Fort Hays State University > About FHSU > Academic Divisions > Office of the Provost > Faculty and Unclassified Handbook > Ch 4 Report Conflict Interest
Office of the Provost
Recently adopted federal and Regents policy address Conflict of Interest and Time Commitments as they affect research and other university activities.
Regents policy to address this issue was approved April 20, 1995, and is now in effect. The National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Public Health Service of the Department of Health and Human Services (PHS-HHS) policies become effective October 1, 1995. These policies are printed in the Federal Register with the most recent PHS-HHS and NSF policy changes published in FR, V.60, July 11, 1995, pp. 35810-35819, 35820-35823.
The documents are available for review in the Office of the Provost.
Forms will be distributed as a part of the annual appointment process according to Regents policy (revised 9/22/95). After the initial reporting, the annual report will be on reporting forms approved by the Council of Presidents (revised 9/22/95).
State of Kansas Annual Statement of Significant Financial Interest: The Kansas Statement of Significant Financial Interest requires certain employees of FHSU to disclose their entire financial interests based on their position with the University. The federal and Regents conflict policy requirement addresses a similar set of interests, but differs in that the policy only requires disclosure of financial interests and time commitments if there is a direct impact on one's research/educational activities or primary professional responsibility. Also the conflict policy applies to all faculty and unclassified employees.
WHO: In compliance with federal, State of Kansas, Kansas Board of Regents, and Fort Hays State University policies and procedures, all faculty members and unclassified staff must report and disclose any real or apparent conflict of financial interest or conflict of time commitments related to the education, service, research and scholarship missions of Fort Hays State University.
With regard to financial interests, individuals reporting must include information about themselves, their spouse and dependent children, and other members of the personal household.
Regents policy requires that "faculty and unclassified staff members who hold fractional appointments and who have potential or possible conflicts of time commitments or conflicts of interest, as defined" in the Regents policy, "are also required to make the disclosures." Department chairs, college deans, or area supervisors will make a determination about applying the policy to this group of faculty and unclassified staff (revised 9/22/95).
WHEN: Reporting must be completed on Form A and, if necessary, Form B annually "as part of the annual appointment process," and updated as circumstances change with regard to conflict of interest, conflict of time commitment, or new activities. NOTE: Any change in circumstance requires the submission of new report forms (revised 9/22/95).
WHAT: Form A "Declaration for Conflict of Interest and Conflict of Time Policy" asks that each individual assess any real or any potential conflict of time or conflict of financial interest as they relate to their own research and other university interests. Conflict of financial interest also includes financial interests of spouse and dependent children that might reasonably appear to be affected by the research or educational activities that are funded. If all questions on Form A are answered "No" except for B.1, the investigator signs the form and submits it to the college dean. If any questions on Form A are answered "Yes" except for B.1, the investigator must complete Form B "Disclosure Statement of Significant Financial and/or Time Commitment Interests" (revised 9/22/95). The form is signed by the investigator and submitted to the college dean.
NOTE: The State of Kansas requires the annual submission of a "State of Kansas Annual Statement of Significant Financial Interest" by certain employees based on their positions. The Board of Regents policy and federal policy address similar issues, but both the Regents and federal policy differ from State of Kansas policy in two ways. (1) The policy outlined in this document requires disclosure of financial interest and time commitment if there is a real or a reasonably apparent direct impact on the one's research, other university activities, or on private professional activities. (2) The Regents policy applies to all faculty and unclassified employees.
Conflict of Interest: A potential Conflict of Interest occurs when there is a divergence between an individual's private interests and his or 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 personal gain, financial or otherwise. An actual conflict of interest depends on the situation and not on the character or actions of the individual.
Conflict of Time Commitment: A Conflict of Time Commitment exists whenever a faculty member or staff member's external activities exceed reasonable time limits or whenever a unclassified staff or faculty member's primary professional responsibility is not to Fort Hays State University.
Covered Individuals: The Regents policy covers all full-time and part-time faculty and unclassified staff at Regents universities. Federal conflict of interest procedures apply to any individual at the institution who is responsible for the design, conduct, or reporting of research. Conflict of interest covered individuals include the individuals, their spouses, dependent children and other household members.
Disclosure: Refer to "reporting" below.
Financial Interests: This means anything of monetary value, including, but not limited to, salary or other payments for services (e.g., consulting fees or honoraria); equity interests (e.g., stocks, stock options or other ownership interests) and intellectual property rights (e.g., patents, copyrights, and royalties from such rights).
Reporting: This is the required reporting annually or by ad hoc declaration of the relationship between individuals' financial interests and their own research or educational activities and their time commitments. If a potential for conflict of interest or conflict of time commitment exists, the covered individual must also file Form B "Disclosure Statement of Significant Financial and/or Time Commitment Interest" identifying the specific financial interests and the area of research/educational activity and time commitments.
Responsibility: All covered individuals must report annually through their deans or their unit supervisor the existence of any potential or real conflict of interest between their financial interests and their research/education activities. More frequent reports may be requested or required by Fort Hays State University.
