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History of Cornell University Policy


In the 1980s, taking account of audit and regulatory requirements, as well as risk management concerns, Cornell's Vice President for Finance recognized that a process to issue standardized policy documents would be useful to university administrators.

At the time, policies existed in many forms, such as memorandums, manuals, and unwritten practices. Priority for selecting which existing policies should be standardized was determined through a survey to vice presidents, deans, directors, and unit heads. The new formed University Policy Office (UPO) then promulgated its first policy, University Policy 4.1, Formulation and Issuance of University Policies.

Since that time, the UPO established broad acceptance from Cornell's academic and administrative communities, which rely on Cornell's Policy Library for direction on university expectations and requirements. Cornell gained a national reputation as a leader in policy issuance in higher education, and sharing its best practices with interested peer institutions and through participation in the Association of College and University Policy Administrators (ACUPA).

In 2019, the University Policy Office was integrated into University Compliance and a new chapter for the office and associated services began.