Department Head and Director Handbook

Other Resources

University System of Georgia

Valdosta State University

  • Under “Forms for Faculty” the college website includes links for the A&S Promotion and Tenure Policies and Procedures, VSU Position Management Form, VSU Budget Amendment Request, Major Scientific Equipment Funding Pool Application Form, travel and payroll forms, and the Reassigned Time Request Form
  • The website for the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs provides valuable information on academic forms, academic leave, academic policies and procedures, advising, faculty policies and procedures, university promotion and tenure policies, and teaching resources under the link for “Faculty Resources”  
  • Departments also have policies and procedures manuals, which nicely complement this handbook.  


Scheduling Courses/Building a Schedule

One of the most demanding tasks for department heads and directors is scheduling classes, which consists of several important steps.


To begin the planning process, one must consult with the Office of the Registrar for due dates for the fall, spring, and summer schedules. In general, schedules for the spring are due by mid-August, and schedules for summer and fall are due in early December. These dates are subject to change, but department heads and directors should allow time to begin the planning and the sharing of schedules with faculty members before submission to the Office of the Registrar.

Sources of data for course planning

Before planning a schedule, department heads and directors should consult departmental materials for offering classes and for the number of sections that the schedule will require.  Perhaps the most important preliminary guide is the previous year’s schedule and the tentative two-year cycle of upper division courses.  It should give a reasonable indication of what demands were.  However, one must analyze those demands in light of how enrollment patterns may have shifted during the year.  A valuable resource is the seat planning tool (which can be accessed through the EAS portal at the Strategic Research and Analysis website where faculty SOIs are also accessed) for core curriculum and upper-division classes.  Faculty should be consulted in terms of their course and time preferences for teaching.  Department heads and directors should make sure that the classroom accommodates the maximum number of students enrolled in the course.  The seat capacity of a given classroom and its availability can be checked through the master course scheduling software (R-25).  A room can be requested through this software, which can be accessed through Banner Forms (formerly GUI Banner).  Overrides for a class must not be given beyond the capacity of the classroom. 

Developing a two-year rotation for upper division courses, including both service and major courses

A department should have a two-year rotation for all 3000-4000 level courses.  This rotation should assure that all required courses for majors are available within that span in the appropriate number of sections.  When this rotation is in place, one then decides when the classes should be offered (it is wise to rotate these courses among morning, afternoon, and evening), and which faculty will be teaching those courses.  The tentative two-year rotation for upper-division courses should be posted on the departmental website.

Scheduling core curriculum courses/anticipating needs

The trickier part of the schedule may be deciding on the number of core curriculum sections needed.  Once again, enrollment information is important as well as enrollment figures from the previous semester (particularly for a sequential course).  As noted previously, a valuable resource is the seat planning tool for core curriculum and upper-division classes.  The hiring process for adjunct faculty to meet departmental needs is outlined on pages 34-35 of this handbook.

Scheduling graduate courses

When applicable, departments also should construct graduate rotations as well.  Upper-division undergraduate courses may be cross-listed at the graduate level, but department heads and directors should ensure that the graduate component of the course includes appropriate assignments/reading load for graduate credit.  Furthermore, attention should be given to scheduling some graduate courses during the evenings for students who work during the day.

Online or hybrid courses

Online or hybrid courses should be scheduled to support the overall mission of a department or program as well as the university.  Hybrid or online courses should be identified as such prior to the start of a semester and clearly noted as such in Banner, and the delivery format of a course should not be changed after the semester starts.  Department heads and directors should utilize E-Major to advertise upper-division online courses.  E-Major is an entrepreneurial system modeled after E-Core which allows for some funds to come back to the department or program after initial costs have been covered.

Scheduling courses with other departments/programs

A department also may schedule courses in conjunction with other departments and programs.  Some of these programs are listed below.  Department heads and directors may establish rotations with some of these programs; in other cases, they may contact one another to see if faculty would be available to teach.  In these cases, department heads and directors must evaluate departmental needs to see if faculty can be spared.  Of course, faculty often enjoy these special courses, which may be nice perks.

  • Honors College (Honors Course Rotation)*

  • Perspectives**

  • African-American Studies

  • Women’s and Gender Studies

  • Office of International Programs

  • College of Education

  • College of Business Administration

  • College of Nursing & Health Services

  • King’s Bay Naval Base ***

  • Moody Air Force Base ***

*A department may offer specifically designated Honors courses.

**Department heads and directors schedule PERS classes.  The associate dean of A&S serves as the coordinator of PERS classes, and department heads and directors should consult with the associate dean to avoid offering an excessive number of PERS seats in a given semester.

***Scheduled by the Dean of Faculty at King’s Bay Center

Addressing Faculty preferences

Once department heads and directors determine what classes must be taught, they must establish which faculty should teach these courses and at what time.  Many find faculty-preference sheets helpful.  These sheets may indicate what courses faculty have taught or would like to teach as well as their preferred times.  Of course, one cannot guarantee that departments can meet all faculty preferences.  In addition, department heads and directors should maintain lists of part-time faculty and should check their availability for the coming semester.

Assigning classrooms/switching classrooms

As they build a schedule, department heads and directors must assign rooms for all classes.  They should maintain lists of classrooms normally assigned to their departments and the number of seats in each classroom.  A department head or director can schedule courses in those classrooms that have been historically designated for the department or program.  If a department or program has scheduling needs beyond the designated classrooms, the department head or director should work with the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs to secure a classroom for a given course.  As department heads and directors prepare schedules, they often sort by faculty member, by class sections, and by classroom.  In this way, they avoid double booking a classroom or a faculty member.  As noted previously, the master scheduling software (R-25) is a valuable tool. 

Forms for scheduling

Department heads and directors will receive an electronic form from the Office of the Registrar which requests information for the course abbreviation, course number, course section, off-campus sites, number of seats, credit hours, days, beginning time, ending time, building, room, and instructor.

Ordering textbooks

After submitting the schedule, department heads should remind faculty of the due dates for ordering books, dates which are posted on the bookstore’s homepage.  Faculty are responsible for ordering books through the website for the VSU Bookstore.



Once schedules are on Banner and available in printed formats, students and advisers may use them to plan for registration.  Advisement and registration usually begin about two weeks after midterm.

Monitoring class enrollment

One of a department head’s and a director’s most important tasks during the registration period and before the start of the term is to monitor student enrollment in all relevant classes, usually by accessing Banner web and performing a class search.   Early registration figures can be misleading, but department heads and directors need to monitor enrollment to decide when and if any adjustments need to be made.

