L&S Routing for Academic Dean Approval for Standard Affiliation Agreements

The Office of Legal Affairs requires certain procedures concerning signature authority on contracts that are legally binding for the university. This document provides information for departments about College-level signature and approval for these agreements.

Relatively few people at UW-Madison have the authority to sign documents that commit the University to pay another party for goods or services (as may happen as a component of a research project or contract for services), or that commit the University to engage in academic arrangements or obligations (such as scholarly exchanges or consortial agreements).  These types of documents may be considered legal contracts, and should be reviewed to ensure that the university may the terms established in the document, that all parties that should be know about the agreement and its terms are informed and agree, and that the proper on-campus representatives are signing on behalf of the University.  (Documents that are not signed by the people who are empowered as signature authorities may have no legal standing to be enforced - which can cause significant problems for the units seeking those arrangements.) The Office of Legal Affairs has issued a memorandum outlining "signature authority" and who is responsible for signing different types of documents. (This memo can be found through the Research and Sponsored Programs "Frequently Needed Data" page.)

Legal Affairs has also determined that, in addition to the signature of the Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration required for business contracts, some types of agreements that have an academic component require additional, college-level signatures that signal approval of the academic nature of the arrangement. For example, a Standard Affiliation Agreement between a department and a clinical training site involves an educational aspect of the contractual relationship.  As a result of this change in policy, new agreements (signed January 2013 forward) will require the signature of the dean's designee, the Academic Associate Dean responsible for the department/program. In cases where the relationship may have financial implications for the department, program, or college, the Associate Dean will confer with the L&S Associate Dean for Budget, Planning and Administration.

Documents should be sent to the Associate Dean; please include a routing slip to indicate where the document should be sent after it is signed. Absent any specific instructions, L&S will forward signed agreements to Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration Office for final approval.