Fort Hays State University > About FHSU > Academic Divisions > Office of the Provost > Faculty and Unclassified Handbook > Ch 4 Conflict Of Interest
Office of the Provost
The Board of Regentsencourages the Regents
universities to interact with business, industry, public and private
foundations, and government agencies in order to assure the relevance of their
missions of teaching, research and service; to provide for and facilitate the
professional development of their faculty and staff; and to promote the rapid
expansion and application of knowledge, gained through research, to the needs
of Kansas, the region and the nation. With particular reference to such
collaboration, the Board of Regents considers it of utmost importance that
University employees conduct their affairs so as to avoid or minimize conflicts
of time commitment and conflicts of interest, and that the Regents universities
must be prepared to respond appropriately when real or apparent conflicts arise.
To those ends, the purposes of this policy
are to: (i) educate about situations that generate conflicts; (ii) provide
means for full and part-time faculty and staff and the University to manage
real or apparent conflicts; (iii) promote the best interests of students and
others whose work depends on faculty direction; and (iv) describe situations
that are prohibited. Every full and part-time employee, except for student
employees, has an obligation to become familiar with, and abide by, the
applicable provisions of this policy. If a situation arises, raising questions
of real or apparent conflict of time commitment or conflict of interest as
described in this policy, affected employees must meet with their department
chair, dean or supervisor, report the conflict as described below, and
eliminate the conflict or manage it in an acceptable manner. Additionally,
every full and part-time employee, except student employees, shall report, as
required below, any consulting arrangements, significant financial or
managerial interests, or employment in an outside entity, the financial or
other interests of which would reasonably appear to be directly and
significantly affected by their research or other university activities.
1. Conflict of Time Commitment
a. Attempts to balance University responsibilities
outlined in the preamble with external activities, such as, but not limited to,
consulting, public service or pro bono work, can result in real or apparent
conflicts regarding commitment of time and effort. Whenever a full-time faculty or unclassified
staff member's external activities exceed reasonable time limits, or whenever
an unclassified staff or faculty member's primary professional responsibility
is not to the university, a conflict of time commitment exists.
b. Conflicts of commitment usually involve issues of
time allocation. Full-time Faculty
members and unclassified staff of Regents universities owe their primary
professional responsibility to their employing universities, and their primary
commitment of time and intellectual effort should be to the education, service,
research and scholarship missions of said university. Faculty and unclassified
staff should maintain a presence on campus commensurate with their
appointments. The specific responsibilities, position requirements, employment
obligations and professional activities that constitute an appropriate and
primary commitment of time will differ across colleges and departments, but
these responsibilities, requirements, obligations and activities should be
initially premised on a general understanding of full-time commitment for
full-time faculty and unclassified staff of the university. Exceptions must be
justified and shown to enhance the university’s mission and must be approved in
advance by the faculty or staff member’s supervisor.
2. Conflict of Interest
a. A conflict of interest occurs when there is a divergence
between an individual's private, personal relationships or interests and
his/her professional obligations to the University such that an independent
observer might reasonably question whether the individual's professional
actions or decisions are determined by considerations of personal benefit, gain
b. Whether a conflict of
interest or the appearance of one exists depends on the situation, not on the
character or actions of the individual, and must be determined objectively on a
case by case basis. The appearance of a conflict of interest can be as damaging
or detrimental as an actual conflict. Thus, individuals are asked to report
potential conflicts so that appearances can be separated from reality.
c. Situations involving
potential conflicts of interest are common in a modern university and must be
addressed. State universities have as
part of their mission the promotion of the public good by fostering the
transfer of knowledge gained through university research and scholarship to the
private sector. Two important means of
accomplishing the university’s mission include consulting and the
commercialization of technologies derived from research. It is appropriate that
University personnel be rewarded for their participation in these activities
through consulting fees and sharing in royalties resulting from the
commercialization of their work. It is not appropriate, however, for an
individual's actions or decisions made in the course of his or her university
activities to be determined by considerations of personal financial gain. Such
behavior calls into question the professional objectivity and ethics of the
individual and it also reflects negatively on the employing university. State universities are institutions of public
trust; faculty and unclassified staff must respect that status and conduct
their affairs in ways that will not compromise the integrity of the university.
d. Except in a purely
incidental way, University resources, including but not limited to, facilities,
materials, personnel, or equipment shall not be used in external activities
unless written approval has been received from the university's chief executive
officer or his/her designee. Such permission shall be granted only when the use
of university resources is determined to further the mission of the university.
When such permission is granted, the faculty or staff member shall make
arrangements to reimburse the university for university materials, facilities
or services used in the external activity. Such use shall not be authorized if
it violates the Regents policy on Sales of Products and Services.
e. Proprietary or other
information confidential to a Regents university shall not be used in external
activities unless written approval has been received in advance.
f. University personnel shall
not involve University students, staff or faculty in their external activities
if such involvement is in any way coerced or conflicts with the involved
participants' required commitment of time to the University. For example, a student's grades or progress
towards a degree may not be conditioned on participation.