Canceling and adding classes

Department heads and directors may need to modify their schedules after submitting them.  The dean and VPAA must approve the scheduling of class times that deviate from the established options for the beginning time and ending time of a course. According to enrollment needs, they may need to cancel classes.  Currently, classes must meet the following enrollment minimums: 20 for a core-curriculum class, 15 for an upper-division course, and 10 for a graduate course.  While VSU allows some flexibility, department heads and directors may expect to cancel severely under-enrolled classes, after consultation with the dean.  Department heads or directors should explain these decisions to affected faculty and also assign these faculty to other classes.  After informing the faculty of canceled classes, the head or director should e-mail the Registrar.  If students are already enrolled in these classes, department heads or directors must obtain a list of those students from Banner or the Registrar and inform them of changes.

On the other hand, enrollment figures may mandate that one add classes taught by part-time instructors or with full-time faculty moved from canceled classes.  To add classes that require additional resources, department heads and directors must consult with the dean; they then should make arrangements with affected faculty.  They also must find available space, through consultation with the VPAA’s office.  Their next step is to e-mail appropriate data to the Registrar including the course, section, room number, instructor, and number of students for the classes.

When department heads and directors must change locations of classes, they also should inform the Registrar.  Prior to changing the location of a class, department heads and directors must check on the availability of the room through the master scheduling software and consult with the VPAA’s Office.  On the first day of class, departments should post notes in the affected rooms; they cannot assume that students already have received notices of room changes.

Moving students into and out of classes

Once registration has begun, classes will begin to fill.  Invariably, some students will need classes which have been closed.  If courses reach their caps, departments may want to maintain waiting lists for these or new course sections.  Different departments have different ways of maintaining these lists, which are quite helpful.  After registration  closes, some students may be dropped for nonpayment of fees, opening a slot for other students. 

Overriding students into classes

Department heads, with faculty approvals, may add students to closed classes through Banner Forms, available only to the department head.  Some departments have override forms which contain the necessary information for department heads to perform overrides: the class number and section, the CRN number, the student’s name and VSU id number, and the instructor’s signature.


The Start of Classes

Once classes have actually begun, students enter and exit classes in different ways. Usually, for the first few days of classes, online registration is available; students themselves may drop and add classes.


All undergraduate and graduate students must be advised before registration. Students who have not been advised will not be able to access the registration system.  Published schedules, policies, and procedures for registration must be strictly observed. Registrations are canceled for students who do not pay fees by the published deadlines. 

New students are expected to register for classes during orientation programs held prior to the first day of classes.  Currently enrolled students may register for courses during the following registration periods:

Early:              Registration is held approximately six weeks before the term begins. Registration priority is based on student classification in the following order: Graduate students and seniors; juniors; sophomores; freshmen.

Regular:           Registration and drop/add are held immediately prior to the beginning of classes.  Registration is held on a first-come, first served basis.

Late:               Registration and continued drop/add are held for approximately three or four days after the term begins.  A late fee is assessed for registration during the Late Period. 


Students may add classes during preregistration and during the official drop/add period at the beginning of each term.  This process occurs online.  The official drop/add period is generally the first week of classes during regular fall/spring terms but is shorter during summer and other abbreviated terms.  After the end of late registration (the drop/add period), students must complete paperwork to add classes to their schedule.




Pre-registration, Regular Registration, and Late Registration (before classes begin and usually the first week of class—may be a shorter period during abbreviated terms. Consult the Academic calendar for the schedule each semester.)

Students may add and drop on Banner.

Registration closed (generally after the first week of class)

If students need to drop or add, they must obtain a drop/add form and a late registration appeal form from the Registrar’s Office.

Late Registration Drop/Add & Appeal forms:

The late registration appeal form must include a reason explaining why the student needs to drop or add a class after the late registration period has ended.

Students may drop a class during preregistration and during the official drop/add period at the beginning of each term.  This process occurs online.  At the end of the semester, no official record of the student having been in the class exists.  “Dropping” a class is not the same as “withdrawing” from a class (see the discussion of withdrawals below).

The drop/add form requires the signatures of the instructors of the classes that students wish to drop/add as well as the signatures of the department heads of those classes.  This form must be signed by the department head of the student’s major along with the dean of the student’s major and the Vice President for Academic Affairs (VPAA).  While the Registrar’s Office will provide the appropriate forms, the approval of adds or drops will be made by the instructor, department heads, deans, and VPAA. 

Department heads and directors should be prepared to see drop/add forms and late registration forms from the second week of the semester throughout the end of a given term.  Late adds generally should not be approved after the first week of a course unless the student is able to provide a compelling reason for a late add and the instructor is able to verify that the student has been attending.  Attending the course is not always a sufficient rationale for approving a late add.  If students have attended beyond the end of the late registration period, students should withdraw from a class, not drop.  Appeals for late drops should not be approved unless students are able to document that they did not attend class beyond the first week and the reasons why they were not able to complete the online drop process during the official drop/add period. 


Students may withdraw from courses following the drop/add period until midterm by completing the withdrawal process on Banner.  A withdrawal before midterm is non-punitive, and a grade of “W” is assigned.  Students may not exercise this right to withdraw to avoid sanction for academic dishonesty.  It is the responsibility of the student to complete the withdrawal process.  Students are not allowed to withdraw after the midterm point of the semester; however, students may petition an exception for cases of hardship by completing a petition for withdrawal form available in the Dean of Students Office.  The petition will be reviewed by the University Withdrawal Appeals Committee and will become a permanent part of the student’s file.  If the petition is approved, the instructor may assign a grade of “W” or “WF” after midterm.  “WF” is calculated in the grade point average the same as “F.”  Any student who discontinues class attendance after mid-term and does not officially withdraw may be assigned a grade of “F.”


Regular withdrawal (generally from the end of the first week of class to midterm)

Students may withdraw on Banner.

