I. Scope

This policy outlines the process for adopting and administering administrative policies at Earlham College.

II. Introduction

The purpose of this policy is to ensure that the College community has a structure to propose new or modified policies, and it ensures ready access to well-developed and understandable college policies.

Policies that are recommended, easy to find, read, and understand will:

  • Support the college’s mission
  • Achieve accountability by identifying the offices responsible for implementing policies
  • Provide faculty, staff, and students with clear, concise guidelines
  • Document how the college conducts business

College policies will be:

  • Formally approved by the appropriate governing body
  • Presented in a common format
  • Maintained centrally and accessible to all interested parties
  • Kept current within the framework of an organized system of change control

III. Policy statement

The Earlham Board of Trustees bears final and ultimate responsibility for the operations, activities and property of the college. Through its by-laws, the Board delegates to the President, certain officers, and the Faculty particular responsibilities. The President’s authority is vested through the Board of Trustees and includes responsibility for all educational and managerial affairs.

This policy describes the process by which new administrative policies are recommended, reviewed, approved and implemented at Earlham College. The President is ultimately responsible for reviewing and approving all college policies, though certain elements of this policy may be administered by members of the campus community at the invitation of the President. In some cases, the added approval of the Board of Trustees is required.

The Faculty has delegated to the Curricular Policy Committee the responsibility for reviewing, amending, and advancing new or amended Academic Policies.

IV. Policy Creation, Modification, and Approval

Earlham’s governance system encourages wide consultation about policies and procedures.

The Chart of Responsibility details the committees, units, and positions with general responsibility for oversight and implementation certain college policies.

The policies aim to be equitable and fair to both the College and to its employees. The decision-making processes of the College includes a special attention to the consultation leading to the formation of consensus, as well as the special role of the President and Board of Trustees who, in addition to being part of the consultation and consensus process, have independent decision-making authority.

  1. Process for Recommending New Policies
    The following procedures should be applied to policies requiring the endorsement of the College Cabinet, which acts on the behalf of the president to manage the operation of the College:

    1. Earlham community members who wish recommend new policies or revisions to existing policies should make those recommendations to the responsible party or committee indicated in the Chart of Responsibility.
    2. If a community member is unclear as to the responsible party, they are encouraged to contact a member of Cabinet or the Office of the President for direction.
    3. Where a recommended policy addresses issues, concerns or procedures in the purview of an existing Responsible Party, community members should consult with and seek support of that Responsible Party prior to submitting the policy to Cabinet for review. In some instances, consultation with community members outside of an existing committee may be necessary to gauge community response to a recommended change in policy or procedure.
    4. When appropriate, the President may choose to delay adoption of a policy for a broader period of community feedback. In such cases, the proposed policy is shared electronically with the campus community along with an electronic survey instrument, for a period of thirty (30) days before any final action is taken.
      1. Comments from the community will be considered by the President and/or the President’s Designee(s) for inclusion in the policy.
      2. After the 30 days, the final policy can be approved and adopted for implementation. The campus community will be informed of the final approval/adoption and posting location of the policy for reference.
  2. Interim Policies
    Under extraordinary circumstances, a situation may arise in which a college-wide, administrative policy must be established and the time required to take action does not accommodate the methodology outlined above. In those rare instances, as the chief executive officer and the administrative leader of the college, the President, in consultation with the Cabinet, may establish an interim policy.Such instances include:

      • If the policy is required by law or has legal or financial implications for compliance
      • If the policy is necessary to ensure the immediate safety of students, employees, or visitors

    The rationale for the interim policy and the policy’s anticipated duration should be clear. If the policy is needed beyond this duration, the President works with the Cabinet to 1) Adopt it as a formal policy via the process outlined above, 2) Continue with the interim policy with a revised duration or 3) Rescind the policy.

    The campus community will be informed of the adoption and posting location of the policy for reference.

