Last Revised: 6 May 2021

Refer Questions to: Office of the Chief Operating Officer and Office of the General Counsel

Scope

This Policy applies to all employees - faculty, teachers, staff, paraprofessionals, student workers, and administrators - in all offices and divisions of Gallaudet University and the Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center (Clerc Center) (collectively, the University). This Policy addresses the process for developing, issuing, revising and maintaining all Gallaudet University Policies and Procedures applicable to the University community.

Policy

This Policy ensures that the University community has access to well-developed and understandable University Policies. University Policies must be aligned with Gallaudet’s mission, values, and goals while enhancing operational efficiency and governance. The University formally approves, issues and maintains in a consistent format, official University Policies and Procedures, as defined below. At minimum, all University Policies and Procedures must be approved by the Responsible Executive and may require additional levels of approval as described. Individuals engaged in developing and maintaining University Policies and Procedures must follow the Procedures outlined in this Policy. The Responsible Executive is responsible for ensuring compliance with this Policy and related Procedures.

Definitions

Policy Statement: is a governing principle that typically instructs or constrains actions, has institution-wide application, changes infrequently and sets a course for the foreseeable future. A Policy Statement helps to ensure compliance with applicable laws, regulations and agency guidance and reduces institutional risk.

Responsible Executive: is the appropriate administrative officer (typically, the president, provost, chiefs, associate provost, dean) whose jurisdiction covers the subject matter of the Policy. The Responsible Executive is responsible for ensuring that the Policy content is aligned with the University’s mission, values, and goals, any applicable ethical standards, and appropriately enhances University governance. The Responsible Executive is accountable for the integrity of a Policy’s principles and compliance with this Policy and related Procedures.

Responsible Office: is the office(s) designated by the Responsible Executive to develop and administer a Policy, communicate with and train the University community on its requirements, and execute its timely updating and revisions.

Stakeholders: are University community members who are affected by the Policy being developed and/or who have subject matter expertise of the area covered by the Policy.

Stakeholder Groups: are specific University committees and representative organizations that are routinely provided with formal notice of A&O Policy changes. Stakeholder Groups include, but are not limited to the Clerc Center Employee Relations Council, Faculty of Color Coalition (FoCC), Faculty Senate, Organization for Equity for Staff of Color (OESOC), Gallaudet Staff Council (GSC), and Student Body Government (SBG), and the Graduate Student Association (GSA).

University Policy (Policy): is a Policy Statement of a management philosophy and direction, which is established to provide guidance and assistance to the community in the conduct of University affairs. At minimum, University Policies must be approved by the Responsible Executive and may require additional levels of approval as described below. Herein, University Policies refers to A&O, Interim A&O and Internal Policies collectively as “Policy” or “Policies.”

University Procedures (Procedures): are guidelines or a series of interrelated steps taken to implement a University Policy. University Procedures are reviewed and updated as necessary to ensure alignment with the most recent revision to a Policy, as well as consistency with all Policies. At minimum, University Procedures must be approved by the Responsible Executive and may require additional levels of approval as described below but generally, do not require formal approval by the Board of Trustees.

A&O Policy: is a University Policy published in the Administration and Operations (A&O) Manual that is applicable to the University community at large and must be approved by the President and Executive Team of the University, and the Board of Trustees, if it has a significant impact on institutional direction, values, priorities and principles and/or on the human, fiscal or physical resources of the institution. An A&O Policy is subject to a heightened approval process as described in the Procedures below.

Interim A&O Policy: is an A&O Policy that is implemented on an interim basis (generally, less than six months) prior to adhering to the heightened A&O approval process in order to address an identified risk or legitimate business need, or in order to comply with existing or new laws, regulations or agency guidance. All Interim A&O Policies must be approved by the President and Executive Team of the University.

Internal Policy: is a University Policy that applies to the operations of individual units or departments. An Internal Policy must be approved by the Responsible Executive, but is not subject to the approval process applicable to A&O Policies (though it is recommended that a similar process is followed). Internal Policies may not conflict with A&O Policies, but may be more restrictive.

Trustee Policy: is a Policy Statement that is adopted by the University Board of Trustees pursuant to the Board of Trustees Bylaws Article II, Section 2.1 in furtherance of its governance responsibilities. Trustee Policies are not University Policies, and as such, are not subject to this Policy or related Procedures.

Procedures for Policy Development, Issuance and Revision

All individuals who are engaged in drafting, approving, revising and disseminating a Policy must adhere to the requirements outlined in the following Procedures. The Responsible Executive is responsible for ensuring compliance with this Policy and related Procedures.

