting a new or revised policy for review and for reporting policy violations. And it features a keyword search function.
The University Policies website remains an ongoing project, Ware says, as some cleanup/review work remains to be done and new policies are submitted for consideration.
Ware encourages members of the University community to visit the website and bookmark it for handy reference. In addition, academic and administrative units should consider adding a link to the University Policies home page from their own home pages. And, those responsible for Web maintenance will want to update any links to individual policies in the decommissioned Administrative Policy Manual to the new site and policies.