Consulting and Sponsored Projects

Policy number: 2.9

Policy section: Academic Affairs

Revised Date: December 16, 2019

1.  Policy Statement

It is the policy of the University that no faculty member should accept employment or consulting projects or carry on professional or business activities that would pose a potential conflict of interest between the faculty member's obligation to the University and his/her obligations to any other person or entity that would interfere with the performance of his/her primary responsibilities of teaching and research. In addition to complying with the requirements of this policy, faculty members are directed to University Policy 1.3, Conflict of Interest and University Policy 10.7, Financial Conflicts of Interest in Externally Sponsored Research, for additional requirements.

2.  Purpose

The purpose of this policy on consulting and sponsored projects is to state with both clarity and generality the limits on such activities.

3.  Background Information

An increasing number of faculty are involved in consulting projects or carry out research sponsored by private business or government agencies. Relations between the University and the federal government, state government, local governments, and private industry have become more complex. In this environment, there is greater likelihood of the development of conflicts of interest for faculty, including interference with academic duties. This policy does not question the value of the activities of the faculty involved in such projects. The University encourages its faculty and staff to take an active role in the affairs of their communities and to pursue consulting and research projects consistent with individual and scholarly interests. These activities must, however, be reasonably balanced with the employee's responsibilities within the University, and they must not adversely affect or appear to adversely affect the University as an institution. The policy set forth below is congruent with conflict of interest statements by the AAUP.

4.  Practice

It is the responsibility of each faculty member to:

  1. Become aware of potential conflicts of interest and the appearance of conflict of interest.
  2. Assist the University in identifying broad University-wide conflicts of interest which might be unknown to an individual faculty member by securing written approval of the Dean before engaging in any consulting whenever University facilities, including computers (PC or mainframe), computer time, research assistants, laboratory or library resources will be used. 
  3. Secure written approval of the Dean before accepting off-campus employment including, but not limited to, teaching courses for credit at another institution.
  4. Assist in informing other interested University constituencies by providing the Dean a written report about any of the following:
    1. The faculty member's appointments to the Board of Directors or as an officer of any company, trade association, charitable or educational institution, professional society, or similar organization, including religious, social, and political organizations;
    2. The faculty member's compensated activities during the previous year, including names of organizations for which such activities have been conducted, names of business and professional organizations in which the faculty member is an owner, partner, officer, director, or staff member, and the number of hours devoted to such activities;
    3. The faculty member's consulting activities during the previous academic year, including consulting for the University. Names of organizations for which the consulting was performed, the amount of time spent on projects for each organization, including the number of consulting hours devoted to the University activities, should be part of the report.
  5. Inform the Dean in writing of any actual or potential conflict of interest under University Policy 1.3, University Policy 10.7, or this policy.

5.  Consulting

Faculty may consult a maximum of one day per week during the academic year, or a total of 40 days per academic year. Classes should not be missed or rescheduled to facilitate consulting on extramural activities. The University should be reimbursed at appropriate rates to be agreed upon in writing by the Dean (or by the Provost, if the consulting faculty member is a senior academic administrator) in advance for any supplies, computer time, staff support, and space, except for the individual's office which may be used to support that individual's consulting.

6.  Questions

Questions regarding this policy should be directed to the Office of the Provost.

Revised: December 16, 2019

Adopted: October 5, 2000