In certain and limited circumstances, a Responsible Executive may implement an Interim A&O Policy, with the President and Executive Team’s approval, in order to address an identified risk or legitimate business need, or in order to comply with existing or new laws, regulations or agency guidance, prior to completing the A&O approval process outlined below. Except in exigent circumstances, Interim A&O Policies may not be extended past six (6) months unless the below A&O approval process has been initiated prior to the expiration of the six (6) month period. Further, Internal Policies that apply to the operations of individual units or departments may not conflict with any A&O Policy, but may be more restrictive.

All Policies must:

  • support the University’s mission, values and goals, including its Bilingual Mission and commitment to equity, diversity and inclusive excellence;
  • achieve accountability by identifying the division, office or program responsible for the Policy;
  • provide faculty, staff, teachers, students and other community members with clear and concise Procedures for implementing the Policy; and
  • document how the University conducts business.

All Policies and Procedures shall be:

  • easy to find, read, and understand;
  • culturally appropriate and sensitive;
  • presented in a common format and made available in American Sign Language and other accessible formats upon request;
  • maintained centrally and electronically;
  • accessible to all interested parties;
  • linked electronically to any additional procedures or guidance for implementing the Policy;
  • formally sponsored, reviewed and approved by the Responsible Executive, and if applicable, the President, Executive Team and/or Board of Trustees; and
  • kept current within the framework of an organized system of change management.

All A&O Policy Development, Issuance and Revision Must Follow this Process:

Approval Flow Chart

Identify a Need: any individual, department or unit may identify the need for a new or revised A&O Policy. The Responsible Executive must agree to sponsor its development and if so, decides its relative priority and development timeline.

Draft/Revise: the Responsible Executive appoints the Responsible Office(s) to consult with the Office of the General Counsel (OGC) in developing or revising the A&O Policy or Interim A&O Policy. The Responsible Office(s) will identify key Stakeholders and if appropriate, external subject matter experts, who will be consulted during the drafting process.

Legal Review: the Responsible Executive submits the proposed A&O Policy to the OGC for legal review. Legal feedback is incorporated, as appropriate, by the Responsible Office(s). This step may be repeated and/or expedited as needed.

Stakeholder Groups Review: the Responsible Executive identifies the appropriate Stakeholder Groups that should be provided formal notice and an opportunity to comment prior to the implementation of the proposed A&O Policy. Stakeholder Groups feedback is incorporated, as appropriate, by the Responsible Office(s).

Executive Team Review: the Responsible Executive provides members of the Executive Team and the President with an opportunity to review and comment on the nature, relative impact, and scope of the proposed Policy, as appropriate. Executive Team Feedback is recorded by the Responsible Executive and incorporated, as appropriate, by the Responsible Office(s). The proposed Policy is sent to OGC for a final review. This step may be repeated and/or expedited as needed.

Approval: the Responsible Executive submits the proposed Policy to the COO and OGC for final review and approval. If Board of Trustees approval is required, the COO will present the proposed Policy to the Board of Trustees at the next scheduled meeting or will request that the Executive Committee meet to approve the proposal Policy. When the final Policy is approved by all required parties, the Responsible Executive sends the signed final copy to the COO and OGC for publication and maintenance.

Maintenance and Oversight of Policies and Procedures

The Office of the Chief Operating Officer (COO) oversees and serves as the administrator of the A&O Manual. The COO or their designee serves as the custodian of all current, revised and prior archived A&O and Interim A&O Policies, including supporting documents, in order to promote compliance and accountability.

The Responsible Executive oversees and manages all Internal Policy formulation, approval, and issuance within their jurisdiction. The Responsible Executive determines the review cycle of each policy, and at minimum, it is recommended that policies are reviewed triennially. The Responsible Executive or their designee serves as the custodian of all current, revised or prior archived Internal Policies, including supporting documents, in order to promote compliance and accountability. Additionally, the Responsible Executive is responsible for the A&O Policy formulation, approval, and issuance process.

The OGC oversees the A&O Policy formulation, approval, and issuance process, and tracks A&O and Interim A&O Policies that are under development. The OGC may, when appropriate and at the request of the Responsible Executive, also provide support to the Internal Policy formulation, approval and issuance process.

Substantive Changes to Existing Policies and Procedures

Substantive changes can only be made by following the Procedures set forth in this Policy. In special cases, a Responsible Executive may deem it appropriate to withdraw an existing A&O Policy or implement an Interim A&O Policy, as described above. Such action can only be done with the approval of the President and Executive Team. Non-substantive changes that do not have a direct community impact are exempt from these Procedures and can be made by OGC or the Responsible Executive at any time.

Pre-Existing Policies and Procedures

Policies and related Procedures that pre-exist the establishment of this Policy are still to be maintained in full force and effect; however, future revisions of all pre-existing Policies and related Procedures will conform to the requirements set forth in this Policy.

Compliance

Institutional compliance with all local, state, and federal laws rules, regulations and agency guidance precedes University Policy; therefore, any changes mandated by new legislation or guidance will be made without any consideration to the processes outlined herein.