3. State Ethics Statues
All employees shall adhere to all applicable state ethics statutes.
Consulting and Other Employment
1. Consulting for Other State of Kansas AgenciesConsulting by faculty
members and employees of universities under the jurisdiction of the Board for
another university under the jurisdiction of the Board, as well as consultation
for other state agencies, shall be approved in advance by the university or
agency seeking these services and approved by the employee's home university.
The home university shall effect payment through the regular process and shall
receive reimbursement through the inter-fund transfer process.
2. Consulting Outside the UniversityFor members of the faculty,
the university permits and, indeed encourages, a limited amount of consulting
activity outside the faculty member's reasonably construed total professional
responsibilities of employment by and for the university, on subjects that are
within the faculty member’s area of professional expertise, provided such
activity: (a) further develops the faculty member in a professional sense or
serves the community, state, or nation in an area related to the faculty
member’s professional expertise; (b) does not interfere with the faculty
member's teaching, research and service to the university; and (c) is
consistent with the objectives of the university. Regular instructional service
to other universities is normally regarded as inappropriate and is thus
generally prohibited. Without prior approval, faculty members on fulltime
appointments shall not have significant outside managerial responsibilities,
nor act as principal investigators, on sponsored projects that could be
conducted at their employing university but instead are submitted and managed
through another organization. With approval of the President of Fort Hays State
University or a designee, the commitment to professional and consulting work
shall not normally exceed thirty-nine (39) calendar days per academic year for
academic year employees and forty-eight (48) calendar days per fiscal year for
fiscal year employees. Additionally, the work must not interfere with normal
University duties, including those extra responsibilities expected of all such
employees, and must be in addition to rather than a part of normal full-time
3. Other EmploymentThe Board of Regents
expects all faculty and staff employed by the Regents universities to give full
professional effort to their assignments. It is therefore considered
inappropriate to engage in gainful employment outside the university that is
incompatible with university commitments. It is inappropriate to transact
business for personal gain unrelated to the university from one's university
office, or at times when it might interfere with commitments to the university.
Participation in academic conferences, workshops and seminars does not usually
constitute consulting or outside employment. However, organizing, operating, or
participating in such meetings for profit may be construed as consulting or
outside employment as defined in this policy.
1. Annual Reporting of Consulting Arrangements,
Significant Financial or Managerial Interests, and Outside Employment As part of the annual appointment
process, all faculty and unclassified staff shall disclose to the university
whether they or members of their immediate family (spouse and dependent
children), personal household, or associate entities (e.g., corporations,
partnerships or trusts in which they have a significant interest) have
consulting arrangements, significant financial or managerial interests, or
employment in an outside entity. This report and information shall be provided
to the university no less than once each year.
For purposes of this
policy, significant financial or managerial interests (or significant financial
or other interests) mean all holdings greater than $5,000 or more than 5%
ownership in a company.
Failure to timely submit the required
reporting form to the university, shall result in denial of the opportunity to
submit research proposals to external funding agencies until the form is
submitted and may result in discipline in accordance with University
procedures. When the university determines that the information submitted
indicates that a conflict of time, commitment or interest does exist, the
university may require the faculty or unclassified staff member to submit
additional information and explanation regarding that conflict.
2. Ongoing Duty to Report Consulting
Arrangements, Significant Financial or Managerial Interests, and Outside
Employment as They Occur In addition to the annual
report that faculty and unclassified staff are required to make, all faculty
and staff shall disclose any current or prospective situations that may raise
questions of conflict of time commitment or conflict of interest, as soon as
such situations become known. Such reports shall be made to the department
chair or dean or supervisor of that staff or faculty member.
3. Federal Reporting RequirementsState universities are
required to adhere to and implement any additional policies and procedures and
disclosure requirements that are imposed by applicable federal conflict of
4. Prior Approval for
Consulting and Other Employment Outside the UniversityFaculty and staff shall inform the chief academic officer, through the
department chair and the dean, or the appropriate vice president through the
approved chain of authority, of all consulting activities and employment
outside the university for which the employee is compensated. The faculty or
staff member shall report in writing the proposed arrangements, and secure
approval prior to engaging in the consulting activities or other employment.
The report shall indicate the extent and nature of the consulting activities or
employment, the amount of time to be spent, including travel time, and the
amount of time to be spent or expected to be spent on all such outside
consulting activities or employment during the coming academic year.
