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Compliance protocols MUST be approved and linked in SeRA to a SPO project record prior to award acceptance. 

See ORA's Award Acceptance Resources for additional information.

1.2 Roles and Responsibilities

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Policy Contact

Ivonne Bachar, CPPM CF
Senior Director
Property Management Office

The PMO provides guidance and training to departments on all property related issues, from pre-purchase considerations through retirement of assets. Departments involved in sponsored research should contact PMO for assistance with equipment issues at the time of proposal development, project performance, and at the conclusion of projects or the retirement of equipment.

1. Organizational Structure of Property Management

The Property Management Office (PMO) is part of the Office of Research Administration (ORA). PMO develops and implements policies, procedures, and a system that enables effective property management for the University, and works closely with the Controller’s Office (CO) in the development and implementation of policies for capital equipment. PMO also maintains close communications with the Office of the Dean of Research in the development and implementation of policies for managing sponsor-owned equipment.

The resolution of property management issues are coordinated between the PMO and the local-area Department Property Administrator (DPA). The DPAs carry out the day-to-day responsibilities within their respective departments and provide guidance to department personnel concerning property matters such as acquisition, coordination of transfers, equipment at sub-recipient locations, maintenance, physical inventory, and disposal. The PMO will provide guidance and direction to departments where distribution of the DPA responsibilities is needed.

The Board of Trustees has delegated to deans, department chairs, directors, principal investigators and other University officers the responsibility for management of their funds.

2. Specific Roles and Responsibilities

Stanford Community in General

Each member of the Stanford community has a general obligation to safeguard and make appropriate use of property owned by or accountable to the University. Property either assigned for individual use or as part of a common area is included. This obligation includes but is not limited to:

  • Notifying the appropriate Department Property Administrator (DPA) of the acquisition, movement or disposal of property
  • Exercising reasonable care in use to prevent damage and maintain good condition
  • Taking reasonable security measures to prevent theft or misuse
  • Reporting lost, stolen, damaged or otherwise impaired property to appropriate parties, including but not limited to a direct supervisor or common area manager

Department Property Administrator (DPA)

The DPA is a Stanford employee, assigned to oversee and perform day-to-day management responsibilities for property within their designated areas.  The DPA role is appointed by an authorized Department Manager.  Key responsibilities of a DPA are:

  • Identify, tag and record incoming assets within 30 days of receipt
  • Establish and maintain timely, complete, and accurate property records. Update location changes if greater than 30 days.
  • Is the primary liaison between the department and PMO.
  • Be aware of activities within their department(s) that include and/or affect property.
  • Keep supervisor informed of property related activities, issues, or concerns.
  • Be an advocate for department property management; maintain strong communications.
  • Routinely initiate the timely disposition of excess property.
  • Assist staff and faculty in handling property matters and understanding responsibilities
  • Participate in the biennial physical inventory process
  • Assist in audit activities, as needed

Custodians and Asset Users

Custodians are Stanford employees responsible for a designated group of assets. Asset users are the persons who use the equipment on a regular basis, and can help readily locate or provide information about it. A custodian may also be the asset user. Non-Stanford personnel may be authorized to use Stanford or sponsor owned property; if so, the Stanford University person they report to should be listed in the property record. There are various considerations to keep in mind when assigning a custodian. The following are some common scenarios; work with your department management to determine what is best for your area.

  • The individual with decision-making authority regarding the equipment.  For example: the business manager is listed as the custodian and the individual employees or positions (i.e.: receptionist) are listed as asset users
  • In lab situations, the Principle Investigator (PI) may be listed as the custodian and research assistants or graduate students are listed as asset users
  • For departmentally used items such as copiers, the key operator or business manager is listed as the custodian

Office or Lab Manager

Office or Lab Managers are Stanford employees responsible for overseeing the operations of a designated area.  From a property management perspective, their primary responsibilities include:

  • Promoting property awareness
  • Ensuring equipment is appropriately used, maintained, and identified as excess when no longer needed.
  • Assist in the resolution of property issues and challenges.

