Guidance for Review of Proposals by Deans, Directors, and Department Chairs

This guidance is provided to assist deans, directors, and department chairs in review of proposals for extramurally sponsored grants, contracts, and other agreements and to explain the purpose of their signature approving such proposals.

By reviewing an extramural proposal and approving in Phoebe, the dean, director, or department chair certifies that the arrangements and time commitments proposed are compatible with the activities and resources of the unit and school or college, and also authorizes acceptance, within University policies, of an award that may result from the proposal.

Review of extramural proposals should cover all areas of University activities affected by a proposed project. The questions below are exemplary but not inclusive of those to be considered in each particular case.

Chairs, deans, and directors who wish to delegate departmental approval to another individual within their department/unit may do so by completing and submitting the Delegation of Signature Authority for Proposals form to SPO.

If the dean, director, or department chair has a personal financial interest in the proposed sponsor of a project, someone else with appropriate authority must review and approve the proposal.

Financial Resources

Are the resources required to carry out the project currently available? Have cost sharing or matching commitments been made? If so, are appropriate resources available for these commitments? (SPO requires documentation of all financial cost sharing commitments to be submitted with the proposal as attachments in Phoebe.) If two or more units are involved, are the cost sharing responsibilities of each clearly understood and documented?


Is the space needed for the project adequate and available for the full project period? If additional space or facilities will be required, have appropriate commitments been made to assure their availability for the project? Have the deans and chairs of other involved units been consulted?

Faculty and Staff Time

Are the time commitments proposed by the faculty reasonable to achieve the goals of the project in light of teaching and other University responsibilities? Is release time likely to be required? If so, can it be approved? Will any faculty time be committed as cost share? This should be clearly indicated in Phoebe. Approval in Phoebe by the Chair or Director of the Academic Unit indicate approval of any faculty time commitments listed. Will the principal investigator/project director and other key personnel be available throughout the proposed term of the project? If the project involves staff employees, are they available and properly funded for the entire project period?

PI Status

If the principal investigator (PI) or project director will lead the project on an “exceptional” basis, the Dean/Chair/Director must agree to obtain “Exceptional” status for the PI prior to the award. This will occur when the Dean/Chair/Director approves the proposal in Phoebe. Note: Approval of Exceptional PI status is not required at the proposal stage; however, SPO will not be able to establish the award until the PI’s exceptional status has been approved by the VCRO.


Is the proposed project acceptable under the principles of University Regulation 4 regarding faculty salaries and investigations of a purely commercial nature? Is the proposed project appropriate for the principal investigator/project director(s), the administering unit, and the campus to undertake? Does it serve the University missions of expanding knowledge and educating students? Is there significant graduate student involvement? If not, why? If the project involves other units on campus, have the chairs and deans of those units been consulted?

For assistance in evaluating administrative commitments in proposals, please contact appropriate Sponsored Projects Office staff.