Improving quality and access to university policies through a public-facing web portal
Whether the topic was tailgating or code of conduct, the policies of Trinity University often included information that confused and frustrated the very community they were meant to support. Last year, however, the San Antonio institution implemented Zavanta software by COMPROSE and now has policies that are centralized and always up to date.
“We did not have a formal review and approval process, making it difficult to manage these policies,” says Associate Vice President for Finance Diana Heeren, who led the university president’s task force to strengthen the policy structure. “When users searched for a topic, they weren’t sure if they had found all of the relevant policies or if they were viewing the most current version.”
Customizable web portal
Using Zavanta’s public-facing portal features, Trinity staff created a website available to the general public as well as to the school’s 3,500 students, staff and faculty. Policies that were once stored in HTML on the university’s website are now searchable by department, topic or audience and accessible from any device.
“The ability to customize the portal to suit our needs made Zavanta stand out from the competition,” Heeren says. “Since policy development is decentralized at Trinity, it was important to find a solution that allowed us to enforce approval before the policy could be published.”
Improved policy quality
Migrating information to the new system was seamless, Heeren says. In addition, the ability to gather input on proposed policies has strengthened the final products.
“We encourage authors to work with key stakeholders during the policy development stage,” Heeren says. “By sharing policies in their draft form and having a two-week comment period, we invite and encourage collaboration. We believe this is key to strong shared governance.”
Room for expansion
The university is now conducting a comprehensive review of all policies by division, and a gap analysis will follow. Then, staff will create policies as needed. Trinity’s general counsel has played a significant role in the review process, providing legal and compliance perspective and helping departments update their policies, Heeren says.
“We frequently hear how easy it is to navigate the portal,” Heeren says. “Faculty and staff can quickly find what they need without wasting time searching. The vice presidents responsible for approving policies can easily see which policies need review. And the president is pleased. He’s received positive feedback that it is working as planned.”
For more information, please visit comprose.com