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Agreement Approval Process

Employees should not sign any agreements on behalf of the University without first confirming that they have signing authority with Operational Review. Also, employees are prohibited from signing any agreements within DocuSign or another electronic signature platform that originates from outside of the University. Employees may only sign agreements that originate from within the University (i.e., branded with the University logo and sent from Operational Review, the Office of Purchasing, the Office of Sponsored Programs Finance & Compliance (“SPFAC”), or Human Resources). Please direct any questions regarding signing authority to

1. All external agreements, with the exception of those agreements typically routed through the Office of Purchasing or SPFAC, will be routed electronically for approvals and signatures according to this process.

a. Examples of external agreements that would be handled through Purchasing are: hotel agreements, software licenses with an associated cost, agreements associated with a requisition, and other agreements where the University will expend funds.

b. Examples of external agreements that would be handled through SPFAC are: grants and associated agreements.

c. Other types of external agreements that would be handled through Operational Review are: memoranda of understanding (MOU), cooperative endeavor agreements (CEA), non-disclosure agreements, affiliation agreements, employment contracts, athletic game contracts, Research agreements, no-cost licensing agreements, and all other agreements with a third party not handled by Purchasing or SPFAC.

2. This process for routing agreements for approvals and signatures does not change any already established internal communication processes for negotiating agreements prior to routing them for signatures. Departments are encouraged to communicate with Operational Review early in the negotiation process to avoid delays when the agreement is presented for routing for approvals and signatures.

3. The process of obtaining University-authorized signature(s) is originated at the Office or Department level. An individual from the Office/Department that will be Operational Review’s contact for communication about the agreement (“Department Contact”) will email the following information to the Office of Operational Review at (an example of the content of this email can also be found at the bottom of this page):

a. An electronic version of the agreement (i.e. a Word (preferred) or PDF version of the agreement).

b. Any necessary attachments such as cover memos, routing forms, exhibits, and appendices should be emailed along with the electronic version of the agreement.

c. The email subject line shall be in the following format: Agreement Routing Request – [Name of Originating Office or Department] – [Name of Agreement] – [Name of Contract Monitor] – [Name of Contracting Party].

d. The email body shall include all of the following information:

i. The name, title, department, email address, and phone number of the Department Contact.

ii. Who within the University will be responsible for monitoring this agreement, determining whether it should be renewed/terminated, etc.? Include that individual’s name, title, email address, and phone number. This person will be considered the “Contract Monitor” and should also be copied on the email if he/she is not also the Department Contact.

iii. Has Operational Review previously reviewed a draft of this agreement? If not, the agreement attached should be a Word version, if available.

iv. Is the agreement a renewal of, amendment or modification to, or associated with an existing agreement? If yes, identify the existing agreement(s), term(s) of the existing agreement(s), the parties to the existing agreement(s), and attach a copy of same.

v. Will the contracting party also sign the agreement electronically? If yes, please provide the name, title, and email address of the contracting party’s authorized representative that will sign the agreement. If you need assistance communicating with the contracting party about electronic signatures, please let Operational Review know.

vi. Is there a deadline for having the agreement fully executed?

4. Do not obtain any signatures (internal or external) before submitting an agreement to Operational Review. All signatures will be obtained electronically via DocuSign, both for internal approvals and for final University signatures.

5. At this time the University does not execute agreements originating from a contracting party’s DocuSign account for compliance reasons. If any University employee receives an agreement sent from the DocuSign account of a contracting party, the Department Contact shall follow the process listed above to route the agreement to Operational Review for processing. A DocuSign agreement sent from a University DocuSign account can be identified by looking at the sender of the email containing the document (must be from a account) and by seeing the University’s branding in the email from DocuSign.

6. Once received, Operational Review will review the agreement. If Operational Review determines that the agreement is ready for routing, Operational Review will upload the agreement into DocuSign, setting up the appropriate routing queue for approvals and signatures. If it is determined that the agreement is not ready for routing, Operational Review will coordinate the request of any necessary revisions with the Department Contact.

7. If the contracting party has agreed to sign via DocuSign, they will be included in the routing process set by Operational Review. If they do not agree to sign via DocuSign, the Department Contact will coordinate obtaining the contracting party’s signature(s).

8. Upon receipt of all required approvals and signatures within DocuSign, all parties involved will automatically be notified by DocuSign of the completed transaction and will be able to retrieve a fully executed copy of the electronically signed agreement. 

a. If the contracting party did not sign via DocuSign, the Department Contact will send the fully executed agreement to Operational Review. In this situation only the internal approvals/signatures will be accessible via DocuSign to those involved in the review.

b. Operational Review will maintain the original of the agreement in its contract repository, but will not be responsible for the maintenance of the agreement, including but not limited to performance, oversight, and monitoring absent explicit statements by Operational Review to the contrary. The Department Contact shall communicate whether any further assistance is requested from Operational Review.

c. The Contract Monitor is responsible for monitoring the agreement for compliance and ensuring its requirements are met by the University.

Sample Email