Hundreds of policies to be organized in one accessible place

June 25, 2019 By Greg Bump

Over its more than 170-year history, UW–Madison has amassed hundreds of university-wide policies with no single location for curating, searching and accessing these policies. There is no common numbering system or format for policies.

Complicating matters is that there are no standard practices across campus units for making or storing policies. Online searches can bring up unreliable information or even multiple versions of the same policy.

The Policy Library Project, co-sponsored by the provost and the vice chancellor for legal affairs, and managed by the Office of Strategic Consulting, is trying to fix the situation. A cross-divisional team has been working since the beginning of the year to develop an online library for all university-wide policies.

“Locating relevant policies can be a frustrating experience for many of our campus community members,” Vice Chancellor for Legal Affairs Raymond Taffora says. “Putting all the policies in a single, easily searchable, online format will improve efficiency and eliminate uncertainty.”

It’s important to note that the project team is focused on identifying policies with university-wide implications, and will not evaluate or recommend changes to policy content, Taffora says. Should the team identify policy content issues, those issues will be noted and shared with appropriate policy-making groups. Policies specific to a school, college or unit are not in the scope of the project, though they may be included in a future phase.

The project will also help differentiate between formal policies and guidelines, procedures and other documents that do not rise to the policy level.

Phase one, focused on discovery and planning, is hoped to be completed by the end of August 2019. Phase two, the implementation, will run from September 2019 to the end of August 2020.

Campus stakeholders, including governance groups, are being engaged along the way and consulted on the design and function of the policy library. Questions and comments on the project are welcome and can be sent to the project manager, Charles Meyer, at Charles.Meyer@wisc.edu.