Policy Steward: Vice President for Administration


  • Purpose
  • Scope
  • University Policy
  • Responsible Official
  • Development and Review of a University Policy
  • Approval
  • Communication and Availability
  • Other Policies
  • Further Information


    This Policy describes and establishes processes and standards for developing, reviewing, approving, updating and amending University Policies as defined below.  By adopting this Policy, the University seeks to enhance ethics and integrity, operational efficiencies, best practices, effective decision making and compliance with laws and regulations across the University.   This Policy also helps ensure that University Policies are easily accessible and understandable, widely disseminated, consistent and standardized to the extent reasonable, and approved in an appropriate way.  Penn State aspires to maintain a policy framework that best serves its mission and represents and supports excellence, ethics and compliance in all of its activities.  This Policy is not intended to confer legal rights on anyone.  It does not establish required procedures that must be followed for a policy to have legal effect.


    This Policy is effective throughout the University.


    A University Policy is a policy with broad application throughout the University which enhances the University’s mission, promotes operational efficiencies, reduces institutional risk, helps ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations, promotes ethical standards and integrity, and is approved in accordance with the procedures described in this Policy.

    In general, University Policies include and are of a kind and nature similar to policies that are posted on GURU.

    This Policy does not apply to policies and procedures that by their purpose and scope apply only to a specific campus, college or administrative unit.

    This Policy also does not apply to operational policies and procedures that may be adopted pursuant to a University Policy or delegated authority but which are not sufficiently broad in scope or application as to require approval as required here.  For example,  this Policy does not apply to various operational  procedures or forms to inform faculty, staff and students how to proceed with respect to various administrative processes such as admissions, registration, benefits, health, safety,  research compliance, information technology, risk management and the like.  As a further example, this Policy does not apply to Administrative Policies and Procedures.

    This Policy does not apply to governance documents such as the Bylaws and Standing Orders of the Trustees.

    This Policy does not apply to the policies and procedures of the University Faculty Senate.

    In deciding whether a particular policy or procedure is a University Policy that must be reviewed and adopted as required here, individuals may consult with the Office of the Vice President and General Counsel or the Vice President for Administration.


    A Responsible Official includes the President, members of the President’s Council, and an employee specifically delegated by such individuals to develop a University Policy.


    A University Policy may be initiated by a Responsible Official with authority and responsibility for the subject area addressed.  The Responsible Official should oversee the drafting and development process and may designate and authorize others to assist.  Responsible Officials should also periodically review and update policies to ensure compliance with best practices, laws and regulations and seek approval of any material changes.  In developing or amending a University Policy, the Responsible Official should confer with others in the University who may be significantly affected by the Policy or who have relevant expertise in the subject matter.  Responsible Officials may consult with the Office of the Vice President and General Counsel at any stage in the development process and in interpreting Policies that have been adopted.


    The approval process stated here applies to adoption of new University Policies and significant amendments to existing University Policies.

    The approval processes for University Policies that are posted on GURU are as stated in the "Introduction" of each Section on the GURU policies website.  To the extent not stated there, and except for Administrative Policies, the Responsible Official for the subject matter addressed by the Policy has the authority to approve the Policy.  Consistent with the above, the following is a list of the Responsible Officials for each category of University Policies in GURU:

    A Responsible Official may take any University Policy to the President’s Council for review and approval and must take to the Council any Policies that have significant academic, financial or policy implications – such as HR Policies related to promotion and tenure or faculty rights and responsibilities.  In addition, the President must approve any University Policy where such approval is provided for in any applicable requirement.

    In addition, all Administrative Policies and any other Policies that are brought before the President’s Council for review and approval must be reviewed and approved as to form by the Vice President for Administration and the Vice President and General Counsel and then submitted to the President’s Council for final approval. 

    The Board of Trustees must approve certain University Policies (for example, the University’s  intellectual property policy) and other Policies must be presented to the Board for information, as required by the Bylaws and Standing Orders.  Nothing in the Policy on Policies changes these requirements.

    If a University Policy would significantly affect academic issues and/or the faculty, the Responsible Official must consult as appropriate or required with the Provost’s Office, the University Faculty Senate, and the Academic Leadership Council prior to final approval.


    All University Policies should be posted on GURU or another appropriate website and be available, as appropriate, to the University community.


    Policies that do not meet the definition of University Policies and do not come within the scope of this Policy—for example, college, campus or unit level policies—may be promulgated by authorized individuals but may not be inconsistent with any applicable University Policy.


    For questions, additional detail, or to request changes to this policy, please contact the Office of the Vice President for Administration.

    Effective Date: April 24, 2013
    Date Approved: April 24, 2013
    Date Published: April 24, 2013 (Editorial changes, November 19, 2015)

    Most recent changes:

    Revision History (and effective dates):

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