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Guidelines for Drafting Policies and Regulations (PRs)

Updated: 10-07-2011

Additional References:

Contact for Info: General Counsel (910.521.6201)


1.1 In October 2011, UNC Pembroke created a single website (the PR website) for the publication of all University policies and regulations. The website resulted from a codification project that had the goals of establishing (1) a single site to facilitate the location of PRs and (2) a uniform format and reference system to make PRs easier to read for users. The Office of General Counsel maintains the website and assigns a number and subject heading to all PRs once they have been adopted by the University. The website has several powerful search engines to enable any user to easily locate any University PR. Further, a PR template has been created so that there is a standardized format for PRs. These guidelines describe the elements of the template and provide guidance on how to draft clear and user-friendly PRs.


2.1 Uniform Template. A uniform PR template has been established that will provide guidance to drafters of PRs and uniformity to the PR website. The template provides for an informational section to precede the actual text of a PR. The title is written at the top of the template along with a number and general subject category assigned by the Office of General Counsel. Times New Roman 12 point font is used in the informational section of the template. PRs shall be submitted to the Office of the General Counsel as a .doc file.

2.2 Informational Section Preceding the PR. The drafter of the PR must insert the following information in the informational section of the PR template:

2.2.1 Title of the PR: This should be written so that the major subject matter or class affected appears first as most individuals search an index or table of contents alphabetically; e. g., Sexual Orientation Policy Statement rather than Policy Statement on Sexual Orientation.

2.2.2 Authority and Effective Date: The chancellor has authority to adopt all policies. The Board of Trustees has the authority to adopt mandated policies. Policies are effective when adopted by the Board of Trustees unless the policy or Board action otherwise specifies. Regulations are effective when adopted by the chancellor's cabinet officer or delegee, unless the regulation otherwise specifies.

2.2.3 History: Dates the PR was first enacted and last revised.

2.2.4 Related Policies: Related policies that may help the reader to better understand the PR. In cases of mandated policies, the statutory or other governing rules/regulations promulgating its issue shall be included. Hyperlinks must be included as well.

2.2.5 Additional Information: Task force reports, memoranda, forms, state or federal laws or regulations that may be pertinent.

2.2.6 Contact Person: Official title and phone number and/or email address of the person most knowledgeable about PR who can respond to questions or provide information about the PR.


3.1 Subject Matter. PRs create administrative structures, set priorities, assign responsibility, delegate authority, establish accountability, and define reporting requirements. Thus they directly or substantially affect procedural or substantive rights and duties of individuals or entities that fall within their regulatory scope. PRs normally address the following questions, as applicable:

3.1.1 Who - who is covered by the PR, who is accountable

3.1.2 What - the subject matter/policy being addressed[1]

3.1.3 When - time periods or deadlines[2]

3.1.4 Where - any applicable offices, business units, colleges, departments[3]

3.1.5 How - applicable procedures to be followed[4]

3.1.6 Why - the purpose of the PR

3.2 Consistency with Governing Authority. PRs must be consistent with all applicable governing authority. If a regulation is to implement a federal or state law, a policy of the Board of Governors or the Board of Trustees, or a directive from the Office of the President, the introduction to the regulation shall note this and the remainder of the PR should be consistent with the higher governing authority.

3.3 Essential Subject Matter. PRs shall be concise, understandable and contain only material essential to the PR. Omit needless words. Readers are interested in getting to the point.

3.3.1 Historical Information. Historical information may be useful but it should not be in the PR. Such information may be in a task force report that can be hyperlinked in the informational section of the template to provide the reader with additional information.

3.3.2 BOG or BOT Policies. Do not repeat language from Board of Governors’ or Board of Trustees' Policies unless it is necessary. Instead, reference the policy and include it in the informational section with a hyperlink.