Late Withdrawal (after midterm until the last day of the term)

Students must appeal for late withdrawals through the Office of the Dean of Students (see 

Limited course withdrawals (5 "W" policy)

Effective Fall 2010, all undergraduate students are limited to five course withdrawal (“W”) grades for their entire enrollment at VSU.  Once a student has accumulated five “W” grades, all subsequent withdrawals (whether initiated by the student in Banner or initiated by the instructor on the proof roll) will be recorded as “WF.”  The grade “WF” is calculated as an “F” for GPA purposes.  The limit does not apply if a student withdraws from all classes in a given semester before the midterm point of the semester.  Transfer students, regardless of their classification upon enrolling at VSU, are also limited to five withdrawals.  Additional information and the types of withdrawals that do not count against the limit can be located at:

Proof rolls

Department heads and directors must stress to faculty that attendance is to be taken in all classes at least for the first several weeks of a semester.  During the fall and spring semesters, proof rolls are due at the end of the second week of the semester and faculty submit the rolls online through Banner.  During summer terms, the proof rolls must be submitted the first week or second week of a given term.  On the proof rolls, faculty can withdraw students who have “never attended” or “stopped attending” the course.  Students are not “dropped” on the proof rolls but rather “withdrawn” from the course and a W will appear on the student’s transcript.  If a student has been attending a course but is not listed on the proof roll, the instructor should notify the Office of the Registrar.  Fundamentally, it is a student’s responsibility to complete the required paperwork for a late add of a course.

In-progress and final grades

Faculty assign both in-progress (midterm) and final grades through Banner.  Faculty—including part-time faculty—may access their grade sheets and enter their grades.  In-progress grades must be entered for all 1000- and 2000-level classes.  Department heads and directors should emphasize to faculty that final grades must be submitted in Banner before faculty leave the campus or go on vacation.    In-progress grades are not required during the summer, although a faculty member may request that the Registrar enable that function in Banner for a lower-division summer course.


Faculty are not able to assign the grade of Incomplete through Banner when entering final grades.  The request for an incomplete must be initiated by the student.  A description of the process and the form can be found at  The form requires the signature of the student, instructor of the course, and the department head.  The form is then sent to the Office of the Registrar.  Department heads and directors should make sure that the form clearly notes the reason for requesting an incomplete, the remaining course assignments, and the due dates for those assignments.  If a student had requested an incomplete but is not on campus (online course or the student is hospitalized), the instructor of the course can complete the form and submit it to the department head or director.  The form must be submitted before the entering of final grades.

Change of grade forms

Department heads and directors should advise faculty as well as students that final grades submitted by the course instructor may not be changed except for approved special circumstances such as an error in the calculation of a grade.  Department heads and directors should counsel faculty that grades must not be merely changed because a student’s financial aid or academic standing is jeopardized.  Faculty can get a Change of Grade form from the Office of the Registrar.  Students should never handle the form.  The form must clearly articulate the reason for changing the grade, and the form must be signed by the instructor and the department head.  If the change of grade involves a “W” (the grade is changed to a W or from a W to another grade), it must be approved by the dean and VPAA.

Authorization forms for field trips

If courses require field trips, department heads should have appropriate faculty complete authorization forms, signed by faculty and department heads, who submit them to the dean for his or her signature.  Faculty should submit the authorization well in advance of the field trip so the required signatures have been secured before students depart on the field trip.  Students on these trips must sign the “Field Trip Authorization and Wavier of Liability,” available at:   

If a state vehicle is used for field trips, USG Motor Vehicle Procedures must be followed.  All USG employees who drive on institutional business regardless of frequency of driving and/or location of driving must receive annual training.  This training will allow employees to complete the required Driver Acknowledgement Form. Additional requirements are needed for those employees who routinely drive state vehicles.  If employees drive their own car, a rental car, or non-routinely use a state vehicle they must view the online video accessed on BlazeVIEW.  If employees routinely drive a state vehicle, they must take the Defensive Driving Course offered by Employee and Organizational Development.  Department heads are responsible for ensuring all faculty in their departments have successfully completed the annual Motor Vehicle training prior to driving state vehicles.

A state-issued fuel card is to be used to purchase fuel for state vehicles being used for state business.  The department manager (director, department head, or supervisor) to which the vehicle is assigned is responsible for placing the card in the appropriate vehicle and checking the information on the card for accuracy.  The fuel card for a vehicle is to be kept with the vehicle and used only for the assigned vehicle.  The card can be used to purchase only fuel for the vehicle to which it is assigned.  The card is to be used at the stations that accept the Wright Express/Wex card.  If the Wright Express or Wex symbol is not on the pump with the other credit cards accepted for payment, please verify with the cashier that it is accepted.

A personal identification number (PIN) must be issued to an employee prior to using the fuel card.  The Driver ID (PIN) is an individual six-digit number assigned to each person who is authorized to purchase fuel.  The number must be used when making a purchase.  The number must be kept confidential and a driver who forgets an ID number must contact the VSU Fuel Card Contact for a copy of it.  The number can be used with any fuel card assigned to any VSU owned vehicle.  The application for the Drive ID (PIN) can be found at:



Adding new majors/graduate students (“Change of Major/Minor Form”)

Department heads and directors often see many of the students who wish to declare a major or minor.  Forms for this declaration are available from the Registrar, and departments should keep some on hand.  These forms must be completed by students and signed by departments from which students transfer (OASIS and First-Year Programs if the “undecided” student has yet to declare a major) and by the receiving department.  Students should take completed change of major forms to receiving departments; afterward, they must deliver a copy to the Office of the Registrar.  The Change of Major/Minor Form can be found at

Advising students

Advising students is one of the most important tasks of all academic departments and programs, and generally all tenured and tenure-track faculty serve as advisers.  In Arts and Sciences, faculty may advise undecided students, majors, minors, and graduate students.

Assigning advisers to advisees

When students declare majors, department heads should assign them academic advisers.  Sometimes the head may assign advisers because of students’ particular tracks or concentrations or to equalize advisement duties among all faculty members.  Some departments have designated advisors who receive reassigned time.  Departments and programs should track all advisees and advisers, maintaining current, accurate records.

Advising process

Courses appear in Banner about a month before registration begins.  Departments and programs should schedule advising weeks prior to the first day of registration and utilize sign-up sheets for students to reserve advising slots; however, advising often occurs daily.  When an adviser receives a student’s folder, that folder should contain all the relevant information on that student, including transfer credits and courses already taken.  Departments and programs should use advisement forms, which need to be updated continually by advisers and students.  At least two semesters prior to graduation, advisers and students need to submit an “Application to Graduate,” which should be attached to a copy of the completed departmental advising form.  In that way, the Office of the Registrar can cross-check the adviser’s calculations.  Any advising software should be double-checked manually against the department checklist to identify the remaining courses for a student to graduate.  It is the student’s responsibility to deliver the Application for Graduation to the Office of the Registrar.

