Centre for Teaching and Learning
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T&L Policies and Guidelines

 

Where does policy come from?

A policy is a deliberate system of principles to guide decisions and achieve rational outcomes.  A policy is a statement of intent, and is implemented as a procedure or protocol.  Policies are generally adopted by the Board of or senior governance body within an institution or organisation.

 

Types of policy and management documents

(Source: Stellenbosch University Rules for policy and management documents, 2012)

 

(a) Strategy documents (including the SU vision and mission, strategic plans, master plans, business plans and so forth) are directed at the future and contain information on the vision with regard to specific aspects, the objectives that have to be achieved, the planned actions to achieve the objectives, the ways in which progress will be measured and monitored, and the way in which progress will be reported.

 

Approval:

  • Strategy documents are approved within the context of line management.
  • Strategy that is applicable at the institutional level therefore will be approved by the Rector's Management Team.

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  • Strategy that is applicable to a subdivision of the University may be approved by the head of environment within the context of the relevant line management.

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  • Depending on the nature, scope and impact of the strategy document concerned, the discretion lies with the head of the environment concerned whether the relevant strategy document also has to be submitted to the Rector's Management Team for approval.

 

(b) Policy documents are written primarily on the level of principles, have a medium or longer term period of applicability, and contain information on the purpose, scope, policy principles, decision-making, roles, definitions and information on supporting and related documents with regard to a specific matter. Policy documents are finalised, prescriptive and compliance is compulsory. SU requires that policy documents are approved by Council. This requirement can serve as a handy guideline when considering whether the document concerned should be written as policy, or rather in some other appropriate form of management document.

Approval:

  • All policy documents have to be approved by the Council of the University after consultation with the Institutional Forum (IF).
  • Policy relating to academic matters should always first be submitted to Senate for recommendation before it is submitted to Council for approval. A recommendation by Senate is preceded by recommendations by one or more faculty boards (where appropriate), and/or Senate committees (where appropriate), and by the Executive Committee of Senate. In specific cases a recommendation from the Rector's Management Team is also required before a policy document can be submitted to the Executive Committee of Senate. Policy documents relating to academic matters follow a concurrent consultation route via Senate and the Institutional Forum before they can be submitted to Council for approval.

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  • For policy documents relating to non-academic matters there should be consultation with the Rector's Management Team, the Institutional Forum and the Executive Committee of Council, and the documents should be recommended by these bodies before they are submitted to Council for approval.

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(c)      Rules, Regulations, Prescriptions and Procedure documents are management documents and contain details, often with reference to one or more policy document. Rules, regulations, prescriptions and procedures are finalised, prescriptive and compliance is compulsory.

Approval:

  • Rules, Regulations, Prescriptions and Procedure documents are approved within the line management concerned.
  • Line managers decide at their own discretion whether the scope and impact of specific guidelines or actions also require clearing and/or approval on the institutional level by the Rector's Management Team.

 

(d)      Guidelines and Manuals are also management documents and contain information on the desired or preferred action with regard to the topic concerned. Guidelines and manuals sometimes are prescriptive and compulsory, but sometimes also optional.

Approval:

  • Guidelines and Manuals are approved within the relevant line management.
  • Line managers decide at their own discretion whether the scope and impact of specific guidelines or actions also require clearing and/or approval on the institutional level by the Rector's Management Team.