3.3.3 Web pages, Forms, Handbooks and other References: Unit web pages or other information relating to the regulations, such as guidelines, forms, charts, and handbooks, should not be incorporated into the body of the PR but should be listed and hyperlinked in the additional information section preceding the text of the PR. UNCP PRs and forms and PRs in the UNC Policy Manual may be hyperlinked within the body of the PR. References and hyperlinks to PRs within the body of the PR should be to the title of the PR (not the http address). References to forms should be to the title of the form and the office or title of the person from whom they can be obtained since all forms may not be available electronically. No other hyperlinks may be made within the body of the PR except those permitted in this sub-section. Other hyperlinks may be inserted in the informational section. References to persons to contact within the body of the regulation should be by official title only.


4.1 Outline Format

4.1.1 New PRs should be drafted in numerical outline format, using Times New Roman 12 point font and left justified margins, following the PR template. Section titles and subtitles should be used in the body of the text where appropriate.

4.2 Headings and Sub-headings

4.2.1 Use headings and sub-headings that let the reader know the content of each section. PRs can be either simple or complex depending upon the substantive matters that are addressed. Section 4 lists common headings that many PRs use. Not all headings may be applicable depending upon the subject matter and scope of the PR.

4.2.2 Introduction: Describes the background relevant to why the PR exists or reasons for the policy and a brief statement about what the PR will address. Some examples of the purpose or reason for a PR are the following:

4.2.2 a. State or federal law or UNC policy requires UNCP to have a policy or procedure on the subject;[5]

4.2.2.b. To ensure accountability, address expected behavior;[6]

4.2.2.c. To recognize the legitimate interests/expectations of various individuals, administrative/academic units, or the university;[7]

4.2.2.d. Overall benefits.[8]

4.2.3 Scope: Addresses who or what is covered by the PR. For example, who must observe the policy and follow its procedure; who must understand the policy to do their job. Most PRs have a primary audience and a secondary audience. For example, policies on graduate student admission address the criteria for admission and the procedures for admission. The primary audience is the graduate student who may be applying, and the secondary audience is the administrators who are involved in making the decisions. The PR should focus directly on the primary audience in writing the PR. If there are two primary audiences, the PR should be clear in each section which audience is being addressed.

4.2.4 Definitions: Defines any technical language or words used in a special sense.

4.2.5 Policy Statement(s): the substantive provisions that create rights or duties, for example, criteria for admission of graduate students. Depending upon the complexity of the subject matter, this may be a simple paragraph or may contain various numbered sections with subtitles.

4.2.6 Exclusions or Exceptions: lists any locations, persons, or organizations that are excluded from the PR or any funding sources or job classifications that are excluded from the policy. May also include information about special circumstances that affect only a few people or circumstances that occur infrequently.

4.2.7 Procedures: the steps that must be followed to comply with the policy. In Board of Trustee policies it is generally preferable to authorize the chancellor to establish procedures to implement the policy. This then allows the chancellor or chancellor's delegee to establish the procedures by regulation, a faster and more efficient process.

4.2.8 Active Voice: PRs should be written in active voice.[9] In general, every sentence should have meaning and relate to the heading or sub-heading under which it is found.

[1] E.g., privacy of health care information.
[2] E.g., grievances must be filed within a certain number of calendar days of the action being grieved. As a general rule, dates should be appropriate timeframes, rather than specific dates,
unless a specific date is necessary for operation of the process.
[3] E.g., the office where applications must be filed.
[4] E.g., steps to be followed in resolving a complaint of sexual harassment; note that details such as how to fill out a form would not be contained in a PR as these types of details usually are reserved for administrative guidelines, if necessary.
[5] E.g., UNC Code and implementing BOG policies require that UNC Pembroke have a faculty grievance procedure.
[6] E.g., policy for coordination of fundraising by affiliated entities, Student Conduct Codes.
[7] E.g., identifying the circumstances under which the university may access material on an employee's computer or the procedures to be followed by employees or students who have grievances.
[8] E.g., fire protection regulation.
[9] Active voice is more direct, definite and clear. Passive voice is often indefinite and less clear. For example, Passive Voice “All requests for additional compensation must be approved in writing before the activity begins.” This phrasing does not tell the reader who approves the requests. Active Voice “The Department Head must approve all requests for additional compensation before the activity begins.” This phrasing is clear and definite and informs the reader.


Updated: Wednesday, October 31, 2012

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