Course substitutions and waivers

As part of the advising process, advisers may need to substitute one course for another required course (especially with transfer students) or to waive a course.  Both actions require the appropriate paperwork, which must be signed by both the adviser and department head.  If the course substitution is in another field, department heads should call other appropriate department heads for advice.  In most cases, a course description is sufficient to justify a course substitution; however, a department head or director may request a syllabus for a course substitution.  It is the responsibility of the student to provide the syllabus, especially if the course is from another institution.  All course substitutions pertaining to the core curriculum (Areas A-F) and waivers must be signed by the dean as well as the VPAA.  Course substitutions for courses in the major must be signed by the dean and are then forwarded to the Office of the Registrar.  Course substitutions and waivers for graduate programs are signed by the dean of the major and then the graduate dean.  For transfer students, course substitutions for Area B (Perspectives classes) are routine.  For VSU students who have no transfer coursework, other VSU classes should not be substituted for Area B.  Those students must complete the institutional requirement of two PERS classes, each from a different area of the Perspectives offerings (there are seven areas within Area B).

Transient permission form

VSU students may request permission to take classes at another institution to count as part of their program of study.  In most cases, the Transient Permission Form is appropriate for a student moving back home during the summer and taking coursework at an institution closer to home.  The form is also used for students participating in study abroad programs at other institutions.  This form should not be used for students who are struggling in a particular course at VSU or looking to avoid a course or sequence of courses at VSU.  The process for approval and the Transient Permission Form can be found at  The form must be signed by the academic advisor of the student and the department head.  The dean’s signature is required for students on academic suspension or attending local colleges.  Transient permission is usually not given to attend other local institutions.

Grade appeals

Department heads and directors need to be prepared to explain the grade appeal process to students as well as faculty.  The form for a grade appeal can be accessed at  The student must attempt to initiate the grade appeal process within 30 working days after the Office of the Registrar has posted final grades.  As noted on the form, students can appeal grades for the following reasons: an obvious error in the calculation of the grade, the assignment of a grade to a particular student by application of more exacting requirements than were applied to other students in the course, the assignment of a grade to a particular student on some basis other than performance in the course, and the assignment of a grade by a substantial departure from the instructor’s previously announced standards.  The student must submit a detailed rationale for appealing the grade.  After the student files a grade appeal, the instructor should meet with the student to discuss the appeal.  The student must be provided with a copy of the instructor’s response.  If the grade appeal then moves to the department head or director, a meeting should be held with the student to discuss the appeal and the student must receive a copy of the response from the department head or director.  If the student elects to appeal to the dean, the department head or director should deliver the grade appeal paperwork to the dean’s office.  Instructors should respond to grade appeals within 14 days of receipt, and department heads or directors should respond with 10 days of receipt.

Other course possibilities outside the department: eCore, USG Independent and Distance Learning (USGIDL), and online institutions

When advising students, sometimes advisers discover that they cannot meet the needs of students through the on-campus schedule of courses.  Alternatives include on-line courses, eCore, and USG Independent and Distance Learning.  Department heads and directors should have reference information on these alternative delivery systems, and they should advise students that online courses taken outside the University System of Georgia must be from regionally accredited institutions.  Furthermore, students should be careful when enrolling in online laboratory courses to make sure the coursework will count at VSU or for a professional program.

Home pages/brochures

Departments and programs should maintain a current website which includes contact information for faculty and office hours, course syllabi, advising checklists for the major/minor, a tentative two-year rotation of upper-division courses, and information on study abroad opportunities as well as student organizations.  To attract students, this source may prove to be as useful as a brochure.  If prospective students call for information, department heads and directors usually refer them to the webpage.

Orientation/visitation sessions

Departments and programs have many other opportunities to interact with new and prospective students.  Visitation Days are held on various Saturdays throughout the academic year.  At these sessions, prospective students and their families come to VSU and representative from all departments and programs should set up a display and answer questions. 

Orientation sessions run throughout the summer and at special times during the year.  These sessions, for both new and transfer students, are for advising.  On the day before the session, the department should receive data on these students, which should be incorporated into folders for advising sessions.  Once again, a faculty member needs to be present at each session.

Undergraduate Research Symposium

Each spring semester in April, Valdosta State University hosts a campus-wide  Undergraduate Research Symposium.  The symposium includes oral presentations of papers, poster presentations, and creative performances across two days in the Student Union.  All departments and programs should encourage the participation of its majors and minors, including submission of proposals and attendance at students’ presentations.   Students submitting proposals for either papers or poster sessions should work closely with sponsoring faculty. 

Walking at graduation

In almost all cases, a student will walk at the commencement ceremony at the end of the semester during which they completed their final coursework for graduation.  If a student wishes to “walk early” at a graduation ceremony, they must complete a form available from the Office of the Registrar.  The form requires the signature of the academic advisor, the department head, and the dean (see Appendix A).  Generally, students must be within six hours or less of graduating to walk early at a commencement ceremony. 


Program Review and Assessment

Program review begins with a thorough analysis of a department’s or program’s mission statement. All programmatic requirements should reflect this statement. If they do not, then faculty should review both the mission statement as well as the requirements.

Departmental process for program review

Each degree program (not the department itself) will be reviewed on a seven-year cycle. The department will be required to complete a report and submit it for review. The program review must be completed with representative members of the departmental faculty. Ideally, the data used in the report should be collected by the department’s assessment committee, or a separate committee formed just for the purpose of completing this review. The final report must be reviewed by that committee before submission. The report must also be posted on the departmental website once it has made it through the review process. The department should discuss the results of the program review as a group and consider improvements to the various programs of study.

Curriculum changes

After their analysis of assessment data, departments and programs may decide to propose course revisions, new courses, or other curriculum changes to majors or minors. The Request for a Revised Course, Request for a New Course, Request for a Curriculum Change, Request for Revised Catalogue Copy, Request to Deactivate a Course/Program, and Request for a New Program can be accessed at The weblink also describes the approval process. After a department or program has approved a given curriculum change, it should be submitted to the associate dean for review by the A&S Curriculum Subcommittee. After review by the subcommittee, curriculum changes are then voted upon by the A&S Executive Committee. If approved, curriculum changes pertaining to graduate courses or graduate programs will be forwarded to the Graduate Executive Committee. All other curriculum items go to the University Academic Committee after approval at the college level. Curriculum changes approved by the University Academic Committee are then placed on the Faculty Senate agenda for approval.


