Contract Process

As a premier educational and research university operating as an agency of the Commonwealth of Virginia while using private, local, state and federal funds, the College of William and Mary’s business environment is complex and nuanced.  The contracts that govern how William and Mary operates are critical to our success.

The key elements of the contract process are:

  • Contract initiation.
  • What is the contract procedure?
  • Who is responsible for what type of contract?
  • Who has the authority to sign a contract?
  • Who manages the contracts once signed?
  • Review and editing
    • Once a need has been identified and a document will need to be signed to deliver the solution, the first step in the process is to review of the document.
      • Does the contract meet our business need? This can usually be determined at the department level.
      • Does the contract meet the requirements of the Commonwealth of Virginia?  There are certain clauses and conditions that William and Mary either cannot or must have in any contract.  These are part of the contract training available but the Procurement office is the primary resource for this element.
      • If a contract needs to be altered to meet our needs and requirements, contact the Procurement office to expedite the editing.


  • Negotiation
    • Vendors expect some degree of negotiation during the contract process.  If they present a contract to you, they will forward the contract that is most advantageous to them.  The negotiation process is designed to arrive at a contract that is fair and reasonable to both sides while advantageous to William and Mary. The college has personnel experienced and adept at negotiation that should be a part of any negotiation process, specifically Procurement for goods and services, Office of Sponsored Programs for grant related contracts and University Counsel for other matters.
  • Execution
    • A contract is a part of the process.  For example before a goods or services contract is signed, an order should be placed in eVA.  Contracts may need to be reviewed by the appropriate departments on campus such as IT.  The contract is signed as the final step in the business process.



In broad terms, there are three distinct departments at William and Mary responsible for contracting activity:

  • Procurement for goods and services
  • Office of Sponsored Programs for grant related activity
  • Office of Administration for property leases
  • Technology Transfer Office for non-disclosure agreements
  • University Counsel for anything outside of goods, services and grants.

In addition to the responsibility for ensuring that the College is in compliance with local, state and federal laws and university policy, they are the primary resource for the College to assist you in the development and execution of effective contracts.



The Board of Visitors' Bylaws authorize the President, the Provost, the Vice President for Administration, and the Vice President for Finance to transact business in the name of the university, including the authority to sign contracts.

The Bylaws also authorize the President, Provost, Vice President for Administration and Vice President for Finanace to further delegate their signature authority authorizing individuals to conduct business on behalf of the Board of Visitors and the university.

If an individual does not have specific written authority to sign a specific type of contract, they cannot sign a contract.  There are no exceptions.



Once a contract is signed the business relationship begins.  On the William and Mary side, an individual is given written responsibility and authority as the contract manager for a given contract.  This may or may not be the individual who signed the contract. 

The contract manager ensures that the College receives the deliverables as stated in the contract, manages any deviations or issues and evaluates the contract for renewal if appropriate.