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Property Administration

Management of equipment and material

  • What is it?
  • Who is responsible?
  • How do I do it?
  • When is it pertinent?

Property management at Stanford University is an integral process supported by all departments. Effective and efficient management of equipment and materials, throughout their life cycle, help ensure university activities are performed in accordance with our policies, procedures, and sponsor requirements.

Property can be defined in several ways. All equipment purchased with Stanford funds is considered Stanford property. This includes equipment that is capital and non-capital, including home equipment. This equipment does not belong to the individual who uses the asset; it belongs to the department that paid for it. When an employee leaves Stanford or University IT, the equipment remains with the department either to be reassigned or assessed for disposal.

Effective stewardship and accountability of property is the responsibility of everyone on the Stanford campus. The Property Management Office within Research Financial Compliance and Services (RFCS), implements policies, procedures, and a system that enables effective property management. All staff, faculty, research administrators, principle investigators, and the like typically coordinate property management through a Department Property Administrator (or DPA) who is the local area expert that provides guidance concerning property matters, such as acquisition, coordination of transfers, physical inventory, and disposal.


Figure: Property Roles and Responsibilities

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. This includes property either assigned for individual use, or as part of a common area. This obligation includes but is not limited to:

  • notifying the appropriate DPA of the acquisition, movement, or disposal of property
  • exercising reasonable care in use to prevent damage and maintain good condition
  • exercising 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

Stanford is one of the largest research universities in the country. Because the federal government and other granting agencies often sponsor funding for research, management of this property has high visibility and may be subject to greater scrutiny and audits.  Also, if your department receives donated equipment or equipment for evaluation, there are additional rules and regulations to follow. The recording of all equipment directly impacts indirect cost recovery requirements and other reporting requirements. Accurate and effective management benefits individual departments and Stanford as a whole.


For assistance, departmental staff should contact their Department Property Administrator. DPAs requiring assistance should contact their University Property Administrator (UPA). For University IT, your local DPAs are Michael Dillow and Maurice Brown. Please use these contacts for any questions regarding University IT property. Additional information is also available in the Property Administration Manual on the Property Management Office website.

More information

To learn more about property management processes, see the Property Life Cycle web pages.