Additionally, if such interests and/or activities change during the year, an updated report must be filed. Prior to the submission of any external or internal grant applications, covered individuals must certify on Form A Declaration for Conflict of Interest and Conflict of Time policy that they are aware of the policy and procedures and have complied. The declaration will be attached to any internal or external grant before review of the grant application can begin.
Failure to Comply
Failure to comply with reporting and disclosure requirements for Conflict of Interest and Time Commitment will have one or more of the following consequences: (1) Individuals will not be allowed to submit internal and external grant applications (such as Graduate School research grants, reassigned time, summer salary for research, state, federal and other grants) until the compliance is rectified; (2) Failure to comply will be considered grounds for disciplinary action.
1. Review of Disclosure
The general purpose of review is to assist faculty members and the University in avoiding or controlling risks to integrity and reputation, while at the same time protecting and furthering the interests of faculty members and unclassified staff, Fort Hays State University, the Kansas Board of Regents, the State of Kansas, and federal agencies and society in the activities in question.
2. Initial Review Process
Faculty members and unclassified staff who are involved in situations which represent the potential for real or apparent conflicts of interest must disclose this information prior to participation in the activities. This disclosure must be made to the dean of the faculty member’s academic unit or to the unclassified staff’s supervisor.
a. Individuals required to report must read and understand all federal, State of Kansas, Board of Regents, and Fort Hays State University policies regarding conflict of interest and conflict of time commitment. (Please refer to Section VIII. Definitions.) Copies of these policies are available from the Office of the Provost.
b. Individuals must relate Conflict of Interest policies/procedures to their financial interests, their research and/or educational activities, and their time commitments to determine whether a reasonable person might view their situation as presenting real or potential conflict of time commitment.
The faculty member or unclassified staff member will prepare a report on the proposed activity and attach completed Form A "Declaration for Conflict of Interest and Conflict of Time Policy" and, if necessary at this time, "Form B Disclosure Statement of Significant Financial and/or Time Interest." The report and the documents or documents will be transmitted to the dean of the academic unit, with copies to the department chair or academic unit supervisor. In certain instances when an individual is not associated with an academic unit, the form is sent to the appropriate unit supervisor.
The chair of the academic department or supervisor of the academic unit will consult with the dean, who will either approve the proposed activity and send a copy to the Provost (Office of Record) for filing in the individual's personnel file or submit the Form B Disclosure Form to the Provost for further review. The Provost will either approve the proposed activity or submit the Form B Disclosure Form for review by the Conflict of Interest Committee as described below (in a later section). In those instances when the dean does not approve the proposed activity, or where the Provost does not approve the proposed activity, the activity may not proceed until approval is obtained through the review procedure. Review and decisions on proposed activities for this section must be completed within twenty (20) working days after submission of the Form B Disclosure Form to the dean of the faculty member's college.
c. If there is a possible conflict, the individual must disclose full information about specific research/educational activities affected by his or her financial interests and/or time commitments affecting the fulfillment of the University responsibilities using the form provided. Such disclosures are reviewed by the Conflict of Interest Committee which makes a recommendation to the Provost about management of the conflict situation.
d. If an individual's assessment of his or her family financial interests and its impact on educational/research activities does not present a real or apparent conflict of interest, and he or she has complied with time commitment approval procedures, then the individual simply completes the Form A Declaration Form and returns it to the college dean or to the department chair for forwarding to the dean. Reports and disclosures will be held in confidence and will be filed in the individual's personnel file in the Office of the Provost.
3. 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 & Life Sciences), the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research, 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.)
4. 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. The files related to conflict of interest or conflict of time commitment are described in Section VII below.
5. Certification Required for Grant Submission
a. Each individual submitting a grant application internally and/or externally will have to sign the "Declaration" form to certify that the individual understands the conflict of interest and conflict of time policy and has complied with them. The signed certification must accompany any grant, internal or external, that is submitted for funding.
b. Before any grant can be reviewed by the Grants Office or be submitted, the designated institutional representative must sign an agency certificate form to certify that any identified conflicts of interest will be managed, reduced, or eliminated prior to the institution's expenditure of any funds under any external grant award.
c. All reports related to any conflict of interest or conflict of time commitment will be available to the responsible person's in the Office of the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research, which also includes the Grants Office. The files will be available for certification/verification for compliance with rules and policies of federal agencies.
Distribution and Dissemination
This policy will be included in the Faculty and Unclassified Staff Handbook as a means of general distribution and dissemination. Faculty members or unclassified staff who begin work other than at the beginning of the Fall semester will be advised of the policy and procedures by the department chair or academic unit supervisor during the first week of work.
All records related to the conflict of interest and conflict of time commitment policy and procedures, including actions taken to resolve the conflicts of interest or resolution of any governmental action, will be maintained in the Office of the Provost. The records must be maintained for at least three years after the termination of the research or other activity in question.
Approved by Council of Presidents (10-19-95).
Note: Parts of the Policy were adopted from The University Of Kansas Conflict Reporting Procedures.
Back to Chapter 4
Copyright © 2009-2012 Fort Hays State University • 600 Park Street, Hays, Kansas 67601–4099 • 785–628–FHSU (3478) Contact Webmaster with any questions or comments concerning this Web site.