Department heads and directors should ensure that the student learning outcomes published in the Undergraduate Catalog for the major or minor are regularly assessed. A departmental assessment committee with an assessment coordinator can be a valuable mechanism for designing and implementing departmental assessment plans. Each department and program has a representative on the Arts and Sciences Assessment Committee, which reviews and provides feedback on departmental and program assessment plans. The General Education Council (GEC) and the A&S Assessment Committee also review core curriculum assessment plans. Departmental or program classes in the core curriculum are assessed on a schedule established by the GEC. Indirect measures (exit surveys of seniors, surveys of alumni, and self-reported student data on learning in the program) can certainly be part of a departmental or program assessment plan, but direct measures must be incorporated into an assessment plan. Direct assessment measures can take the form of evaluations of capstone papers, portfolio requirements, ETS major field tests, or the evaluation of student internships by field supervisors. 


Equipment and Facilities

Departments often field complaints from faculty and students about conditions in  classrooms and laboratories.  Problems with housekeeping, heating and cooling, etc.  should be reported to Plant Operations.  Problems with computers should be reported to Information Technology. 

Service agreements

Service agreements need to come out of the Major Scientific Equipment Fund or the Academic Equipment Fund if a given piece of equipment was purchased out of these funds.  Other service agreements/maintenance contracts need to come out of departmental budgets.

Funding pools

VSU Funding Pools began about 2009-2010 and are a way for departments to realize funding for their needs.  While the amount of funding may vary depending upon enrollment and/or potential budget cuts, the major funding pools are:

  • Graduate Stipends                                                           

  • Major Scientific Equipment Pools (Research)     

  • Art Collections                                                     

  • Academic Equipment/Maintenance                                  

  • Library Reference & Special Collections             

  • Faculty Scholarly Travel                                      

  • Reassigned Time for Research                             

  • Instructional Setting Renovation                         

  • Student Affairs Equipment                                             

  • Computer Replacement                                       

  • IT Infrastructure                                                  

Early fall semester, after the PBC releases the money, the dean will ask for requests for the funding pools.  While items may be added during the year, it is difficult to do so, so make every effort to submit departmental or program items by the fall deadline.  For example, the academic equipment list is generally much more than can be funded in one semester, so those items naturally carry over to the following semester.  Also, department heads and directors need to prioritize their items, which will help the A&S Executive Committee prioritize the entire A&S submissions to the pools. 

The reassigned time requests for faculty scholarship will be announced each semester, so schedules must be planned accordingly, as these requests are not always approved prior to scheduling deadlines.  Also, make sure that the faculty member has clearly identified a scholarly project with a title, timeline, and targeted publication.  These reassigned time requests also need to be prioritized by department heads.

Strategic Focus is another funding source to provide resources for initiatives that target five areas: recruitment of students, retention of students, scholarship, financial solvency, and diversity.  A&S departments have availed themselves of Strategic Focus to initiate new undergraduate tracks/certificate programs, Master’s degree programs, and to obtain funding for summer camps and faculty development programs.  Proposals are generally due in December or January and may run for three years.  Please encourage faculty to share their ideas with the department head and dean and to seek input regarding their initiatives prior to the deadline.  Strategic Focus funding has been approximately $2 million per year.


Personnel Management

Introduction to hiring faculty members

Hiring faculty members, adjunct instructors, and office staff personnel is a critical responsibility for a department head.  It is important that the department head become familiar with the various documents and procedures for hiring personnel in order to hire the most qualified applicant and to ensure that all applicants are fairly treated.

The entire hiring process for tenure-track faculty may be found at the Office of Social Equity’s website (OSE).  The current (August 11, 2006) Recruitment Handbook may be accessed at this site (Appointment Process).  It should be reviewed in its entirety prior to starting the search process and should be referred to on a regular basis.  The following guide briefly explains the hiring process and the following information provides a flow chart and a brief synopsis of the process.

In preparing and completing the search process, please refer to the Human Resources website and click on Forms which will provide you with additional hiring information.  The Recruitment and Selection Guide can be accessed on the HR website and it is recommended that it be reviewed as well.  The Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs website will also provide you with additional information regarding the hiring process and the Faculty Handbook (1997), “Appointment to Faculty,” (pg. 76).  The Faculty handbook may be accessed on the Academic Affairs and Human Resources websites.

Forms needed for hiring faculty

Examples of the necessary forms can be viewed in the Recruitment Handbook at the Office of Social Equity (under Attachments, A-J; pgs. 25-36).  A sample job vacancy announcement appears in Appendix B of this handbook.

Hiring flow chart and process components

#1. Request the Position

To initiate the hiring process for a tenure-track faculty position, the department head or director must consult with the dean.  The appropriate paperwork should be submitted to the dean with supportive rationale and justification for requesting the position.   

#2. Position Announcement

A position announcement must accompany the request for a position.  Appendix B outlines the format for announcing the job vacancy.  The Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs must approve the position announcement and will post on three higher education websites.  You may further request additional website postings commensurate with the respective discipline.  The following sections should be covered on the announcement: Position Title, Responsibilities, Qualifications (required & preferred), Description, Salary, Application, and Closing Date.  Departments or programs should construct the qualifications as completely as possible.  This will ensure to include or exclude potential applicants appropriately.

#3. Assemble Search Committee

The department head or director will select faculty members to serve on the search committee.  A search committee should be reflective of the faculty make-up of the department.  Generally, the committee will consists of 3-5 faculty members with gender and minority group representation.  If a department has difficulty in meeting faculty diversity participation, the department may request assistance from another faculty member within the College of Arts and Sciences.  One faculty member will be appointed as the chair of the committee and serve as the liaison to the Director of the Office of Social Equity.  The department head may appoint the chair of the search committee. Departmental policy should provide guidance on forming the search committee.  The committee chair shall document all aspects of the search process.

It is highly recommended to certify the search committee for each new search, regardless if committee members have served on previous committees.  Each committee member should review the Recruitment Handbook to ensure VSU’s hiring policies and hiring laws are followed.  A meeting with the search committee and the director of OSE should be scheduled prior to reviewing candidate files to ensure that hiring procedures will be followed.  The search committee chair should review the OSE faculty Search Checklist found on the OSE website.

