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The Heart of Compliance: Institutional Policy Manual and Students


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If students are the heart of education, institutional policies and the ways in which these policies affect the student experience are the heart of compliance. Leading organizational change in smaller liberal arts colleges through continuous improvement is oftentimes about implementing sound processes. This session presents a widely applicable, highly adaptable policy revision process that is focused on implementing structural change across institutions. The presenters demonstrate how they facilitated continuous improvement through a cloud-based policy process in administrative and academic settings (engaging students, the Board, and faculty), bringing added clarity and value to the student experience. The session also discusses how written policies can help facilitate your preparation for reaffirmation.

Published in: Education
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The Heart of Compliance: Institutional Policy Manual and Students

  1. 1. The Heart of Compliance Students and Your Policy Manual ••• Bryce Hantla, Ed.D., Asst. Director, Assessment University of Houston-Downtown Paul Keith, VP Administration, COO College of Biblical Studies-Houston
  2. 2. Session Goals 1. Connect the importance of policy decisions and communication to students. 2. Observe continuous improvement processes with the presented policy revision process in light of SACSCOC’s "Developing Policy and Procedure Documents." 3. Discuss the collaborative nature of policy decisions through control points, relevant stakeholders, and policy owners (set up through the organizational chart). 4. Examine SACSCOC’s standards in light of requirements for written policies and how to audit their own policies for compliance.
  3. 3. Situational Context (College of Biblical Studies) The Beginning 1999 – ABHE Initial Accreditation 2004 – ABHE First reaffirmation • 2005- Feb. – 12 recommendations • 2006 – Feb. Progress Reported “disapproved” • 2007 – Feb. subsequent Progress Report required 2008 – Feb. Progress Report Finished Culture of Continuous Improvement 2011 – SACSCOC Authorization of candidacy visit 2012 – SACSCOC candidacy – 0 recommendations 2013 – ABHE Reaffirmation – 1 recommendation • Jan. 2014 – appeal • Feb. 2014 Reaffirmation – 0 recommendations 2013 – SACSOC Membership – 0 recommendations 2017 – SACSCOC Reaffirmation * • March – 6 potential non-compliance at Off-Site • June – 0 recommendations • June – QEP approved with no changes *Preliminary Report pending SACSCOC Board action June 2018
  4. 4. CBS’s Policy on Policies Policy • A broad statement expressing the agreed- upon managerial decision that addresses an observed issue. Procedure • The processes by which a managerial decision is correctly carried out. • We differentiated “procedure” from “process” as an inter- versus and intra-departmental process, respectively. 1”Developing Policy and Procedures Documents,” SACSCOC, available at %20for%20policy%20development%20final.pdf.
  5. 5. Anatomy of a Good Policy Purpose and Alignment Policy History The Policy Owners and Responsible Stakeholders Relevant Stakeholders 1”Developing Policy and Procedures Documents,” SACSCOC, available at %20for%20policy%20development%20final.pdf.
  6. 6. Anatomy of a Good Policy Means of Communication Timeline for Procedures Requirements for Compliance Requirements for Reporting Review Schedule 1”Developing Policy and Procedures Documents,” SACSCOC, available at %20for%20policy%20development%20final.pdf.
  7. 7. Mind Your P’s and QA’s Elements of a Healthy Policy Process • Control Points • Organization Chart Representation • Shared Governance (Faculty and Committee involvement) • Emphasizes Institutional Improvement • Designated Communication Flow (once approved)
  8. 8. Try looking one level down from Executive Level for Policy Owners (e.g., Directors, Coordinators) Faculty Senate Don’t forget about us!
  9. 9. Process for Policy Revisions and Proposals (summary) 1. Policy Owner receives validation to proceed with Policy Revision Process from relevant Executive. 2. A Policy Owner collaborates with the Operating Areas affected and manages the revision process using Track Changes (see Policy on Policies Process Flow). 3. Once revised, the Policy Owner submits the revised policy with tracked changes to the relevant Executive. Only for policies that affect more than one department
