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UWEC 1.A, Practice Directive & Procedure Development

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Procedure #UWEC 1.A

Intent

UW-Eau Claire encourages our campus to establish practice directives & procedures that are aligned with, and in support of, UW System Policy as well as campus, State and Federal legal requirements. This procedure supports practice directive UWEC 1, Practice Directives and Procedures.

Scope

This procedure applies to each stakeholder on campus, specifically those who are seeking to create practice directives and procedures.

Definitions

Policy: A guiding authority that express our institutional culture, goals, and philosophy. Policies promote consistence and operational efficiency, enhance our mission and mitigate significant organizational risk. Policies allow for some discretion by guiding decision making and limiting or setting parameters or choices.

Practice Directive: Guiding principles, aligned with UW System, State and Federal policies and laws, for decision making and related processes at all levels.

Procedure: Actions and descriptions of the tasks required to support and carry out organizational policies and practice directives. Procedures articulate the process for accomplishing controls. Procedures might also document a course of action accomplished in a defined order, ensuring the consistent and repetitive approach to accomplish control activities.

The distinctions between practice directives and procedures can be subtle, depending on the level of operations described in the statements. In the tables below, you will find characteristics that can help discern practice directives from procedures.

Practice DirectiveProcedure
Are non-negotiableHave a narrow focus
Change infrequentlyAre prone to change
Are expressed in broad terms (transparency)Are often stated in detail
Are statements of “what” and/or “why”Are statements of “how” and/or “who”

Procedures

Development of a new Practice Directive or Procedure

StepAction
1.

Send proposals for a new practice directive or procedure to the relevant Director. Consider if the same objectives can be accomplished by revising existing policies, practice directives and/or procedures.

2.Collaborate with relevant stakeholders in the development of a draft document. This may include Executive Staff members, Directors, staff, institutional subject matter experts, external relations, and/or relevant governance groups.
3.Email the Office of the Vice Chancellor (finadmin@uwec.edu) if you have any questions about format, content, or the process
4.Draft the new document using the approved Practice Directive Template or Procedure Template.
5.Email the draft to the Office of the Vice Chancellor (finadmin@uwec.edu) for review
6.After review and revision, the proposed practice directive or procedure will be emailed to the Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration for final review and approval.
7.If approved, the Office of the Vice Chancellor will publish the new document on the Division of Finance & Administration website.
8.Distribute the new practice directive or procedure to relevant stakeholder groups

Substantive revisions to an existing Practice Directive or Procedure

StepAction
1.Collaborate with relevant stakeholders in the development of a draft document.
2.Email revisions to the Office of the Vice Chancellor (finadmin@uwec.edu) for review.
3.After review and revision, the proposed practice directive or procedure will be emailed to the Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration for final review and approval.
4.If approved, the Office of the Vice Chancellor will publish the revised document on the Division of Finance & Administration website.
5.Distribute the revised practice directive or procedure to relevant stakeholder groups

Technical amendments to an existing Practice Directive or Procedure

StepAction
1.Email the proposed technical amendment(s) to the Office of the Vice Chancellor (finadmin@uwec.edu) for review
2.If there is no objection, the Office of the Vice Chancellor will update and republish the practice directive or procedure. The amended practice directive or procedure will maintain its original number and date of approval.
3.Communicate the revised practice directive or procedure to relevant stakeholder groups

Rescission of an existing Practice Directive or Procedure

StepAction
1.Consult with relevant stakeholders as part of the request to rescind
2.Email the proposed rescission to the Office of the Vice Chancellor (finadmin@uwec.edu) for review
3.If approved by the Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration, the Office of the Vice Chancellor will remove the document from the Division of Finance & Administration website and note it’s rescission
4.Communicate the rescission to relevant stakeholders

Review schedule for existing Practice Directives or Procedures

The Office of the Vice Chancellor is charged with the development and maintenance of a comprehensive review plan for all Division of Finance and Administration Practice Directives and Procedures. The Office of the Vice Chancellor will work with department directors and all relevant stakeholders to conduct reviews.

Each new and existing practice directive and procedure will be assigned a review date. At a minimum, these should be reviewed every year. Existing divisional practice directives and procedures that do not follow current numbering conventions will be renumbered during the review and converted into the standardized template.

The Office of the Vice Chancellor may delay a scheduled review with approval from the Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration. If approved, the new scheduled review date will be added to the practice directive or procedure.

