Administrative Policies

AD00 Policy on Policies

Policy Status: 


Subject Matter Expert: 

Frank Guadagnino, 814-865-2507,

Policy Steward: 

Vice President for Administration


This Policy describes and establishes processes and standards for developing, reviewing, approving, amending, and decommissioning University Policies as defined below. By adopting this Policy, the University seeks to enhance ethics and integrity, operational efficiencies, best practices, effective decision making and compliance with laws and regulations across the University. This Policy also helps ensure that University Policies are easily accessible and understandable, widely disseminated, consistent and standardized to the extent reasonable, and approved in an appropriate way. Penn State aspires to maintain a policy framework that best serves its mission and represents and supports excellence, ethics and compliance in all of its activities. This Policy is not intended to confer legal rights on anyone. It does not establish required procedures that must be followed for a policy to have legal effect.


This Policy is effective throughout the University.


A University Policy is a policy with broad application throughout the University which enhances the University’s mission, promotes operational efficiencies, reduces institutional risk, helps ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations, promotes ethical standards and integrity, and is approved in accordance with the procedures described in this Policy.

In general, University Policies include and are of a kind and nature similar to policies that are posted on Penn State Policies.

This Policy does not apply to policies and procedures that by their purpose and scope apply only to a specific campus, college or administrative unit.

This Policy also does not apply to operational policies and procedures that may be adopted pursuant to a University Policy or delegated authority but which are not sufficiently broad in scope or application as to require approval as required here. For example, this Policy does not apply to various operational procedures or forms to inform faculty, staff and students how to proceed with respect to various administrative processes such as admissions, registration, benefits, health, safety, research compliance, information technology, risk management and the like. As a further example, this Policy does not apply to Academic Administrative Policies and Procedures.

This Policy does not apply to governance documents such as the Bylaws and Standing Orders of the Trustees.

This Policy does not apply to the policies and procedures of the University Faculty Senate.

In deciding whether a particular policy or procedure is a University Policy that must be reviewed and adopted as required here, individuals may consult with the Office of the Vice President and General Counsel or the Vice President for Administration.


A Responsible Official includes the President, members of the President’s Council, and an employee specifically delegated by such individuals to develop a University Policy.


A University Policy may be initiated by a Responsible Official with authority and responsibility for the subject area addressed. The Responsible Official should oversee the drafting and development process and may designate and authorize others to assist. Responsible Officials should also periodically review and update policies to ensure compliance with best practices, laws and regulations and seek approval of any material changes. In developing or amending a University Policy, the Responsible Official should confer with others in the University who may be significantly affected by the Policy or who have relevant expertise in the subject matter. Responsible Officials may consult with the Office of the Vice President and General Counsel at any stage in the development process and in interpreting Policies that have been adopted.


The approval process stated here applies to adoption of new University Policies and significant amendments to existing University Policies.

The approval processes for University Policies that are posted are as stated in the "Introduction" of each Section on the University policies website. To the extent not stated there, and except for Administrative Policies, the Responsible Official for the subject matter addressed by the Policy has the authority to approve the Policy. Consistent with the above, the following is a list of the Responsible Officials for each category of University Policies:

Policy Category Responsible Officials
Policy Category Responsible Official
Academic Policies Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs

Administrative Policies & Guidelines

Vice President for Administration and President’s Council
Budget Policies University Budget Officer, in consultation with the Corporate Controller
Business Services Policies

Assistant Vice President for Business Services

Financial Policies Corporate Controller
Human Resources Policies and Guidelines Vice President for Human Resources
Intellectual Property Policies and Guidelines

Senior Vice President for Research

Payroll Policies

Corporate Controller

Research Administration Policies and Guidelines

Senior Vice President for Research, and Corporate Controller

Research Protection Policies and Guidelines Associate Vice President for Research, Director of the Office for Research Protections

Safety Policies

  • EHS-Related Policies
  • All other SY Policies


Director-Environmental Health and Safety

Assistant Vice-President for Police and Public Safety

Travel Policies

Corporate Controller

A Responsible Official may take any University Policy to the President’s Council for review and approval and must take to the Council any Policies that have significant academic, financial or policy implications – such as HR Policies related to promotion and tenure or faculty rights and responsibilities. In addition, the President must approve any University Policy where such approval is provided for in any applicable requirement.

In addition, all Administrative Policies and any other Policies that are brought before the President’s Council for review and approval must be reviewed and approved as to form by the Vice President for Administration and the Vice President and General Counsel and then submitted to the President’s Council for final approval.

The Board of Trustees must approve certain University Policies (for example, the University’s intellectual property policy) and other Policies must be presented to the Board for information, as required by the Bylaws and Standing Orders. Nothing in the Policy on Policies changes these requirements.

If a University Policy would significantly affect academic issues and/or the faculty, the Responsible Official must consult as appropriate or required with the Provost’s Office, the University Faculty Senate, and the Academic Leadership Council prior to final approval.


If a Responsible Official believes that a University Policy they oversee is no longer useful, applicable, or is more effective if combined with another University Policy, they may choose to decommission the University Policy. Responsible Officials should confer with applicable University governance groups and subject matter experts as appropriate to ensure overall impact of decommissioning the Policy is considered. Responsible Officials shall work with the Vice President for Administration to seek formal decommissioning approval by President’s Council. 


All University Policies should be posted on Penn State Policies or another appropriate website and be available, as appropriate, to the University community.


Policies that do not meet the definition of University Policies and do not come within the scope of this Policy—for example, college, campus or unit level policies—may be promulgated by authorized individuals but may not be inconsistent with any applicable University Policy.


For questions, additional detail, or to request changes to this policy, please contact the Office of the Vice President for Administration.

Most recent changes:

  • September 13, 2019 - Changed Vice President for Research to Senior Vice President for Research

  • November 7, 2018 - Addition of section: Decommissioning a University Policy.

Revision History (and effective dates):

  • November 19, 2015 - Editorial change in APPROVAL section, changing the Responsible Officials for Intellectual Property Policies and Guidelines from the Vice President for Research and Dean of the Graduate School to just the Vice President for Research.
  • June 9, 2015 - Editorial changes have been made to reflect current operations. In APPROVALS, clarifications to the Responsible Officials for Research Administration policies and the newly created Research Protections policy section. Addition of policy steward information, in the event that there are questions or requests for changes to the policy.
  • June 10, 2013 - In APPROVALS, clarifications to the Responsible Officials for Payroll, Safety and Travel Policies.
  • April 24, 2013 - New policy.

Date Approved: 

April 24, 2013

Date Published: 

April 24, 2013

Effective Date: 

April 24, 2013