Policy Content & Organization Guide

When drafting a policy, follow these instructions to ensure that, when posted in the Policy Library, the policy:

  • Displays properly
  • Provides all necessary information
  • Can be located quickly by category and title
  • Can be located by using the Policy Library search function


The content of the policies within the Policy Library must include:

  • Use unique and descriptive words.
  • Avoid vague titles.
  • Make the title brief, yet descriptive, for search purposes. Ideally, keep titles less than 64 characters in length.
  • Avoid including the phrases "Iowa State University", "Iowa State", "ISU", or "policy".
Effective Date
The date the policy was officially put into practice. May be different than date the policy was adopted.
The unit or position to be consulted regarding policy questions. (Example: Director of Business Services, Vice President for Student Affairs, Provost.) The "contact" will be linked to a relevant website indicating how the contact may be reached.
The introduction should include the policy's purpose (e.g., to promote, assure, protect, comply with, etc.) and any other information needed to contextualize and introduce the policy. If applicable, include the authoritative basis for the policy (e.g., legislation, state law, Regent's policy).
Policy Statement
The policy statement is the policy itself, and may be divided into subsections or include a glossary. Policy includes statements of rules or standards. Policies do not change frequently. Policies may not include procedures or supplemental information. Supplemental information should be included in the Resources section, below.
Links to procedures, related information, guidelines, forms, etc.

Size (Length) and Organization

Policies can vary significantly in length, and there are advantages and disadvantages to both short and long policies. The Policy Library does not constrain the length of policies, but conciseness is advised. The length of a policy can determine how long it takes to load, how easy it is to find the keywords searched for within the policy, and how easy it is to navigate and read. As a general rule, the shorter the policy, the easier it is for users to retrieve the information they are seeking.

If your policy is long and contains multiple sub-sections within the Policy Statement section, strive to organize the material using sub-headings and bulleted lists.

Avoid the use of numbering schemes, if possible. If you are anticipating including an ordered list, consider whether the material is actually a process rather than policy. Supplemental information such as procedures is not included in the Policy Library, but links to such material are encouraged within the "Resources" section (see above).