  10. 10. 4. Executive seeks requisite approvals. If no additional approvals are required, Executive may approve and sign the policy and return to Policy Owner. 5. Policy Owner submits tracked changes and signed versions to Policy Manual Manager. 6. Once emailed, Policy Manual Manager archives the old policy, posts the revisions to the electronic Policy Manual 7. Policy Owner then disseminates to Relevant Stakeholders through the Communication Media. Process for Policy Revisions and Proposals (summary)
  11. 11. How might the reporting structure work in your institution? 1. Who would you naturally appoint as “policy owners” at your institution? 2. Who would they report up to? (checks and balances) 3. How would you ensure that they’re engaging all of the relevant stakeholders
  12. 12. Real-Life Quality Improvement (Structural Change) • Example 1: Admissions Policy Committee a) Stimulated the creation of an Admissions Testing Center b) Ushered in a new Admissions Test with diagnostic capabilities for entrance testing c) Oversaw the revision of ________ policies (from Academic Affairs, Admissions, Recruiting, Financial Aid, and the Registrar’s Office) d) Stimulated the creation of a robust online orientation requirement for all incoming students e) Evaluated the cost-effectiveness of a new Student Success Center f) Facilitated the update (and major revision) of an Academic Catalog g) Brought functional areas into better compliance with FERPA regulations
  13. 13. • Example 2: Intellectual Property Activity a) Faculty engagement in the policy review process b) Stimulated the creation of an Intellectual Property Committee c) Established best practices for intellectual practices across comparable institutions d) Reflected more accurately the rights and responsibilities of faculty in the policy on intellectual property e) Brought awareness among faculty and staff regarding rights related to intellectual property creation at the College (e.g., online classes, professional materials, and differences in rights for faculty versus staff) Real-Life Quality Improvement (Structural Change)
  14. 14. Covering your Policy Bases • External regulatory bodies (Policy Template in Handout) • Control Points in the process • Documentation, Documentation, Documentation…
  15. 15. Think Like a Reviewer Assess Policy A in your handout based on the previous checklist: • Are all elements represented? • Can any elements be improved? Assess Policy B in your handout based on the previous checklist: • Are all elements represented? • Can any elements be improved?
  16. 16. Selected Bibliography 1. Bolman, L. G., & Deal, T. E. (2003). Reframing Organizations: Artistry, Choice, and Leadership (Third ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. 2. Bolman, L. G., & Gallos, J. V. (2010). Reframing Academic Leadership. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. 3. Buller, J. L. (2014). Change Leadership in Higher Education: A Practical Guide to Academic Transformation. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. 4. Farroha, B. S., Essman, K. R., Farroha, D. L., & Cohen, A. (2011). A novel approach to implementing digital policy management as an enabler for a dynamic secure information sharing in a cloud environment. Paper presented at the SPIE Defense, Security, and Sensing. 5. Guthrie, J. W., & Reed, R. J. (1991). Educational Administration and Policy: Effective Leadership for American Education (Second ed.). Needham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon. 6. Hanson, E. M. (1996). Educational Administration and Organizational Behavior (Fourth ed.). Needham Heights, MA: Simon & Schuster Company.
  17. 17. 7. Huisman, J., & Currie, J. (2004). Accountability in Higher Education: Bridge Over Troubled Water? Higher Education, 48(4), 529-551. 8. Marginson, S., & Van der Wende, M. (2007). To Rank or to be Ranked: The Impact of Global Rankings in Higher Education. Journal of studies in international education, 11(3-4), 306-329. 9. Morin, J.-H., & Pawlak, M. (2006). Towards a Global Framework for Corporate and Enterprise Digital Policy Management. Journal of Information System Security, 2(2), 1551-0123. 10. Trowler, P. R. (2002). Higher Education Policy and Institutional Change: Intentions and Outcomes in Turbulent Environments. Philadelphia, PA: SRHE and Open University Press. 11. Van Vught, F. (2008). Mission Diversity and Reputation in Higher Education. Higher Education Policy, 21(2), 151-174. Selected Bibliography