Policy Development

Ohio State approves, issues, and maintains all university wide policies using a consistent process and format. A university-wide process provides continuity, ease of access and understanding, input and feedback as policies are formulated, and transparent guidance to the university community. University policies are managed by the Office of University Compliance and Integrity. Contact the policy director, 614-292-8728, policies@osu.edu for additional information.

Ohio State's policy process is guided by these principles:

  1. The university policy process is well-defined, understandable, transparent, and easy to navigate.
  2. The process sets out and follows a timeline for each policy.
  3. University community input and feedback are broadly sought, valued, and appropriately used.
  4. Policy ownership lies with responsible office/executive.
  5. Policy owners are responsible for reviewing, updating, and retiring policies as needed or minimally every five years.
  6. Leaders, supervisors, managers, and individuals are responsible for understanding, implementing, and enforcing university policies, university rules, and unit governing documents.

Criteria to Determine if a Policy May Be Needed

Issues can emerge as a result of federal, state, or local legislation or regulation; incidents or trends that emerge within or outside of the university; a shift in university values or priorities; concerns raised by the university community; or a host of other sources.

Issues that rise to the level that need to be addressed through the university policy process share a number of characteristics that include and are not limited to:

  1. Support the university’s mission, vision, and values.
  2. Apply across the institution.
  3. Establish the university’s position across a range of matters.
  4. Endure across time and administrations; change infrequently; set the course for the foreseeable future.
  5. Support equity, integrity, and simplicity in practices across the institution.
  6. Promote quality and operational efficiency, reduce bureaucracy, and provide guidance for managing the institution.
  7. Ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations.
  8. Must be consistent with university bylaws, rules, and regulations.
  9. Manage institutional risk.

The Policy Process

Proposing a new policy or a revision to a current policy

Proposals for new policies are made using the Policy Proposal form. New policies or updates to current policies can be initiated by contacting the Responsible Office leader or policy coordinator, the policy and training director, or by emailing policies@osu.edu.

Developing a new policy or revising a current policy

Feedback is solicited and integrated from the university community and the University Policy Review Committee. If a policy is substantially changed after the first round of feedback, it may be sent out for a second round of feedback. Final policy drafts are reviewed by Legal Affairs, endorsed by Senior Management Council (SMC), and approved by President’s Cabinet.

Implementing a new or revised policy

Responsible Offices communicate policies to the university community, provide training and information about requirements, and archive superseded policies and associated documents. Responsible Offices collect feedback on policies and ensure that policies are reviewed and updated as needed or at least every five years.

Establishing an interim policy

When a policy is needed in a timeframe that does not allow for the entire policy formulation process, it can be proposed as an interim policy with a Policy Proposal form. Interim policies are approved in 6-month increments, up to 18 months in duration. The interim policy must complete the feedback and approval process within 18 months of its issuance.

Retiring a policy

Responsible Offices propose that a policy be retired when it is no longer needed or is more effectively combined with another policy. Steps in this process include: consultation with the policy and training director and signature of the Responsible Executive, with additional endorsement by Senior Management Council and approval by President’s Cabinet. When the signature process is complete, it is removed from the University Policy website. The policy owner communicates the change in status to the university community.

Archiving a policy

When a policy is revised, edited, or retired, the policy owner sends the superseded policy to University Archives at: noonan.37@osu.edu.


University rule, regulation, or bylaw (rule)

Interchangeable terms used to provide guidance for uniform operation of the university. Provide a detailed framework regarding the organization, administration, and operation of the university, including rules for the faculty, airport administration, classified civil service, physician governance, transportation and parking, university administration, and other matters. Bylaws generally provide a framework for the overall governance of the university and/or establish and define the principal institutions and administrative officers of the university and their roles and responsibilities. Rules, regulations, and bylaws are adopted by the Board of Trustees and become part of chapter 3335 of the Ohio Administrative Code.

University policy

Provides specific direction for operations, administration, or programs. As a general matter, policies are issued and apply university-wide. Developed through the university policy process, policies enhance the university’s mission and operational efficiency, mandate action or constraints, and must be consistent with relevant laws, regulations, bylaws, and rules. Refers to the document generally and is also one of the two major sections (policy, procedure) of the policy template.

Procedures are included in the policy template. Procedures lay out the steps or the process to accomplish the policy. In the template, the procedure section includes the following: an outline of the steps, the responsibilities section (a restatement of all actions identified in the policy and divided by responsible office/individual), resources, contacts, and history.

Standards or requirements

Establish mandatory expectations and may be set by responsible offices and others. Governing document used as the approved model or to state the baseline required in practice at Ohio State. Are usually developed in accordance with published federal, state, or industry regulations, requirements, or standards. A standard or requirement may apply university wide or to a particular unit or units.


Provide advice or recommended best practices. They are not mandatory and allow discretion in interpretation, implementation, or use. Guidelines may apply university wide or to a particular unit or units.

Unit governing documents

Provide specific implementation mechanisms for operations, administration, or programs within a particular college/unit or units. Unit governing documents are applicable only to the issuing unit(s), and must prominently specify the unit(s) to which they apply.

Responsible Office

Office charged with developing, updating, administering, communicating, training, ensuring compliance with, and providing resources to promote adherence to university policies, standards/requirements, and guidelines that it issues.