Executive Policy Manual

EP05 – Policy on Policies

Revision Approved November 2, 2022


1.0  Policy and Purpose

Washington State University (WSU, University) follows a uniform process for administrative policymaking. This ensures that system policies are reviewed by appropriate University officials and bodies and approved by the President (or designee) or the Board of Regents if applicable. Following a consistent policymaking process:

  • Promotes operational efficiency and transparency;
  • Facilitates compliance with applicable laws; and
  • Helps ensure that principles of equity and access are an integral part of the process.

2.0  Applicability

This policy applies to systemwide University administrative policies and procedures  that affect many or most University units.

The Office of Policies, Records, and Forms (PRF) publishes these in the following manuals:

This policy does not apply to all other University policies, including the following resources and manuals (however, these often cite to or incorporate policies and procedures that are subject to this policy). The University office that publishes each manual is indicated in parentheses.

3.0  Definitions

Equity Lens Tool. Guiding questions, intended to help ensure the process of policy development and review takes into consideration the policy’s potential impact on inclusion, diversity, equity, and access. The approved equity lens tool is available from PRF.

Major Revisions. Changes in substantive content, scope, or purpose, or any change that is more significant than a minor revision.

Minor Revisions. Editorial changes, such as changes in grammar, punctuation, formatting, and URLs, as well as other changes of similarly low impact, such as changes in titles, office names, or organizational structure (e.g., moving responsibility for a policy/procedure to a different administrative unit).

Responsible Unit. The unit that develops, implements, and administers the policy/ procedure.

Responsible Official. The individual authorized to approve policies on behalf of a responsible unit, typically a vice president or designee.

Policy. A guiding principle, plan, or general course of action, having broad application throughout the University.

Procedure. An established method of implementing a policy.

4.0  Process for New Policies, Major Revisions, and Deletions

Step 1.     E-mail PRF at policies@wsu.edu and provide a brief description of the proposal. PRF provides guidance about the process and other help.

Step 2.     Consult the Equity Lens Tool and the Policy Drafting Tips. If a policy has a potential impact on American Indian or Alaska Native Tribes, members, or land, also refer to EP41 Policy on Tribal Engagement, Consultation, and Consent for Joint WSU-Tribal Research Activities and Projects. For policy deletions, skip to Step 5.

Step 3.     For major revisions and new policies, write an initial draft, or let PRF do the drafting. Templates are available from PRF.

Step 4.     Share the initial draft with the primary offices and University officials involved, as well as offices and individuals indicated by the equity lens tool. Incorporate the feedback. Copy policies@wsu.edu on all e-mails to enable PRF to maintain a record of the policy development process.

At this point, the initial draft is ready to be circulated for review and approval.

Step 5.     Get permission from the responsible official to proceed. (PRF can help determine who this is.)

Step 6.     Equity Lens Review and Preliminary Approval. Send the draft to policies@wsu.edu. PRF does a preliminary equity lens review and may route the draft to campus diversity officers and others suggested by them for a more thorough equity lens review.

PRF also routes the draft for preliminary review and/or approval, which may include one or more of the following, depending on the policy:

  • Attorney General’s Office (AGO)
  • Human Resource Service (HRS)
  • Office of Internal Audit
  • Compliance and Risk Management
  • Office of Research
  • Deans
  • Office of the Provost
  • Faculty Senate
  • Applicable vice presidents, campus chancellors, vice chancellors, and/or designees
  • System leadership

 For policy deletions, PRF does the preliminary equity lens review and preliminary approval process to ensure there are no concerns with the deletion.

PRF summarizes policies under development, review, and equity lens review in the WSU Insider Notices and Announcements on a monthly basis. PRF also provides summaries and links to the drafts of policies in progress to allow anyone at WSU to provide feedback.

Step 7.     Final Approval. Once all feedback is incorporated, PRF checks back with the drafter(s), responsible unit, and responsible official(s) as needed to ensure any changes are acceptable and then routes for final approval as follows:

  • BORPM. The President or designee and the Board of Regents must approve.
  • EPM, BPPM, and SPPM. The President or designee must approve, typically upon the recommendation of the President’s designated policy advisory committee. In some cases, when required by statute or otherwise, Board of Regents approval may be required.

Note: PRF may dispense with any step in this section and use an expedited review and approval process when policy changes are required by law or other extenuating circumstances. At a minimum, the expedited process involves review and approval by the applicable vice president or designee and the President or designee. When required by statute or otherwise, Board of Regents approval also may be required.

Step 8.     Publication: After final approval, PRF publishes the policy/procedure in the designated manual on its official policy website. Other University websites and manuals must link to the PRF website to ensure they have the most current version. University units may, however, publish advisory guidelines on departmental websites to assist with implementation of systemwide policies/procedures.

In the event of a conflict, the following hierarchy applies:

  1. Federal and state laws and regulations;
  2. Systemwide policies/procedures;
  3. Campus or unit-specific policies; then
  4. Advisory guidelines.

5.0  Process for Minor Revisions

Responsible units may submit requests for minor revisions of the BORPM, EPM, BPPM, and/or SPPM to PRF. PRF may also initiate minor revisions. PRF publishes the revisions upon the approval of the responsible official. Presidential approval is not required. E-mail policies@wsu.edu for assistance with making minor revisions.

6.0    Periodic Review Requirements

Responsible units must:

  • Ensure their policies and procedures are up to date;
  • Comprehensively review their policies and procedures at least once every three years; and
  • Monitor their policies and procedures for accuracy, efficiency, and effectiveness.

PRF also sends reminders to the responsible unit when it appears that a policy or procedure needs review. Responsible units making major revisions resulting from review must follow the process in Section 4.0, including equity lens review.

7.0  Resources and Related Policies

Revisions:  Dec. 2022 (Rev. 108); Jan. 2019 (Rev. 82); Oct. 2014 (Rev. 56); Feb. 2008 (Rev. 30); March 2001 – new policy (Rev. 1).