#4. Review Applicant Files

The search committee cannot begin to review the applicant’s materials until the position announcement has been posted for 30 days.  Also, the position announcement should identify when the committee will begin review of the applications.  The committee should ensure that all requested documents are submitted in order for the candidate to receive full consideration. Applicants who meet the minimal qualifications and who have submitted all of the required documents will receive full consideration.  Candidates who do not meet the minimum qualifications should be sent a letter thanking them for their application and informing them that they will not be considered.  When excluding a candidate, ensure to make the decision consistent with the job announcement. 

All candidate application materials shall be reviewed in the same manner and the search committee chair shall ensure that each applicant is treated equally.  Criteria for evaluating each candidate should be followed and documented.  In accordance with the policies of the University System of Georgia, all application materials and committee actions (including written records) are subject to the Open Records Act.

#5. Identify and Call Top Applicants

Once the top candidates have been identified, the search committee shall conduct phone interviews.  The same list of questions will be asked of each candidate, but this does not restrict committee members from asking follow-up questions based on a candidate’s response to initial questions.  Refer to the OSE question checklist regarding the appropriateness of the list and wording of phone interview questions.

Department heads or directors should make sure that an applicant recommended for a campus interview is work eligible if the applicant is not a U.S. citizen.  Historically, VSU does not cover any of the applicant’s attorney costs or legal expenses associated with securing a work visa. 

#6. Request to Invite a Candidate for a Campus Interview

After concluding phone interviews, the search committee will identify their top two candidates and request that they be brought to campus for an interview.  The committee must submit a certification packet to OSE illustrating how the search process has been convened (see the Recruitment Handbook for which documents must be submitted).  Every effort shall be made, as feasible, to include females and minorities for campus interviews.  Rationale for not including such candidates must be articulated in the certification packet.     

The request to bring candidates on campus shall be made to the department head, the dean, and the provost.  A memo shall be sent requesting that the top two candidates be brought to campus.  If potential candidates decide to drop out of the pool or decline to come for a campus interview, then the committee should proceed to the next person in the pool of candidates submitted to the Affirmative Action Office for review.

#7. Conducting the Campus Interview

All travel arrangements for each candidate will be handled through the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs (see Reimbursement for travel of job candidates page 55).  Remind candidates to keep all receipts for reimbursement.  All candidates will be treated equally, asked the same questions, and allotted the same amount of time for various interviews, tours, and presentations.  All candidates should be scheduled to be interviewed by departmental faculty, the department head, the dean, and a representative from the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs.  The candidate’s CV should be sent to each respective office outside the department.    

#8. Request Authorization to Make Employment Offer 

After the campus interviews have been completed, the search committee shall meet and decide who they recommend to hire.  The search committee only makes a recommendation to hire a candidate and forwards the request via a memo to the department head. 

#9. Department Head Contacts the Dean

The department head makes the actual recommendation to offer the candidate employment to the dean. The dean then recommends hiring the candidate to the provost. Once an appropriate starting salary has been negotiated, the department head/dean/ director should begin informal negotiations with the candidate.  Once the informal negotiations have been accepted, the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs will send out a formal offer letter to the specified candidate.  All agreed upon rank, tenure, experience, publications, moving costs, and/or other negotiated components need to be included in the hiring letter.  

#10. Submit Affirmative Action Packet Items to the Office of Academic Affairs

After an offer is accepted, the employing unit will complete the Affirmative Action packet and submit it to the Office of Academic Affairs (see the list of items in the Recruitment Handbook).  The search committee chair shall send a letter of rejection to other candidates.  

The department head shall retain all candidate application materials for four years (per BOR policy and the Georgia Records Retention Policy) and shall retain the search packets submitted to OSE to document the search process.

Hiring full-time temporary faculty

Hiring full-time temporary faculty will follow the same process as stated above. FFT instructors are generally hired for a “one-year” period and teach a five-course load. FTT should be reminded that their appointments are for one-year only and will terminate at the end of the given academic year.   

Hiring adjunct faculty

From time to time, department heads and directors will have to hire adjunct faculty.  Department heads and directors are now required to seek the dean’s approval before hiring.  Prior to the submission of the semester schedule, department heads must complete the Request for Adjunct Faculty form (see Appendix C) and submit it, along with the Valdosta State University Part-Time Instructor Agree Form and a CV for each instructor.  Once the CV is on file in the dean’s office, the CV will not have to be resubmitted each semester.  The Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs will request an official transcript as well.  The hiring of adjuncts is done on an as-needed basis.  If the adjunct is being hired as the result of a faculty course reassignment for scholarship or a Strategic Focus initiative, please indicate this on the request form.  If the person being hired is already a VSU employee, you will also need to submit the Extra Compensation request form.  Dips in enrollment and decreases in funding demand that we keep the hiring of adjuncts to a minimum, even though it is easy to argue that they provide us with the most cost-effective coverage of classes.

The rate of pay for adjunct faculty in 2012-2013 is as follows for each course: $2,300 with a terminal degree; $2,150 for an education specialist degree; and $2,000 for a Master’s degree.  Adjunct faculty must not teach more than 15 hours of coursework across the University System of Georgia in an academic year.  Adjunct faculty must not teach more than 9 hours in a given semester.  All part-time faculty members should receive the Part-Time Faculty Handbook and should maintain regular contact with the department head during the semester.  All faculty must possess at least a Master’s degree and have at least eighteen semester hours in their field or a closely related field. 

Hiring secretarial staff

Hiring of staff is normally the responsibility of department heads, but it is important that the candidates meet at least several other members of the department.  Department heads will receive a list of eligible persons from the Office of Human Resources and should interview several who look like good possibilities for the department.  Following interviews, department heads request permission to hire a candidate.  They also play the key role in hiring graduate assistants and student assistants. Departmental secretaries likely will share responsibilities for hiring work-study students.  If a department head or director reclassifies secretarial staff, the funds must come out of the departmental or program budget. 

To review the hiring procedures, access the HR website, click on “Administrators,” under Recruitment, click on Recruitment & Employment Policies and Procedures, § 800.

Evaluation of faculty and merit pay

Each spring, faculty members submit an Annual Faculty Activity Report and Action Plan (AFARAP) to the department head.  These forms should be both complete and reflective, with faculty addressing their progress toward last year’s goals and their proposed goals for the coming year.  Non-tenure-track faculty whose duties are limited to teaching complete only the “Teaching and Instruction” section of the AFARAP.  Department heads also propose merit pay for each faculty member.  The criteria for determining merit pay should be made clear to all faculty and these proposed figures must receive the agreement of the dean, provost, and president before department heads inform faculty members.  

