Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Policy Program?
NAU has launched a comprehensive effort to re-examine, refresh, and strengthen its administrative policy-making system. This work began in August, 2017. The initial phases include the implementation of a policy on policies to guide University Policy development and administration going forward, the creation of this centralized online policy library that will eventually house all University Policies and related materials, and a substantial communications, outreach, and engagement effort across the entire campus in support of these efforts. The ultimate goal is to implement higher education policy-related best practices and to foster a healthy and positive policy culture at NAU.
What is the University Policy Library?
The University Policy Library is NAU’s online repository for all University Policies and their ancillary documents. All such materials will be relocated to the library, which will service as the University’s official source of university-level policies. The library will eventually include an advanced search function capable of searching the content of each resource held in the library’s database, and will incorporate automatic archiving and a “time machine” function that allows users to determine the policy environment that existing on a particular day in the past. Please use the feedback form if you would like to offer a suggestion about how the University Policy Library might be improved or expanded.
What is a University Policy?
University Policies are formally approved internal directives that: 1) support NAU’s mission and goals; 2) have broad application across one or more of the University’s areas or functions; 3) extend provisions for University community members or set behavioral expectations by imposing duties, obligations, mandates, or constraints; 4) help achieve compliance with applicable internal or external guidance; 5) help manage or mitigate institutional risk; 6) are administered on a day-to-day basis by a Responsible Office; 7) are sponsored, recommended for approval, and overseen by a senior Responsible Executive; 8) are reviewed by the President’s Executive Team; and 9) are approved by the President or the President’s duly authorized designee. University Policies are often accompanied by mandatory procedures for accomplishing given tasks.
What is an Academic Policy?
In contrast to University Policies, Academic Polices are those that directly relate to NAU pedagogical mission and are part of the Academic Catalog. The Academic Standards Committee of the Faculty Senate is charged with developing and administering Academic Policies that apply to undergraduate students. The Graduate College’s University Graduate Committee is responsible for Academic Policies that pertain to graduate students. The policy on policies does not apply to or govern Academic Policies.
What are Unit-Level Policies?
Unit-Level Policies are developed by and are only applicable to Northern Arizona University’s subunits, such as divisions, colleges, departments, offices, programs, or an activity. Neither the Policy Advisory Committee nor the Director for Policy provide support for Unit-Level Policy development or administration, and they are not housed within the University Policy Library. The policy on policies does not apply to or govern Unit-Level Policies.
What is the University Policy template?
The University Policy template provides the form for University Policies. All University Policies, to the maximum extent practicable, will eventually be reformatted according to the template’s standardized requirements.
How long will the University Policy Library transition take?
The policy program, which includes the reformatting and relocation of all University Policy documents and related materials to the University Policy Library, is a significant undertaking that will take substantial time to complete. The effort began in August, 2017 and is ongoing.
How do I display a University Policy on my web page?
For now, please link to the policy’s “landing page” within the policy library, not directly to the policy document (.pdf) itself. This will support NAU’s ongoing effort to remove duplicates or outdated policies from all other web pages. This is necessary to eliminate confusion about which policy document is the current, official version, and to reduce website-related maintenance tasks. Future versions of the University Policy Library will provide the ability to display excerpts of policies from the library on other NAU web pages. The goal is to achieve a system where updates to official policies in the library automatically propagate across all NAU web pages that might cite or excerpt from a policy document.
What is a Responsible Executive and Responsible Office?
Under the policy on policies, each University Policy is “owned” jointly by at least one, and sometimes multiple, Responsible Executives and Responsible Offices who share subject matter or administrative jurisdiction for the policy and its requirements. See the policy on policies for a full explanation of the Responsible Executive and Responsible Office roles and responsibilities.
Can I propose a new policy or an improvement to an existing policy?
Yes. Anyone may propose a new University Policy or a policy revision by preparing an Impact Statement. You might wish to start by viewing the Process Menu and reading the policy on policies. To officially advance, policy ideas must then be “sponsored” by the prospective Responsible Executive, who will assign the proposal to the appropriate Responsible Office for investigation and review. For assistance, speak with your policy liaison or the Director for Policy.
Can I post a “Unit-Level Policy” in the University Policy Library?
No. The University Policy Library only houses university-level policy documents, known as “University Policies,” and their related materials. Unit-Level Policies should be posted on the unit’s web pages.
How do University Policy “updates” and “revisions” differ?
“Updates” are technical corrections to University Policy documents implemented by the Director for Policy that do not alter the policy’s underlying intent, purposes, or meaning. Policy “revisions” are material changes to a policy that require a new policy development, consideration, and approval process to implement. See Section 2(F) of the policy on policies for the full definition of these important terms. And please help by using the feedback form to let us know of any document errors that need our attention.
What is the difference between a “policy” and a “procedure”?
A policy is an internal governing directive that establishes what should be done. A procedure is a prescribed way of accomplishing a a given task. NAU has chosen to separate its university-level policies and procedures into separate documents. Thus, procedures accompany, extend, and with a few rare exceptions, always form part of a policy. Procedures help determine how policies are put into effect.
What if policies conflict with each other or with external mandates?
NAU’s policies must comply with all applicable superior authorities. Additional information is available on the Policy Hierarchy page.
Why are certain terms capitalized on this website?
Certain special terms are capitalized throughout this website, just as they are in University Policy documents, to indicate that they have been given a particularized or technical meaning under an NAU policy. Each University Policy document includes a “Definitions” section that identifies such special terms used therein. For purposes of interpreting words and phrases in University Policies that are not otherwise defined, everyday and common usages and understandings apply, and external sources may be consulted for guidance.
Don’t see a question you would like answered? Send us an email.
Read the policy on policies to learn how University Policies are developed and administered.
Do you have a policy idea you would like considered? Prepare an Impact Statement.
Use the feedback form to provide input about a policy document or this library.