Compliance Specialist

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Why compliance matters at U-M

Since U-M engages in almost every activity imaginable, the number and scope of laws that apply is extensive and constantly evolving – which makes understanding and complying with them a challenging endeavor. As someone working in a compliance specialist role, you understand this better than anyone.

Compliance at U-M is a job done by many people.  Teams of compliance topic experts and legal experts help to facilitate compliance with the range of obligations we face, and managers oversee compliance in the areas under their purview.  But ultimately, compliance is the responsibility of every member of the U-M community. As a compliance specialist, you play an essential role in supporting and assisting the U-M community in understanding what requirements apply to their work, and interpreting the scope and meaning of those requirements.

To strengthen U-M’s compliance culture, the Office of the General Counsel has developed thiswebsite, as part of a University wide initiative that takes a big picture view of compliance by U-M.  This Compliance Resource Center is designed to guide the U-M community through the various compliance topics relevant to their work – and to highlight the great services and expertise that you and other compliance specialists can offer them.

Read more about the goals of this initiative…

Bringing a big picture view to compliance

Every member of the U-M community has different compliance obligations that impact on their role, depending on the precise nature of their work. Particularly for staff and faculty working in schools and colleges, one of the biggest challenges is the fact that their day-to-day work intersects with many different compliance topics. They receive information and training from many compliance specialists, each focused on a specific subject area – such as human or animal subjects research, occupational safety, immigration or tax. This can be overwhelming and intimidating for staff and faculty, and sometimes leads to resistance that makes your job as compliance specialists more difficult.

While compliance training tends to be subject-focused, in practice, most U-M activities intersect with many different compliance topics. Taking a step back to ask what compliance obligations arise operationally across U-M (that is, in connection with a set of activities or the operations of a U-M unit) is a perspective that the U-M Comprehensive Compliance Initiative seeks to introduce – and to promote through this Compliance Resource Center – to supplement and complement the subject-based compliance expertise that U-M already possesses.

How will this website help?

A major long term goal of the U-M Comprehensive Compliance Initiative is to raise general awareness about compliance. Greater awareness can ultimately empower the U-M community to understand better how and when compliance intersects with their day-to-day work in the University. It can arm employees with the knowledge they need to spot issues or red flags sooner, and to bring them to the attention of compliance specialists such as yourself before they become a major concern.

The first step in raising compliance awareness is the development of this Compliance Resource Center, which can guide the U-M community through the compliance topics relevant to their work. As a compliance specialist, this Resource Center can promote what you do and highlight key compliance information relevant to your field. It can also help you connect with specialists in other fields that are relevant to your own work or to complex operational problems you are helping to solve.

We suggest you spend a few minutes browsing the compliance topic areas, or the operations and activities library – both of these will be built upon gradually over time, to house practical resources, contacts, links and information.  We would welcome any suggestions you have about the content relating to your field, or ideas about information that could be added to this site: feel free to contact us with your ideas.

Another goal is to provide an additional point of contact for people to bring compliance questions or concerns. Sometimes, people feel unsure about a situation, or think a compliance problem needs to be reported but are uncomfortable raising it inside their department. Through our Report a Concern page, we refer people to a range of alternative contact points and support mechanisms, including those maintained by specialist compliance offices across U-M.


Established 3/4/11, last updated 3/7/17 – Contact us if you believe any information is incorrect or outdated