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11/16/93

CONTACT: Stanford University News Service (415) 723-2558

Business Practices policy team seeks feedback

STANFORD -- After six months of consultation with the Stanford community, the policy team of the Business Practices initiative has formulated nine draft recommendations.

Business Practices is a campus-wide project designed to improve the way Stanford conducts its business. Five teams have been studying university policy formulation, approval and dissemination; accounting for paid time off; purchasing of and payment for goods and services; sponsored projects administration; and the chart of accounts/general ledger.

The policy team is the first to produce preliminary recommendations. Leader Susan Schofield said she and her team would appreciate feedback from the community on the four primary and five additional recommendations:

  • Definition of a university policy - Adopt the proposed definition of a university policy, including designation of those who have the authority to issue policies. Also adopt the inventory of university policies as the official list of current university policies, and keep it up to date.

The team suggests that a university policy is a written statement that meets all of the following criteria: 1) it has general applicability to members of the university community; 2) it addresses basic university values, supports the teaching and research mission, ensures compliance with laws or regulations, reduces institutional risk, or promotes efficient operations; 3) it mandates or constrains certain actions; and 4) it requires formal approval by the highest executive or academic authorities of the institution.

  • Policy content - Issue new or revised policies in a format that includes the following specific components: the policy summary, purpose of the policy, its effective date, who authorized the policy and which office handles implementation, who the policy applies to, specific instructions that define required actions, references for more information, and definitions and implementation procedures if needed. Documents should be written in simple language, be easy to cite, and have a headline banner identifying them as university policies. Rewrite and reissue current university policies in this format within one year.
  • Policies online - Place university policy documents and the policy inventory in a computer system accessible on demand to all faculty, staff and students, with good searching tools. Commit to maintain the system (with central coordination if possible).
  • Consultation - Affirm policymakers' obligation to identify those who will be directly affected by new or revised policies and to include their views in early policy development discussions. Require consultation with the University Management Group about institution-wide operational implications before finalizing new or revised administrative policies.
  • Distribution lists - Create and maintain appropriate, flexible university distribution lists usable for both online and paper communication.
  • Policymakers' responsibility - Acknowledge policymakers' responsibility to stay actively involved in the review, updating and dissemination of policies in their functional area.
  • Policy experts - Have designated policy "experts" (identified in each policy document) readily available to faculty and department administrators to interpret policies and to resolve problems.
  • Enhance training - Expand staff educational materials and/or training to include information about locating and implementing university policies.
  • Modular approach - Move to a modular approach to policy and procedure documentation. People should be able to select the (online or paper) documentation they need, rather than to maintain large multi-subject manuals. Online documentation should be accessible from within online transactions systems.

Schofield said the team would consider community feedback before issuing its final recommendations. Deadline for comment is Dec. 3. Contact Schofield at 723-3493, or Susan.Schofield@forsythe, or 857 Serra St. (MC 6200).

Community members also may contact other members of the Business Practices policy team: Geoff Cox, vice provost for institutional planning; Pat Devaney, associate dean of research; Melinda McGee, administrator, Music; Larry Gibbs, director, Environmental Health and Safety; Frank Brucato, associate dean, Law School; Lilian Kamal, business manager, Pathology; Debbie Leong- Childs, executive director, National Academy of Education; Lowell Price, senior associate provost and Cabinet secretary; Maureen Eppstein, writer/analyst, Business Information Systems Applications.

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