  3. Board Approval Process
    Policies requiring approval by the college’s governing body shall be reviewed by the Trustee Committee on Audit, Risk Management, and Compliance, who in turn recommends approval by the Full Board of Trustees. Approval or revisions will be communicated back to the College community promptly at the conclusion of the regular board meeting.
  4. Location and Communication of Policies
    The most current version of all policies will be available on the college website.  To ensure ready access to academic and administrative policies, the responsible party will send all approved policy or policy revisions to Marketing and Communications, who are responsible for the upkeep of the page.
  5. Inconsistent Policies
    Departmental or office policies may not conflict with approved academic or administrative policy. ​In the event of a conflict, the academic or administrative policy supersedes.
  6. Policy Withdrawal
    A policy may be withdrawn by the Approval Body designated to that specific policy. Such withdrawal must be approved by the appropriate governing body.
  7. Existing Policy Review and Modification
    Members of the campus community should follow the procedures in Section A of this policy to recommend changes to existing administrative policies.
  8. Policy Content
    Policies establish standards for the way business should be conducted at the College. In order for community members to be held accountable to established policies and to make policies discernible, unambiguous, actionable documents, they must include the following:

    • Heading: to include
      1. Responsible Party: A member of the President’s Cabinet or designee who assumes responsibility for drafting and updating a policy and for ensuring awareness and education related to the policy.
      2. Responsible Office: The administrative unit responsible for implementation of the policy.
      3. Approval Body: The body with delegated responsibility to approve the policy. For most administrative policies, the Approval Body is the President.
      4. Approval Date: The date on which the policy is approved.
      5. Effective Date(s): Include dates the policy was effective and include revision dates
      6. Revision Date: Dates on which the Approval Body approved any revisions to the policy
    • Scope: Identification of parties governed by the policy.
    • Introduction (Optional): Where a policy’s purpose may not be clear, it may be appropriate to include an introduction that outlines the policy’s purpose and any other information needed to contextualize and the policy for the Earlham community. If applicable, this may include the authoritative basis for the policy (e.g., legislation, state law).
    • Policy Statement: The policy statement is the policy itself, and may be divided into ordered subsections for ease of reference. The policy includes statements of rules or standards. Policies do not change frequently. Policies may not include procedures or supplemental information. Supplemental information should be included in a resources section.
    • Definitions: A list of all key terms included in a policy as well as the meanings for all of those key terms
    • Procedures: Implementation guidelines and other resources like related information, guidelines, forms, etc

V. Communication and Archived Guidelines

Once the policy is approved, the Approval Body or Responsible Party shall forward an electronic copy of the final version to

  • Human Resources Office for inclusion in the appropriate sections of employee handbooks.
  • Communications Department for inclusion on the Earlham College website
  • The College Archivist to archive the old version of the policy and retain the new version
  • The department that will be implementing the policy

VI. Definitions

  • Academic Policies – Policies on curricular matters and academic programs
  • Administrative Policies – Policies on non-academic operational matters
  • Policy – A statement for a specific topic that must be followed. May be externally driven based on regulations or compliance or internally driven based on college best practices, values, or philosophies. A policy will say “what” but not “how”. Procedures, guidelines, and checklists are used to reflect and support the applicable policy or policies.
  • Responsible Party – A member of the President’s Cabinet or designee who assumes responsibility for drafting and updating a policy and for ensuring awareness and education related to the policy.
  • Procedure  An established sequence of activities performed to accomplish a task. A checklist of items or tasks dictating how to accomplish something to ensure consistency and completeness. A procedure may describe “how” to implement a policy.
  • Guidelines – Suggestions or instructions that are not mandatory, but are a good idea or best practice, that show or tell how something should be done.
  • Handbook/Manual – A concise reference book that gives useful information and/or instructions about a particular subject.

Clerical Notes

October 31, 2023 – The following editorial changes correct errors of fact previously included in this policy:

  • A previous edition of this policy referenced the Faculty Governance Manual. The EC Faculty Governance Manual, compiled by a group of former clerks and last revised in 2021, is not itself College policy. Academic policy are reviewed, revised and advanced through the Curricular Policy Committee. (Section III)
  • The Chart of Responsibility is not published in the Faculty Handbook; that guide is produced for information by College leadership. (Section IV)

Policy specifications

Last revision: 05/12/2022
Responsible office: Office of the President
Approved by: President
Effective date: 05/12/2022
Associated division(s):
Associated audience(s):
Associated container(s):
Policy home: https://earlham.edu/policy/administrative-policy-review