Approved by: The President
History: Issued              -- April 4, 2006
Revised            -- March 21, 2013
Last Reviewed -- July 31, 2019
Related Policies:
Additional References: Policy Process at the University; University Policy Website
Responsible Official: Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer and Chief Privacy Officer tel. (202) 319-6170


I. Policy Statement

The Catholic University of America requires that all University policies be promulgated in accordance with the standards and format set forth in this policy. Policies presented in the standard format promote the University mission, maintain accountability, and provide the University community with a clear explanation of how University activities must be undertaken.

II. Definitions

A. Policies are guiding or governing principles, formally approved to provide assistance in the conduct of University affairs. This definition encompasses only University-wide policies, which should be distinguished from procedures and from school or departmental policies. Only those policies approved in accord with this policy will have the force of University policy and will be published on the University Policy Website. In the event of a conflict between a University-wide policy and a school or departmental policy, the University-wide policy will supersede the school or departmental policy.

B. The Policy Committee (the "Committee") provides oversight for the process of policy dissemination and works to ensure that the guidelines in this policy are communicated to and followed by members of the University community. The President has delegated responsibility for management of the Committee and internal policy process to the Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer. Members of the senior administration, as identified by the President, each designate a representative to the Committee.

C. Procedures are statements that provide for orderly implementation of established policies through specific, prescribed actions and are more detailed than a policy.

D. Responsible Official is the University official charged with overseeing administration of the policy.

E. Academic Policies are those which directly affect the pedagogical and research missions of the University.

F. Administrative Policies are non-academic policies governing the operations of the University.

III. Policy Approval Process

A.  Academic Policies


Per the Bylaws of the University, the Academic Senate shares with the President responsibility for establishing, maintaining and supervising the academic policies of the University.

Proposed new University academic policies or proposed changes to existing University academic policies may be initiated by the Academic Senate or one of its committees, the Provost or the President. The actions of the Academic Senate require the President's approval for validity. All University academic policies are ordinarily reviewed by the Provost and the Academic Senate, prior to final approval by the President. Where required in the Bylaws of the University or otherwise determined either by established policy, legitimate past practice or decision of the President, some policies may also require the approval of the Board of Trustees. Those policies that do not require review or approval by the Academic Senate are ordinarily reported to the Senate by the Provost.

Following its approval and prior to its promulgation, a new or amended University academic policy must be referred to the Policy Committee for review of the policy's consistency in format and presentation, potential conflicts with other policies, and accordance with laws and external regulations. The Provost will appoint a Responsible Official for any policy that applies only to faculty.

A School of the University may develop additional academic policies that pertain only to the affairs of that School. School-specific academic policies do not substitute for University academic policies, but may include additional regulations or provisions. All school-specific academic policies must include, at a minimum, the provisions of the appropriate University academic policy and not be in conflict with it. It is the responsibility of the dean of the School to communicate such policies to the Provost and to the Office of General Counsel for legal review. Questions regarding the consistency of School-specific policies with University-wide academic policies may be directed to the Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer (tel. 202-319-6170) or the Office of the General Counsel (tel. 202-319-5142). Questions regarding the consistency School-specific policies with the Catalogue Announcements may be directed to the Associate Vice President and University Registrar (tel. 202-319-5022).

B. Administrative Policies

New policies or changes to existing policies may be initiated by the President, the Provost, or by any Vice President. Recommendations for new or revised policies must be proposed to the Provost or the appropriate Vice President by any member of the University community by using the policy template. Once the Provost or cognizant Vice President approves a policy proposal, he/she will appoint a Responsible Official for the policy, and forward the policy to the Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer, who will coordinate with the Office of General Counsel for legal review. The Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer then will forward the policy to the Policy Committee.

The Committee's mission is to review University policies for content and form, and to ensure that:

  • There is a clear process for proposing, approving and disseminating policies;
  • There is consistency in the format and presentation of policies;
  • Conflicts between policies are eliminated to the extent possible;
  • All policies required by law or other external regulation are in place and up to date;
  • A complete set of University policies exists; is reviewed regularly, and is accessible to the University community;
  • There is proper archiving of policies;
  • The policies are consistent with the mission of The Catholic University of America; and
  • A mechanism exists for coordinating web and print dissemination of policy.

Once the policy has been reviewed by the Policy Committee the Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer will seek approval for the policy from the President. After approval by the President the Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer will be responsible for posting the policy to the University Policy Website and for coordinating dissemination of the policy in coordination with the Responsible Official.

Notwithstanding the other provisions of this policy, some policies are approved by the Board of Trustees directly (e.g. the Investment Policy) and do not go through the policy process. In such instances the Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer and Responsible Official remain responsible for coordinating dissemination of the policy as set forth above.

IV. Review of Policies

The Policy Committee will establish a calendar for regular review of all policies. It is the responsibility of each Responsible Official to ensure that their policies are reviewed no less than every three years and sooner if there is a change in the law or other circumstances that necessitate review or potential revision.

V. Role of Responsible Official

The Responsible Official will administer the policy. Each of the respective Vice Presidents and the Provost shall assign a Responsible Official for all existing policies within their area of operations and to any newly generated policies. If no Responsible Official has been assigned, the Vice President for that area of operations will be deemed to be the Responsible Official.

VI. Policy Template

The standard template should be used for all University wide policies. Only those policies approved in accordance with this policy will have the force of University policy.

VII. Interim Policies

The President, Provost or a Vice President may put an interim policy into place in situations where a University policy must be established in a time period that is too short to permit the completion of the process delineated in this policy. An interim policy will expire six months from the date of issuance unless an earlier expiration date is established by the issuer (President, Provost or Vice President) or the policy is approved as final in accordance with the processes set forth in section III above.

VIII. Posting of Policies

All University-wide policies will be posted on the official University Policy Website. The Committee, with the assistance of the Responsible Official, will identify all of the places in University communications where a policy appears and ensure standardization of print and online policies. All school and departmental web pages must link to the official University Policy Website instead of posting their own versions of the approved policy.

Disseminating printed versions of policies is disfavored because policies are often updated, leading to potential inconsistency between print versions and the most current approved version published on the University Policy Website. In the event a policy must be printed it must include a disclaimer that the official University Policy Website should be consulted for the latest version. Note, however, that the disclaimer language should not appear on the printed version of a policy pertaining to academic requirements that is included in the University's Catalog Announcements.

IX. Related Procedures and Guidelines

Policies may be supplemented by school or departmental procedures or guidelines that describe policy implementation practices, subject to III above. These supplemental procedures may be referenced in, and/or linked from, the relevant policy, as appropriate. The Committee may review procedures and guidelines to assure consistency with University-wide policies.

XI. Archiving of Policies

The Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer, on behalf of the Committee will keep, to the extent reasonably practicable, an archive of University policies, including, whenever possible, the policies' effective dates.