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Update an Existing Policy (Substantial Revisions)

Revising the substance or principles of an existing university policy, or finalizing an interim policy, requires a standard university policy review process.


What qualifies as a substantial revision?

Revisions are considered substantial and subject to the full review process if they alter the meaning or scope of an existing policy. Examples include:

  • changing the policy statement, requirements, scope, who is covered, and responsibilities of specific units

  • changing the policy title to reflect a change in scope
  • editing definitions if the changes alter what or who is covered 
  • changing the processes for collection and retention of information and/or compliance
  • consolidating multiple policies
  • transferring the policy to the new university policy template
  • finalizing an interim policy

Routine, minor changes that do not alter the meaning or scope of the policy are considered non-substantial and are handled through a different process (see Edit an Existing Policy (Non-substantial Changes).

Timeline and process overview

Note: If circumstances do not allow sufficient time to complete the standard university policy review process, the interim policy process is used in approved circumstances.


Responsible Party Task Typical Turnaround Times
(4-6 months total)
1 Unit Provide high-level description of need for policy revision to University Policy Office 1 day
2 University Policy Office Review high-level description, set up consultation, and provide Impact Statement template and editable copy of existing policy 5 days
2 Unit Prepare Impact Statement and standard slide deck (provided by University Policy Office) and submit to University Policy Office 2-4 weeks
3 University Policy Office Coordinate EPRG review of Impact Statement 2-4 weeks
4 Unit Annotate editable copy of existing policy with proposed revisions and submit to University Policy Office 2-4 weeks
5 University Policy Office Coordinate PAG review of proposed revisions 2-4 weeks
6 Unit Update proposed revisions and submit to University Policy Office 2-4 weeks
7 University Policy Office Coordinate EPRG review of proposed revisions 2 weeks
8 Unit Finalize policy revisions, resubmit to EPRG for approval if needed, then submit to University Policy Office 2 weeks
9 University Policy Office Update existing policy with approved revisions and publish revised policy 1 week
10 Unit Initiate communication and training plan (not included in timeline)

Detailed steps

  1. Engage leadership and stakeholders in planning
    A responsible office, responsible executive, or individual identifies the need for substantial revisions to an existing policy, then engages the relevant member(s) of university leadership (including vice presidents, deans, or unit heads) and other stakeholders to agree on the general nature and scope of revisions.
    • A policy owner (one individual designated by the responsible office) is named to coordinate the revision process, which typically involves getting input from multiple units and stakeholders. The policy owner also serves as the primary point of contact for the University Policy Office.
  2. Notify the University Policy Office (UPO)
    The policy owner notifies the University Policy Office (UPO) about the intent to substantially revise an existing policy. The UPO consults with the policy owner to confirm that the revisions are substantial, and then discusses the policy revision process, reviews the timeline, and develops an action plan with the policy owner.  
    • The UPO provides the Impact Statement template, an editable copy of the published policy to the policy owner to annotate with the proposed revisions, and the standard slide deck templates to be completed by the policy owner and presented to the Executive Policy Review Group and the Policy Advisory Group.
  3. Develop the Impact Statement
    The policy owner develops the Impact Statement, with participation and review from the stakeholders, including the responsible office(s), responsible executive(s), and the Office of General Counsel.
  4. Present the Impact Statement to the Executive Policy Review Group 
    The UPO arranges with the policy owner to present the Impact Statement to the Executive Policy Review Group (EPRG) for discussion and approval. 
  5. Revise the existing policy
    The policy owner annotates the editable copy of the policy with the proposed revisions, with participation and review from stakeholders, responsible office(s), responsible executive(s), and the Office of General Counsel.
  6. Present the proposed policy revisions to the Policy Advisory Group
    The UPO arranges with the policy owner to present the policy with the proposed revisions to the Policy Advisory Group (PAG). PAG reviews and provides recommendations for improvement and clarification. The policy owner, in collaboration with the stakeholders, revises as needed.
  7. Present the proposed policy revisions to the Executive Policy Review Group
    The UPO arranges with the policy owner to present the policy with the proposed revisions to the Executive Policy Review Group (EPRG). EPRG reviews, provides recommendations for improvement and clarification, and determines approval for publication.
    • If recommendations are provided without approval to publish, the policy owner, in collaboration with appropriate stakeholders, revises and resubmits to the UPO to provide to EPRG for approval.
  8. Send the approved policy revisions to the UPO
    The policy owner provides the annotated copy of the policy, with the approved revisions, to the UPO. The policy owner also specifies the date (and time, if necessary) to publish the revised policy.
    • Typically, the policy owner does not review the policy again prior to publication. If the policy owner wants to review again, that request is made as part of this step.
    • The UPO responds to the policy owner confirming the requested date and noting how the UPO will announce the revised policy. 
  9. The UPO updates the existing policy with the approved revisions and publishes the revised policy
    • Additional editing may be conducted by the UPO to comply with university formatting and editorial style conventions.    
    • The UPO notifies the policy owner and responsible executive when the revised policy is published.
  10. Initiate communication and training plans
    • The UPO announces the revised policy through standard university communication channels, unless the responsible office specifies that they will take this action.
    • The responsible office is accountable for determining the need for additional communication and training to constituents covered by the revised policy, and carrying out those activities.