Strategies, action plans, guidelines, polices and frameworks are pervasive in H.E. Often the lines between them are blurred. These are my initial thoughts on each but please do share your own experiences.

  • Strategy: usually relates to overarching institutional vision (with departments then responding to and planning against this) E.g. institutional education strategy
  • Action plan: a response to fulfilling the strategy (usually at departmental level). E.g. library department writing an action plan to support delivery of education strategy.
  • Policies: usually identifies what **must** be done and how (often linked to legal compliance) E.g. data protection policy or policy on dealing with student appeals
  • Frameworks: ways in which activities might be approached (usually to encourage a similar approach across organisations) E.g. a personal tutoring framework to encourage consistency
  • Guidelines: often based on best practice and a **suggested** approach. E.g. guidance on accessibility.

The question of when guidelines becomes policy or vice versa is obviously up for debate, so too is the extent to which a policy might have a supporting set of guidelines.

Anything else I’ve missed?

Any other thoughts? Please use the comments or tag me @digisim in your tweets & posts.

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