National repository to bring order to campus policies

Project will offer best practices perspective on colleges’ academic, operations and regulatory policies

Higher ed institutions tend to have so many policies, it’s common to see colleges with a policy ON policies. Many policy-focused administrators are working to rein in and ensure campus policies are accurate, updated and accessible. Not to mention, creating such documents, especially when it must be done from scratch, is no easy task. 

In fact, one of the top recent requests from members of AACRAO, the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, has been for a searchable, nationwide policy repository, says Melanie Gottlieb, deputy director of the organization, which has more than 11,000 members. It’s a wish that’s now coming true. 

Also read: 6 steps to better policy process

In development is the Higher Education Institutional Policy Portal, which will allow administrators, faculty and staff to research and compare policies from other institutions across the U.S.—policies encompassing all facets of campus operations, including the areas of academic affairs, campus safety, legal, and disability services. Available to AACRAO members as a complimentary resource, the repository will be rolled out in late 2020; access for non-members and any related fees have yet to be determined.

“Some are looking at updating existing policies and others may be looking to develop new ones based on current issues in and around their institution or within the higher ed community,” says Gottlieb. “We believe the portal will ultimately serve as a vehicle to help policy administrators reduce the burden of trying to find and create new policies.” 

CollegeSource, a SaaS provider of transfer and degree achievement systems and an archiver of higher ed course catalogs, has volunteered to perform the heavy lifting on the project. While academic and institutional policies have historically been part of course catalogs, they are now scattered throughout various print and online resources, says Troy Holaday, president of CollegeSource. “The aim is to be as comprehensive as possible, including the intent to capture policies over time in an archival manner to observe how they evolve.” 

Also read: 4 ways to advance academic course catalogs

Just as is common with college academic catalogs today, the database will have search, filtering and reporting capabilities, says Holaday, who adds that the list of categories is being developed in this early phase of data collection. “The diversity of policies, as you might guess, is as diverse as the institutions themselves.”

Melissa Ezarik is senior managing editor of UB. 

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