5. Disposition of ReportsAll required reports shall be submitted to the chief academic officer,
through the department chair and the dean, or the appropriate vice president
through the approved chain of authority, and shall be included in individual
personnel files to be used for the determination of whether an individual is in
compliance with this policy. Such reports shall also be available to university
research officers to permit certification and/or verification of compliance with
federal regulations. Universities must maintain these reports for a minimum of
6. University Conflict of Interest Committee
a. Conflict of Interest Committee FormationIn April of each spring
semester, the Provost will select the members for the Conflict of Interest
Committee for the following year and notify them of their selection. However, for the first year, the Provost will
appoint the Committee after the policy and procedures are approved.
b. Conflict of Interest Committee MembershipThe membership of the
Committee will be drawn from the full-time teaching faculty of the
University. However, membership shall
not include the chair of any academic unit, or assistant dean, or associate
dean, or dean of any college or school.
The Committee will consist of seven (7) voting faculty members. One voting member will be selected from lists
of at least three nominees submitted to the Provost by each of the four college
deans (Arts and Sciences, Business and Entrepreneurship, Education and
Technology, Health and Life Sciences), the Dean of Graduate Studies, and the
President of Faculty Senate. The Provost
will select one at-large representative.
The Provost will appoint one person to call the organizational meeting
each year. The Committee will select its
own chair and secretary. The chair will
be a voting member of the Committee. The
Committee members will serve for two years with staggered terms. (Three of the seven initial members will be
appointed for one-year terms.)
7. Review Guidelines
a. Conflict of Interest Committee Objectives:The principal
objective for the Committee and responsible administrators is to help ensure
that faculty and the University avoid activities where the risk to integrity
and reputation as a result of an external activity outweighs the value of the
activity to academic and societal goals.
Guidelines for appropriate activity are described in the Kansas Board of
Regents policy, Commitment of Time, Conflict of Interest, Consulting and
Other Employment, as well as in relevant publications of the National
Science Foundation, the National Institute of Health, or other federal agencies
b. Conflict of Interest Committee Review Process:In the event that the Provost does not approve a
proposed activity, the Provost will notify the chair of the Conflict of
Interest Committee. The chair of the
Committee will be responsible for bringing together the Committee members to
review the proposed activity.
Upon receiving a request for review from the Provost,
the Conflict of Interest Committee will review information pertaining to the
questioned activity. In order to reach
an informed judgment and recommendation, the Committee may request additional
information from the faculty member, from the chair or the academic supervisor,
from the college dean, from the Provost, or from external sources. Review and decisions on proposed activities
for this section must be completed within ten (10) working days after submission
of the Disclosure Form to the Committee.
The Committee may extend its deadline by ten (10) working days if
important information from external sources is required. The Committee will notify the individual or
individuals submitting the activity, the chair of the department, supervisor of
the academic unit, the dean of the college and the Provost of this extension.
The Committee will submit to the Provost a
written recommendation signed by all Committee members. Committee recommendations might include but
are not limited to the following: approval of the activity as proposed if it is
concluded that the potential for conflict is remote or inconsequential;
requirement of periodic oversight by individuals independent of the employee;
divestiture of the financial interest; assignment of different faculty members
without a financial interest to control the activity; termination of the
activity; termination of a grant awarded before the conflict became known.
In special circumstances the Conflict of Interest
Committee may approve the activity for a limited period of time due to the
potentially great benefit from the activity even though there is a high
potential for conflict of interest. The
circumstances, restrictions, and conditions of continuation will be carefully
and fully detailed in writing. Such
restrictions and conditions might include but are not limited to public
disclosure of significant financial interest, monitoring of research by
independent reviewers, or modification of the research plan or activity.
c. Conflict of Interest Committee Reporting:The Conflict of
Interest Committee will report its recommendation in writing to the
Provost. The Provost will consult with
the President in making the final recommendation. In reaching this decision, the President and
Provost will strongly consider the Committee's recommendation. The Provost will communicate the final
recommendation to the faculty member or unclassified staff, to the chair of the
faculty member's department, to the supervisor of the academic unit, to the
dean, and to the University Conflict of Interest Committee. These parties will initiate appropriate steps
to implement the final recommendation.
The final decision will be filed in the individual's personnel file in
the Office of the Provost.
Committee section of retired Conflict of Interest and Conflict of Time
Reporting Procedures appended to revised Commitment of Time policy in the
Faculty and Unclassified Handbook per General Council (07-01-13).
Use of University Name
The Name of the Board of
Regents, a state university or the Regents System may never be used as an
endorsement of a faculty or staff member's external activities or by any
outside entity for any purpose without expressed and advance written approval
of the University chief executive officer or the Board's CEO, as appropriate.
Faculty and staff members may list their university affiliation in professional
books, articles and monographs they author or edit and in connection with
professional workshops they conduct or presentations they make without securing
Distribution and Dissemination
This policy statement will be distributed upon initial appointment to all faculty and staff at Fort Hays State University.
Approved by President’s Cabinet (05-29-02)
Revision approved by President's Cabinet (05-08-13)
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