Faculty or Principal Investigator

Faculty or Principal Investigators are Stanford personnel responsible for overseeing the performance of research per the terms of sponsored projects. Primary responsibilities include:

  • Understand and comply with Sponsor terms and conditions relative to the acquisition, use, and disposal of equipment and materials.
  • Work in close collaboration with Department Property Administrator (DPA) on all property matters.
  • Provide access to area and award information during physical inventory period, audits, or throughout the asset life cycle as needed.

DPA Supervisor/Manager

The DPA Supervisor is a key participant in helping ensure effective property management.  Their primary responsibilities include:

  • Promoting property awareness
  • Selecting and appointing a Department Property Administrator (DPA).  More than one DPA may be appointed if needed.
  • Ensure DPA participates in property-related training from PMO or other sources.
  • Ensures the DPA(s) have the necessary time and resources to perform their duties.
  • Collaborates with PMO in the monitoring of department performance metric

The functional responsibilities of the DPA role may be distributed among several individuals within a department. The distribution of duties may vary depending on the size and complexity of the property management needs of the department or sponsored project. When distributing the responsibilities, the department must ensure that adequate checks and balances exist to ensure adequate process and data integrity are maintained.

Selecting a well-qualified DPA is critical to ensuring effective property management at the departmental level. The DPA must interface with all faculty, staff and students working in their respective area. They are also the liaison between their department and the PMO. The following is intended to assist in the selection of a DPA:

  • Employee status:
    • A Stanford University employee with a SUNet ID
    • Registered in authority manager
  • Skills:
    • Communication and interpersonal skills
    • Problem solving and organizational skills
    • Basic accounting
    • Positive and persistent attitude toward accomplishing tasks
    • Knowledge and understanding of University policies and procedures
    • Familiarity with Stanford online systems – Oracle financials, Sunflower, OBI Reporting, email, calendar, etc.
  • Education:
    • Cardinal Curriculum (particularly if in a research department)
    • Optional, but recommended: Certified Professional Property Specialist certification

Dean, Associate Dean, Vice Provost, Assoc. Vice-President or Designee

  • Each Dean, Associate Dean, Vice Provost, Associate Vice-President, or their designee, is responsible for implementing property administration and promoting property awareness and compliance within their area of responsibility.

3. Communication, Education & Training


In addition to personal, classroom, and online interaction between the PMO and our campus clients, property management information is disseminated by using the DPA distribution mailing list.  Upon completion of the required PMO-1000 course, all DPAs are added to this distribution list.  Others included in distribution may include DPA supervisors and others.

Required and Other Priority Training

Required for all new DPAs prior to being granted systems access.  This is also recommended as a refresher or for others in a department who are involved in some facet of property management. Registration is available in STARS.

  • PMO – 1000:  Department Property Administrator (DPA) Certification
    Recommended for all DPAs within 6 months of becoming a DPA. Required for Sunflower Access. Registration for the online courses is available through STARS.
  • FIN 102 - Cost Policy (Outlines the Chart of Accounts and accounting structure at Stanford University
  • iProcurement -  (DPAs approve purchase requisitions and should understand the system)
  • iJournals -  (DPAs are often involved in journal transactions and should understand the system)

Recommended for DPAs working in a research department.  Registration available through STARS:

  • DOR-PROG-1001 Cardinal Curriculum, Level I
  • DOR-PROG-2002 Cardinal Curriculum, Level II

Ongoing Property Training:

There are a variety of periodic training sessions provided by PMO.  It is strongly recommended that DPAs and other department personnel involved in property management activities attend. 

  • PMO – 2000:  DPA Review and Refresher
  • PMO – 3000:  PACE (Property Administration Continuing Education) sessions:  Provide important updates on policy, audit, compliance, system changes, etc. relevant to the DPA role.  Also provides an opportunity for DPA community interaction and networking. 
  • Inventory Preparation Review
  • Other courses are announced upon availability

Other recommended training:

DPAs are encouraged to obtain professional Certified Property Professional Specialist certification. Additional information is available through your Property Programs Manager (PPM).