Policy FAQs

  1. What is a policy?
    Policies are statements that reflect the philosophies, attitudes, or values of Georgia Tech related to a specific issue. They are generally represented in a paragraph or perhaps two, not pages. Policies might say "what" but not "how." Procedures, standards, and guidelines all must implement, reflect, and support the applicable policy or policies.
  2. What is an Institute Policy?
    An Institute policy is a governing principle that mandates or constrains actions at Georgia Tech, supports the Institute’s mission and strategic goals, has Institute-wide application, and impacts a substantial number of members of the campus community (usually all students, all faculty and/or all staff). There are two types of Institute policy: Academic Policy and Administrative Policy.
    1. Academic Policies are Institute policies that provide requirements for faculty governance and for student life relating to the educational process, including admission, student discipline, classes, courses of study, and requirements for graduation.
    2. Administrative Policies are Institute policies that establish and align campus operations, set behavioral expectations across the Institute, and communicate multiple division, department, or office roles and responsibilities.
  3. How do I tell the difference between an Institute and a Department Policy?
    The easiest way to tell the two apart is to ask yourself two questions:
    1. Is this policy written to inform someone outside the department of their rights and responsibilities?
    2. Is this policy regulating the actions of the department as it interacts with other groups on campus?
    If the answer to either of those questions is yes, it is likely the policy is an Institute Policy that should be kept in the Policy Library. For further clarification please contact the Policy Specialist (policylibrary@gatech.edu).
  4. What are procedures?
    Procedures are a series of consecutive action steps related to a policy that specifies how a particular process should be completed. Procedures include information on the who, what, when, and where of the policy.
  5. What is the difference between a policy and a procedure?
    Policies say "what" but not "how." Procedures, standards, and guidelines all must implement, reflect, and support the applicable policy or policies. Procedures include information on the who, what, when, and where of the policy.
  6. What procedures are subject to review as part of the Institute Policy Development Life Cycle Process?
    Procedures for which there are a substantial number of constituents that will need to be made aware of changes will need to be approved as part of the Institute Policy Development and Life Cycle Process. Ultimately, the Policy Steering Committee will make the determination if a procedure needs to be reviewed.
  7. What if my policy is mostly procedure?
    All Institute-level policies are subject to the Institute Policy Development and Life Cycle Process, and should be included in the Policy Library. In some cases, it may be more appropriate for procedures to be linked to from the policy and kept internally by the responsible department. The Policy Steering Committee will make the final determination if a procedure needs to be included in the Policy Library.
  8. What is the difference between standards and guidelines, and how do they differ from policy?
    Standards are statements dictating the state of affairs and establishing a rule from a recognized authority outside Georgia Tech, and therefore do not receive approval through the Institute Policy Development and Life Cycle Process.
    Guidelines contain information about how to accomplish a task or reach a specific goal. They are provided as suggestions; in other words, they are not mandatory like policy, but a good idea. Guidelines may also contain an element of “best practice” – alternate actions might be available and might work, but what is being provided has proved to be the fastest, least costly, etc.
  9. How do I find a policy in the Policy Library?
    The Policy Library is fully searchable from both the gold search bar at the top and the “Looking For A Policy?” search box on the right. Alternatively, you can browse policies by category within each of the Policy Books: Board of Regents, Faculty Handbook, Student Life, Administrative (Business & Finance, Campus Use & Facilities, Employment, Information Technology, Legal, Records & Publications), and Research Support.
  10. How do I get clarification on a policy?
    For questions specific to a policy, please contact the Policy Contact listed in the policy. For general policy questions, you may contact the Policy Specialist (policylibrary@gatech.edu).
  11. How do I determine the Policy Owner?
    The Policy Owner is the administrative unit or faculty governance body primarily responsible for the implementation of a policy and its related procedures, processes, instructions, and forms. For existing policies, the Policy Owner is listed at the top of each policy. For a new policy, the Policy Champion should attempt to determine who will be the implementing authority for the policy.
  12. How are new policies developed?
    For information on the development of new policies, please see the Policy Development and Life Cycle Process.
  13. Who do I contact to create a policy?
    For help with creating a policy, please contact the Policy Specialist (policylibrary@gatech.edu).
  14. Who can create a policy?
    A Policy Champion proposes a new policy or change to existing policy by completing the Policy Scope Statement and submitting it to the Secretary of the Faculty (Academic Policy) or the Policy Specialist (Administrative Policy).
  15. Is there a standard policy format?
    To ensure consistency between policies and to increase clarity, new Institute policies should be drafted using the standard Policy Template.
  16. Who can comment on a policy?
    All members of the Georgia Tech community can comment on a new policy or change to an exisitng policy listed on the Policies for Comment page of the Policy Library.
  17. How often are policies reviewed?
    All Institute policies are subject to review by the Policy Owner every three years after adoption or substantial revision, or when there is a change in applicable law, regulation, or Board of Regents policy, whichever comes first.
  18. What types of edits need to go through the approval process?
    Substantial revisions to policies and procedures need to be approved through the Institute Policy Development and Life Cycle Process.
    1. Substantial Revision is any change to an Institute policy that will require campus-wide review and communication.
    2. Editorial Revision is a grammar, title, typographical error, or other minor change to an Institute policy or procedure that will not require campus-wide review and communication.
    For more information on whether a change constitutes an editorial or a substantial revision, please contact the Policy Specialist (policylibrary@gatech.edu).
  19. How do I know if a policy has changed?
    Policies that have been recently updated will be listed on the Recently Updated Policies page of the Policy Library.
  20. If our department has existing policies that should be placed in the Policy Library, what do we do?
    If your department has Institute policies that are not included in the Policy Library, please contact the Policy Specialist (policylibrary@gatech.edu) to have them included.

 

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