Electronic Approval Processes and eSignatures at NC State

Internal Approvals

  • NC State maintains various administrative processes or internal forms that require approval, such as:
    • Departmental or supervisor approval, e.g., travel reimbursement.
    • Employee acknowledgment or verification, e.g., request form for specific items such as tuition waiver.
    • Student consent for internal control purposes, e.g., the release of educational records.
  • These approvals may be obtained by electronic or digital means as defined below.

Acceptable approval processes

  • Applications and processes that require Unity credentials via the university-approved multi-factor authentication to access and track changes and capture submitters and authors. Examples include:
    • Google Docs, Sheets and Forms.
    • Approvals provided via NC State email.
    • Applications in the MyPack Portal such as the MarketPlace and the Financial, Human Resources, Student Information (SIS), REPORTER, System Access Request (SAR), and PeopleAdmin Systems.
    • Other departmental applications and software requiring Unity credentials.
  • PDF form with an electronic block (certificate) or graphic signature added in any block and:
    • Shared within NC State’s Google Drive, or
    • Sent to or from an NC State email address.
      NOTE: Adobe Acrobat Reader allows you to incorporate a signature into a PDF. Other PDF tools have similar functionality.
  • Typewritten name or graphic image of a signature verified by an electronic signature application such as:
  • Scanned image of a signed document. (Least desirable and not accessible)

Unacceptable approval processes

  • Document originating from an email address other than the signer’s or approver’s NC State email address.
  • Text message.
  • Instant Messaging such as Google Chat, Slack, Teams, etc.
  • Social media communication.
  • Any other unauthenticated method of communication.

For questions about appropriate digital approval methods, consult with your unit’s Business Office.

Signatures on Third-Party/External Contracts or Agreements

  • A limited number of NC State employees have been delegated authority by the chancellor to sign contracts on behalf of the university or a department (NC State Regulation 01.20.02 – Delegation of Authority to Sign Contracts).
  • Such employees may sign the contracts with electronic signatures, provided that both of these conditions are met:
    • All parties to the agreement consent to using electronic signatures.
    • No law or regulation specifically requires a wet ink signature, e.g., notarized documents, eviction notices and certain environmental reports.
      For details, refer to Procurement and Business Services’ Contract Review.
  • To authenticate electronic signatures, parties should use a secure application designed to meet the legal requirements for electronic signatures, e.g., DocuSign and Adobe Sign.
  • This guidance does not expand the authority of any NC State employee to sign NC State or departmental contracts, letters of intent, memorandums of understanding, or other agreements requiring an NC State signature.