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Policy vs. Procedure


What is a Policy?

  • Describe the rules that establish what will or will not be done.
  • Can range from a broad philosophy to specific rules.
  • Guide decision making by employees.
  • Are usually expressed in standard sentence and paragraph format.
  • Does not restate the law or ask others to follow the law.
  • Include WHAT the rule is, WHY it exists, WHEN it applies and WHO it covers.

What is a Procedure?

  • Describe the critical steps undertaken to achieve policy intent.
  • Are succinct, factual and to the point.
  • Are usually expressed using lists.
  • Include HOW to achieve the necessary result/compliance with the policy.

Writing policies

  • Avoid use of "should" or "may" as these words imply choice.
  • Questions that a policy statement typically answers:
    • Who needs to follow the policy?
    • In what situation(s) does this policy not apply? What are the major conditions or restrictions? What is expected of the employee or student? Are there exclusions or special situations?
    • Who is making a decision and what do they consider in their decision?

Writing Procedure:

  • List steps to follow in order to comply with the policy, in the same order as in the policy.
  • List responsibility for each step.
  • Use one action per stepsteps that contain more than one action can confuse the reader.
  • Avoid too much detail - link to unit rules or work instructions on the University intranet if necessary.
  • Refer the reader to related documents, forms, work instructions/unit rules.

Request for new policy/modification to existing policy (KPU Credential Login Required)

To submit a request for a new policy, modification to existing policy, or modification to departmental practice / elimination / consolidation, please complete the KPU Policy/Procedure Request Form (Sections 1 - 4) and submit it to Anna Tur (,  Policy and Academic Affairs Specialist, for review and processing.

KPU Glossary of Policy Definitions (KPU Credential Login Required)

The KPU Glossary of Policy Definitions contains a comprehensive, alphabetized list of policy definitions from all current KPU policies.