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Signature Authority


Signature Authority

Only authorized signatories named by the Board of Visitors, or to whom signatory authority has been delegated in writing by the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, can legally bind the University to a contract.

Prior to execution of a proposed contract, the authorized signatory must coordinate all required reviews, obtain all internal approvals, and ensure compliance with applicable University policies and state and federal law . For more information, see the University’s policy on Signatory Authority for Executing University Contracts.

IMPORTANT: If an individual without delegated signature authority signs an agreement purporting to bind the University, he or she could potentially face personal liability for any suit or claim arising from that contract. If an employee hasn’t received an official signatory authority delegation letter from the EVP/COO, then he or she does not have authority to sign an agreements on behalf of the University.

Contracts Reviewed by the Controller's Office: The Tax Compliance and Contracting unit manages the review and execution of contracts for three separate authorized signatories:

  • University Controller:  The Controller is the holder of residual signature authority for the University’s academic division and College at Wise. As such, authority for all contracts not specifically delegated to other University business units resides with the Controller, up to a maximum amount of $3M over the life of the contract.  Contracts exceeding the maximum must be signed by the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer or the President. Per Board of Visitors policy, contracts concerning real estate or allowing the payment of more than $5M in any one year must receive prior approval by the Board and be signed by an authorized official.
  • Executive Vice President & Provost: The Executive Vice President & Provost has signature authority for all academic program agreements for the University’s academic division.  Academic program agreements are contracts between the University and another institution or organization to establish a joint educational program, a collaborative academic relationship such as a student exchange, or a research activity unrelated to sponsored research. The Provost’s signature authority is limited to $5M over the life of the contract.  Contracts exceeding the maximum must be signed by the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer or the President. Per Board of Visitors policy, contracts concerning real estate or allowing the payment of more than $5M in any one year must receive prior approval by the Board and be signed by an authorized official.
  • Director of Tax Compliance and Contracting:  In addition to managing the contract process for the University’s Controller and Provost, the Director has authority to sign certain agreements for the University’s academic division and College at Wise, including clinical practicum contracts, student internship contracts and service agreements not exceeding $10K in any one year.

Other University Contracting Offices

Other individuals at the University have been delegated signature authority by the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for agreements that pertain to their functional unit’s area of specialty.  Below is list of contract categories and the units that manage them; it is not intended as a comprehensive listing but a sample of the more common agreements.  If a contract falls within the authority of a unit mentioned below, please direct the agreement to the appropriate office:

Office of Sponsored Programs: Sponsored program agreements are signed through the Office of Sponsored Programs and include research funding agreements, grant agreements, government contracts, material transfer agreements, non-disclosure agreements and any similar agreements. 

  • Note: Sponsored programs arising from faculty in the School of Medicine are initially processed and negotiated through its Office of Grants and Contracts

Procurement & Supplier Diversity Services: Agreements for the purchase of goods or services for the University’s academic division and College at Wise are processed through the Procurement & Supplier Diversity Services Department.

Medical Center Procurement: Agreements for the purchase of goods or services for the University’s Medical Center are processed through its Procurement unit.

Medical Center Contract Administration:  Contracts other than Procurements for the Medical Center, incuding in-coming student practica and insurance provider agreements, are handled through the Contract Administration unit in the Medical Center’s Finance Department.

Facilities Contract Administration:  The procurement of professional services, construction managers, and contractors for the academic division, the Medical Center and the College at Wise is the responsibility of the Contract Administration team in the Facilities Planning and Construction unit.

Questions or Comments?

Please contact us with any questions about tax compliance issues or contracting activities.

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