Department heads write Annual Faculty Evaluations (AFE) of all full- and part-time faculty members within their departments in the spring.  Evaluations should be frank and direct, with the department head listing specific goals and recommendations for all faculty.  The annual evaluations should clearly assess progress toward upcoming personnel actions, especially noting advancement toward goals stated in the previous year’s evaluation.  If a faculty member is performing poorly, the evaluation should describe a course of action a faculty member should follow to improve their performance. 

Department heads assign “satisfactory” and “unsatisfactory” ratings to each of the three performance categories as well as to the “Overall Evaluation.” An evaluator has the option of assigning an overall “unsatisfactory” rating to any faculty member receiving one or more ratings of “unsatisfactory” in the individual performance categories.  The overall evaluation will have an impact on the candidate’s eligibility for promotion and tenure.  The department head distributes the AFEs to faculty, who sign the forms and return them to the department head.  The department keeps a signed copy and forwards another copy to the dean.  Annual evaluations should employ a wide range of evaluative input: SOIs, peer reviews, grade distributions, general student comments, etc.  Where appropriate, they also must note any recommendations from both pre-tenure reviews and post-tenure reviews. 

Evaluation of teaching effectiveness

Department heads or directors should ensure that faculty inform students of the need to complete Student Opinions of Instruction (SOIs) within the time parameters.  The questions on these forms are standardized across the university, but departments are free to add a limited number of their own questions.  SOI results are usually available to department heads and faculty two weeks after the semester’s end through the online portal:

While SOIs are a valuable measure of teaching effectiveness, they should not be the only measure utilized to evaluate the quality of teaching, especially for tenure-track faculty.  Peer evaluations are a required element of the College of Arts and Sciences Promotion and Tenure process. 

Promotion and tenure

Department heads supervise the procedures for personnel actions, the deadlines of which are established each year by the dean.  The College of Arts and Sciences’ Promotion and Tenure Policies and Procedures addresses all procedures for both promotion and tenure  University-wide pre- and post-tenure reviews as well as tenure and promotion policies are found in the Faculty Evaluation Model at Valdosta State University   The university-wide tenure and promotion document can be found at

A candidate for promotion and tenure submits a current curriculum vitae with his or her application.  Department heads should ensure that this document reflects a candidate’s full employment history at VSU, including all previous promotions.  For example, if a faculty member were hired at the rank of assistant professor in 1997 and were promoted to the rank of associate professor in 2001, the employment history should list these dates in the following style:

  • “Assistant Professor, Department of XYZ, Valdosta State University, 1997-2001” 

  • “Associate Professor, Department XYZ, Valdosta State University, 2001-Present”

On cover sheets for promotion and tenure applications, department heads should note that “number of years at institution” and “years in present rank and title at the institution” include the current year.  For example, if faculty were hired in 1997 and apply for promotion in Fall 2001, they are in their fifth year at VSU.  When completing cover sheets for faculty recommended for promotion and tenure, the appropriate response to items which call for recommendations of either the promotion or tenure review committees is “recommended.”  The department heads should complete only the “departmental level” item as well as the summary at the end of the page, the latter within the space provided.  They should provide both hard copies and electronic copies of cover sheets to the Dean.

Pre-tenure review

Tenure-track faculty will go through pre-tenure review during their third year of employment unless the faculty member received years towards tenure at the time of hiring.  Tenure-track faculty should complete the College of Arts and Sciences Promotion and Tenure Application, which will be reviewed by the departmental promotion and tenure committee as well as the department head.  The review at the departmental level should note the candidate’s strengths and areas for improvement.  The application and letters from the departmental committee as well as the department head will be reviewed by the dean who will then schedule a meeting with the faculty member and department head to discuss the results of the pre-tenure review and progress towards promotion and tenure.

Post-tenure review of faculty

Department heads should remind faculty that the submission of materials for post-tenure review is not equivalent to applying for tenure or promotion to full professor.  The preparation of a dossier for post-tenure review should not be a major burden for the faculty member.  As noted in the Faculty Handbook (page 67), faculty should provide the following for post-tenure review:  (1) a current curriculum vitae; (2) copies of annual evaluations for the five years under consideration; (3) measures of teaching effectiveness including, but not limited to, written student ratings and/or peer evaluations; and (4) a self-assessment. 

Staff evaluations

Department heads and directors evaluate all staff members in the spring.  Human Resources sends the appropriate evaluation forms to heads a month before they are due back.  Once completed, department heads should review these forms with individual staff members and submit signed copies to Human Resources.



Many of the financial forms needed by departments can be found at the website website explains the budgeting process. For example, it states:The budget is the beginning and the end of the accounting process. It should prompt planning and enable evaluation. There are two distinct segments to the accounting process, one being the budget or intended expenditures and the second being the actual expenditures. The budget is a communication tool for making plans or needs known and evaluating progress toward stated goals. The purpose of fund accounting is to identify the sources of funds and assure specific, and sometimes restricted, uses for funds.

The total original Educational and General budget in fiscal 2000 was $104 million. Of this amount, approximately 18% came from student tuition and fees, 44% from direct state appropriations and 38% from sponsored or financial-aid sources. The largest sources of sponsored monies are federal and state loan and grant programs.

The university’s fiscal year begins July 1st and ends June 30th. Department heads should receive the proposed departmental budget before July 1. They also may receive separate budgets for funded activities, such as grants and contracts. They should immediately review the budget received. The three columns show the original budget of the previous fiscal year, and the proposed budget of the upcoming fiscal year. Shortly after the end of each month, the department receives the “Expenditures (Appropriations) Report” and the more detailed “Appropriations Ledger History Report.” Department should maintain their own spreadsheet of expenditures and encumbrances as checks on the monthly reports. Discrepancies should be reported promptly for timely resolutions. A sample departmental spreadsheet is available from the Dean’s office.

Budget amendments

Reallocations of available funds from one budget line to another are through the budget amendment process. The forms and deadlines are available at If a department will not be able to expend all its funds, the department head should work with the Dean before the end of February, so that those funds can be amended to other departments.

The budget is divided into two sections, Personal Services and Non-Personal Services.

