Office of the Provost

Faculty and Unclassified Staff Handbook Chapter 4 -- Faculty: Benefits, Responsibilities, and Specific Requirements

 

Commitment of Time, Conflict of Interest, Consulting and Other Employment Policies of the Board of Regents

Preamble

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.

Policy Statement

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 or advantage.

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 Agencies
Consulting 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 University
For 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 University duties.

3. Other Employment
The 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.

 

Reporting Requirements

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 Requirements
State universities are required to adhere to and implement any additional policies and procedures and disclosure requirements that are imposed by applicable federal conflict of interest laws.

4.  Prior Approval for Consulting and Other Employment Outside the University
Faculty 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 Reports
All 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 three years.

6.  University Conflict of Interest Committee

a.  Conflict of Interest Committee Formation
In 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 Membership
The 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 as appropriate.

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 approval.

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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