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Delegation of Authority/Signature Authorization :

Policy/Guideline Area

Governance, Organization, and General Policies

Applicable Divisions

TCATs, Community Colleges, System Office, Board Members


The purpose of this policy is to provide guidance to the institutions in developing a campus policy for delegation of authority and signature authorization.


  1. Scope
    1. This policy applies when exercising delegation of authority and signature authorization for any transaction that could create a financial liability for an institution.
    2. Examples include, but are not limited to, contracts, purchase orders, memorandums of agreement, and travel authorizations.
    3. Examples outside the scope of this policy include, but are not limited to, course overloads, student advising, and reductions in student course loads.
  2.  Delegation of Authority
    1. Every institution must develop a policy for delegation of authority and signature authorization.
    2. At a minimum, the institution’s policy must include the following items:
      1. Delegations/authorizations must be in writing, with level of authority, any restrictions on authority and period of authority, if any, clearly noted.
      2. Delegations should run from the official holding authority to act directly to the person exercising that authority.  The principle is that the person holding authority should have direct knowledge of who within the institution is exercising that authority on their behalf.
      3. Personnel with delegated authority should be qualified to do so by training and experience. Person making delegation is responsible for ensuring person to whom authority is delegated is qualified and understands the application of the authority delegated.
      4. The ramifications of exceeding or misapplying one’s delegated authority should be clearly understood and uniformly enforced.
      5. Delegations requiring the Chancellor’s approval must be properly obtained.
      6. Authority assigned to the Chancellor, Presidents, or Vice Chancellors by policy, guideline or statute cannot be delegated unless specifically allowed in the policy, guideline, or statute.
  3. Recommended Practice
    1. Personnel with delegated authority should sign the name of the person of authority followed by their name.
      1. For example: Chancellor John Doe by Jane Smith
    2. Periodic training should be provided to ensure persons with delegated authority have a clear, current understanding of their authority and its limitations.



T.C.A. § 49-8-203


TBR Board Meeting September 21, 2012