Content and Style Guide

Citing Sources

If there is a primary source of information related to a practice directive or procedure, cite the source rather than trying to summarize it. This minimizes misinterpretation of the primary source and decreases the need to update practice directives and procedures. Below is an example of primary sources that may be relevant:

Lists

Use vertical lists to highlight a series of requirements or other information in a visually clear way. Vertical lists help your reader focus on important material: A sample style guide is available here.

Tables

Use tables to make complex material easier to understand. Tables help your audience see relationships that are often hidden in dense text. Moreover, for most readers, it is not necessary to understand all possibilities and conditions, only those that apply to the reader’s situation. As an example, below is the procedure for preparing a French omelet:

StepAction
1.Crack the eggs into a bowl
2.Add salt and pepper to eggs
3.Preheat pan to medium heat while whisking the eggs
4.Add oil or butter to the pan
5.Pour eggs into the pan
6.Constantly mix and fold till the eggs till it begins to coagulate
7.Turn off heat
8.Place ingredients onto the omelet
9.
Fold onto plate and enjoy

Use Plain Language

Good practice directives and procedures are easy to read. “Plain language” is a writing style that helps readers:

  • find what they need,
  • understand what they find, and
  • use what they find to meet their needs

In general, follow these principles:

  • Write in the “active voice”
    • More than any other writing technique, using the active voice and specifying who is performing an action will change the character of your writing.
    • In an active-voice sentence, the person or department/unit taking the action is the subject of the sentence. Passive-voice sentences often do not identify who is performing the action.
Passive VoiceActive Voice
The lake was polluted by the company.The company polluted the lake.
New regulations were proposed.We proposed new regulations.
The following information must be included in the application for it to be considered complete.You must include the following information in your application.
Regulations have been proposed by the Department of Labor.The Department of Labor proposed new regulations.
  • Avoid the word “shall”
    • Use “must” for an obligation, “must not” for a prohibition, “may” for a discretionary action, and “should” for a recommendation.
    • Be aware of the “weight” of each of these words as you are developing or revising practice directives and procedures. Legal writing experts now recommend avoiding the archaic and ambiguous “shall” in favor of another word, depending on your meaning.
  • Use pronouns
    • Pronouns help readers relate better to your documents. They are more likely to understand what their responsibility is. Using pronouns also makes sentences shorter and your document easier to read.
    • For example, the requirement “Copies of receipts must be provided.” Can be better understood as “You must provide copies of your receipts.”
  • Omit unnecessary words
    • Wordy, dense documents are confusing to the reader. Edit your practice directive and procedure to reduce unnecessary or redundant information.
    • This task can be difficult for the writer themselves or for a subject matter expert, so have a friend or colleagues read your document and provide feedback. Watch out for “of”, “to”, “on” and other prepositions. They often mark phases you can reduce to one or two words.
Instead of saying…Say
A number ofSeveral, a few or many
A sufficient number ofEnough
At this point in timeNow
Is able toCan
On a monthly basisMonthly
  • Use good word choice
    • Use short words of one or two syllables
    • Avoid the use of jargon, unnecessary technical expressions and fancy vocabulary.
    • Use common words, for example ‘use’ instead of ‘utilize’
    • Avoid “legalese” like the following; these words make documents “stuffy”
Examples

AboveHereafterTherewith
AforementionedHerebyWhatsoever
ForegoingThereafterWherein
HenceforthThereofWhereof
  • Write short sentences
    • Long, complicated sentences often mean that you are not sure about what you want to say.
    • Shorter sentences are better for conveying complex information by breaking the information into smaller, easier-to-process units.
    • Resist the temptation to put everything in one sentence. Break up your idea into its parts and make each one the subject of its own sentence.

Resources

Practice Directive UWEC 1, Practice Directives & Procedures

Practice Directive Template

Procedure Template

Procedure Administration

Version NumberV2.0
Approval AuthorityVice Chancellor for Finance & Administration
Approval DateMay 1, 2021
Next Review DateSeptember 1, 2023
DivisionFinance & Administration
DepartmentOffice of the Vice Chancellor
ContactSpecial Assistant to the Vice Chancellor | finadmin@uwec.edu

Revision History

VersionRevision DateDescription of ChangeAuthor(s)
1.005/01/21Original issuanceArjen Van Dijk
2.009/01/22Updated to new format, updated development, approval, revision, and rescission workflowKyran Hamill

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