President's Delegations of Authority

General Questions

  1. Why does the University need delegations of authority?

    Clear, well-documented delegations and sub-delegations of authority protect the University’s assets by assigning authority to individuals who are knowledgeable about the transaction and governing laws, policies, and procedures. In a large, complex organization like the University, it is not always practical for supervisors to manage all of the transactions of the unit. Delegation of authority allows them to entrust and empower qualified employees to handle specific transactions on their behalf in order to achieve effective and efficient results.

    Employees who do not have the authority to sign contracts and agreements are prohibited from doing so.

  2. What are delegations/sub-delegations of president's authority?

    The University, like all corporations, must act through authorized individuals. The law authorizes the Board of Regents to act for the University. In turn, the Regents have delegated general executive management and administrative authority for the University to the president. The president may choose to retain authorities and to delegate other authorities to executive officers, which essentially flow down through the University's chain of command.

    Delegations of authority associated with this policy include the ability to sign contracts and agreements that bind the University to a legally enforceable obligation (transactional authorities). The delegations of authority associated with this policy do not include broad oversight and management authorities, such as those outlined in job descriptions (non-transactional authorities). Ideally, there is alignment between these two types of authorities, as well as authorities provided to employees responsible for interfacing with institution-wide tools (Enterprise Financial System, Human Resources Management System, etc.).

  3. Who is allowed to delegate authority? Who decides what authority to delegate?

    Delegation of authority is a management decision. Delegators may not sub-delegate any authority that has not been delegated to them by their manager or any authority that has been identified as one that cannot be sub-delegated. If a delegator has not been delegated a particular authority, they are not allowed to delegate that authority to another person.

  4. What is the President's Delegations of Authority system?

    The President's Delegations of Authority system is a comprehensive, web-based database that lists all of the transactional delegations/sub-delegations of authority at the University of Minnesota.

  5. Who monitors delegations of authority for the University?

    Each unit is responsible for monitoring the delegations / sub-delegations of authority and complying with this policy. The Office of Institutional Compliance will provide education and support to units to ensure compliance with this policy across the organization. In addition, the Office of Internal Audit reviews unit documentation of delegations and sub-delegations of authority as part of their standard audit operations, and will advise the president and the University’s Chief Compliance Officer on individual and organizational trends regarding policy compliance.

  6. What is signature authority and how does it differ from other authorities?

    Signature authority means the power to sign a contract which is an action that binds the University. Approval is consent. Additional approvals may be required, depending on the nature of the transaction, legal requirements, dollar level, etc.

For Supervisors

  1. Who can I turn to for assistance if I have questions on delegations of authority so that my unit complies with the policy?

    Your unit DOA specialist may assist you in managing compliance with this policy. You may also contact the Office of Institutional Compliance, which provides central support to units in complying with this policy.

  2. What if I have a personnel change (i.e., new hire, promotion, reorganization or resignation) and I need to request a change in delegations?

    Some personnel changes do not trigger a change to delegations.  Since all delegations are associated with a position rather than a person, so long as the delegations are still needed to perform the work, they need not change when a new person is hired into a current position. If the work changes such that a position requires a different set of delegations of authority than is currently associated with a position, then the delegations should be modified.  All modification requests must be communicated by the delegator to the DOA specialist assigned for that particular college. The DOA specialist may then make the modifications. The supervisor is responsible for communicating changes to the employee.

    If you have questions about whether a contract requires additional approvals beyond signature, please consult with your DOA specialist, or OGC, for advice.

  3. Do I need to delegate or sub-delegate the same authorities to all employees within a common position classification?

    No. Although delegations are associated with positions, each position may have unique responsibilities and the assigned delegations should align with that work.

  4. How frequently should I review the authority that I have delegated?

    You should review your delegations within your unit at least annually to ensure proper alignment between management authority, responsibility, and accountability, and to make adjustments as appropriate. An ideal opportunity for reviewing the delegations is the annual performance review, as well as in concert with any personnel changes or unit reorganization that may occur.

For Employees

  1. How do I obtain the authority to sign documents I need to sign for my job?

    Ask your supervisor. If your supervisor does not have the authority to sign the contract, someone in your organization does or knows who does. Only an individual who has authority may sub-delegate that authority to a position that reports to them.

  2. How do I know whether I have the authority to sign a contract?

    If your position has been assigned a delegation of authority, this communication would have come from your supervisor.  You may also search for your internet ID or position # at to confirm whether or not you have the authority to sign a contract.  If it does not appear on your list, then you do not have authority to sign a contract or legal document.

  3. What happens if I have no authority, but sign anyway?

    You would be operating out of compliance with University policy. The agreement may be void and you may be held personally responsible for all losses and subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

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