Electronic Approval Processes and Signatures at NC State

Internal Approvals

Under normal operating procedures, NC State maintains a number of administrative approval processes or internal forms requiring departmental or supervisor approval, an employee’s signature, or a student’s consent for internal control purposes; e.g., travel reimbursements, request forms, release of educational records.  Such internal approvals may be obtained by electronic or digital means if departments adopt processes to ensure they maintain appropriate documentation of the approvals.

For authentication purposes, such approval will be acceptable if provided by one of the following means:

  • Approval process incorporated within the MyPack portal.
  • Authenticated Google form with an NC State email address.
  • PDF form with an electronic block (certificate) or graphic signature added in any block and shared within NC State’s G Drive or from and to an NC State email address.
    NOTE: Adobe Acrobat Reader allows you to incorporate a signature into a PDF.
    Other PDF tools have similar functionality.
  • A typewritten name or graphic image of a signature verified by an electronic signature application; e.g. DocuSign eSignature or Adobe Sign.
  • Scanned image of a signed document (least desirable and not accessible).

The following types of electronic approvals should NOT be accepted:

  • Document originating from an email address other than the signer/approver’s NC State email address.
  • Text message.
  • Social media communication.
  • Any other unauthenticated method of communication.

If you have questions about whether a digital approval method is appropriate to use, please consult with your unit’s Business Office.

Signatures on University Contracts or Agreements

NC State Regulation 01.20.02 – Delegation of Authority to Sign Contracts identifies the limited number of employees on campus who have been delegated authority from the Chancellor to sign contracts on behalf of the university or their department.  Those employees listed in the policy may sign the contracts for which they have been delegated such authority using an electronic signature as long as both parties to the agreement consent to using electronic signatures and no law or regulation specifically requires a wet ink signature; e.g., notarized documents, eviction notices, certain environmental reports. Refer to Procurement and Business Services’ Contract Review page for additional details.

Parties should use secure electronic signature applications (e.g., DocuSign, Adobe Sign) designed to meet the legal requirements for electronic signatures to authenticate electronic signatures. This guidance does not expand the authority of any employee on campus to sign NC State or departmental contracts, letters of intent, MOUs, or other agreements requiring an NC State signature.

Should you have any questions about signing NC State contracts, please contact the Office of General Counsel.

If you have questions about using electronic signature tools, please contact the NC State Help Desk via the IT Service Portal.