Personal services

Personal Services includes faculty and staff positions, summer salaries, and student assistants. Budget lines are numbered. To reflect personnel changes in a particular budget line, that line will be split with letters, for example 6-A, 6-B, 6-C, showing the previous occupant of the position, the vacancy, and the new occupant of the position. Each budget line shows the name of the occupant, the type of contract (Fiscal is 1.00 EFT; Academic is 0.75 EFT), rank, degree, tenure status (T for tenured, N for not-tenured, but on tenure-track, X for non-tenure-track). Department heads should maintain a history of faculty positions by comparing the current budget to previous budgets

Summer salaries

Summer salaries are part of the section of the budget labeled Personnel Services. As department heads develop the summer teaching schedule (usually late in the fall), they need to be aware of the funds available to the department and work closely with the Dean on the summer budget. (See section on Summer Teaching Policies.) Faculty are paid 10% of their academic-year salary for each three-credit hour summer course. Courses taught by department heads and directors do not count against a department’s or program’s summer budget because these administrators are on twelve-month contracts.

Salaries for part-time faculty

Salaries for part-time faculty are established by the Vice President for Academic Affairs. Current rates per three-hour courses are $1,200 for part-time faculty with a Master’s degree, $1,350 for part-time faculty with Specialist’s degrees, and $1,500 for part-time faculty with a Doctoral degree. All faculty must possess at least a Master’s degree and have at least eighteen semester hours in their field or a closely related field.

Extra compensation

Faculty may be paid extra compensation for work above and beyond their normal responsibilities, such as teaching overloads or responsibilities under external grants. Extra compensation requires the approval of the department head, dean, and Vice President for Academic Affairs. The form may be found at

Outside consulting activities

The Faculty Handbook quotes the Regents’ policy on Outside Consulting Activities. When such activities occur during hours when the faculty or staff member has University responsibilities, prior written approval shall be obtained from the administrative supervisor. This written approval should be forwarded to the Office of the Academic Vice President for inclusion in the permanent file. Faculty should be aware that special written approval is needed when consulting activities are compensated by another state agency whether or not the consulting activities occur during hours of University responsibility. The procedure is given in the Faculty Handbook.

Student assistants

Student assistants also are paid from Personal Services. Department heads need to calculate the number of hours that can be supported (available funds divided by the hourly rate, currently $5.15/hour) and schedule student assistants accordingly. See the website for procedures for student assistants. The remaining parts of the Personal section of the budget, dealing mostly with fringe benefits, are the responsibility of the Office of Business and Finance The Non-Personal Services part of the budget include sections Travel, Operating Supplies, and Equipment.


Mileage: The total amount of these two lines should equal the number of full-time faculty in the department (including full-time temporary faculty) times the travel allocation per faculty member, currently $300. If there is less than the expected amount in the travel budget, the department head should discuss the shortfall with the Dean. (See section on Travel Procedures.)

“Requests for Authority to Travel” should be submitted at least ten days before the proposed travel. It is particularly important for faculty members to specify how classes will be covered. “Requests for Authority to Travel” are available at; however, at this time the Travel Office accepts only two-part forms.

Pre-paid registration

Faculty members can have their registrations for professional meetings pre-paid. The form is available at Registration fees are paid from budget line -72735, rather than from Travel.

Hotel/motel exemption form

State employees traveling on official business in Georgia are exempt from the Georgia Hotel/­Motel tax (but not other taxes). The Hotel/Motel Tax Exemption form should be printed out beforehand, signed, and furnished to the hotel/motel at the time of check-in.

Travel expense statement

A “Travel Expense Statement” should be filed shortly after the completion of travel in any case and within the announced deadline for travel near the end of the fiscal year. Travel expense forms may be found at “Travel Expense Statement” A mileage chart for the state of Georgia is available at

Per diem form

Reimbursement for travel of candidates and consultants requires filing both a “Travel Expense Statement” and a “Request for Payment of Consultant/Independent Contractor” (Per Diem form). The latter may be found at

Operating Supplies

Operating Supplies are funds for the operation of the department and are divided into several categories. Department heads are responsible for seeing that expenditures do not exceed the available funds. Available funds should be expended for the purposes intended. Department heads need to project expenditures so that the funds are expended by the end of the fiscal year (June 30).

Purchasing procedures

Departments and other accounts may be issued a VISA Purchasing Card. Departmental secretaries and other authorized users may charge expenditures on the Purchasing Card. See for a description of the Purchasing Card policy. Users must save receipts and records of transactions to verify monthly statements. A sample completed form is available from the Dean’s office.

Items whose cost is in excess of the limits on a Purchasing Card (currently $1,000 per item or $2,500 per transaction) must be requisitioned through a “Purchase Request” before purchase or a “Check Request.” See for the appropriate procedures. The “Purchase Request” is multi-part and not currently available on-line. Purchasers should specify the item as exactly as possible and provide names of potential vendors. If possible, department heads and directors should attach descriptions from catalogs and/or price quotations from vendors. Toward the end of each fiscal year, the Division of Business and Finance announces a series of deadlines for purchases of different kinds and amounts. Department heads and directors must adhere to these deadlines! Unexpended funds revert to the state of Georgia at the end of the fiscal year.

Departmental library allocations

VSU bases departmental library budgets on a formula that is partially enrollment driven. In fall semester, the Director of the Odum Library notifies departments of funds available for acquisitions. Any additions or deletions of periodicals are effective the following July 1, the beginning of the next fiscal year. All library funds must be expended by the announced deadline, usually toward the end of February. Library contingency funds are available for new programs and for special projects. Applications for thesefunds are due in fall semester.

VSU Foundation accounts

Departments may have one or more accounts with the VSU Foundation. Foundation accounts may be viewed at Accounts may be discretionary accounts (for any legal expenditure), scholarship accounts (for departmental or other scholarships), or designated accounts (for spending in accord with the wishes of the donors). Reimbursements for expenditures are made by memo request (with receipts) to the VSU Foundation. Departmental scholars for the following academic year are chosen by an appropriate depart­mental committee and furnished to the Dean in the spring.

Grants and contracts

The website of the Office of Grants and Contracts,, provides information about procedures for grants and contracts. Faculty members should confer with their department heads early in the grant-preparation process. Before a grant is submitted to an external agency, a “Proposal Sign-Off Sheet” (“goldenrod form”), not available on-line, must be submitted with the grant for approval by all levels of administration. On the back of the form is space for institutional commitments. Here the Principle Investigator and Department Head must spell out in detail all commitments (matching funds, load reassignments, space, etc.) that the institution would be called upon to furnish if the grant is funded. Five (5) working days are needed by the Office of Grants and Contracts for full review and sign off. For more information on grants and contracts, see the Principle Investigator’s Handbook, available at