Outside professional activities can be valuable to both faculty members and the University. For these reasons, the University encourages full-time faculty members so desiring to engage in these activities and to arrange their schedules so as to allow the equivalent of one day away from campus during the regular five-day week of the faculty member’s contract period. It is important to emphasize, however, that engagement in outside professional activities by a full-time faculty member does not imply or result in a reduction in the faculty member’s University workload.
Judgments concerning faculty performance, whether they be related to over- or under-involvement in outside professional activities, or to any other cause, are part of the usual merit evaluation system. In some circumstances, however, guidelines and limitations may be required in order to handle cases in which these activities may become excessive, to avoid conflicts of interest, and (perhaps most importantly) to provide faculty with guidance in these matters.
Time Limitations on Compensated Outside Activities
The amount of time spent on compensated outside professional activities must not exceed the equivalent of one day (e.g., two half-days) during the usual five-day week of the full-time faculty member’s contract period. Some averaging over the academic year may be possible , but in any event these activities should not conflict or interfere with the faculty member’s schedule of assignments and responsibilities at the University.
Conflicts of Interest
The main safeguards in avoiding conflicts of interest are the high ethical standards which full-time faculty members impose on themselves. However, in some situations, judgments may differ and individuals may inadvertently place themselves in situations where potential conflicts exist. Certainly, faculty members should not engage in outside professional activities which conflict with the discharge of their University responsibilities and/or violate the University’s Policy on Conflict of Interest and Commitment. Nor should a faculty member make direct use of the University’s name, seal, facilities, personnel, equipment, or confidential and/or proprietary information in outside professional activities without prior approval of the applicable academic unit head and agreement to reimburse the University where appropriate.
Under certain circumstances, potential for conflict may exist ( e.g., a full-time faculty member teaches a course, other than a short course or seminar, at another institution during the academic year contract period, or a full-time faculty member owns or operates a substantial business which engages in professional activities). In these, and other situations in which the potential for conflict exists, it is the responsibility of the faculty member to report the activities in advance to the college dean and the academic unit head (e.g., school dean, department chair, program director), and on the annual Conflict of Interest and Commitment form. Should questions concerning the suitability of certain outside activities arise, it is the responsibility of the dean and academic unit head to discuss these issues with the faculty member involved and develop a plan of action, if necessary.
Nature of the Outside Professional Activities2
Because there is so much variation in the types of outside professional activities, the following is intended to provide full-time faculty with general guidance. Each College or Department may have more specific guidelines.
Ideally, the professional level of those activities should be sufficiently high that it is worthy of recognition during the faculty member’s merit evaluation as well as making a significant contribution to the faculty member’s ongoing professional development. It is clear that any engagement in outside professional activities involves a personal judgment between gains and losses and the decision can be a difficult one. For example, any time which is spent on consulting might be said to detract from the time that one could spend in direct service to the University. However, the implication of abstaining from consulting could be to isolate the faculty member from developments in their field and, hence, in the long term, to make them less effective in those services provided to the University. In any event, should a faculty member have doubts concerning the advisability of undertaking certain outside professional activities, they are strongly encouraged to seek the advice of the college dean and academic unit head.
If at any time a faculty member has an opportunity to pursue an outside professional activity that appears to be in conflict with this policy, the faculty member should consult the chair of their department or dean, where appropriate, about waivers of this policy or the possibility of a leave of absence (in accordance with Handbook Module on Leaves and Sabbaticals).
- Approved by the Faculty Senate on 4/18/2018 and approved by the Board of Trustees on 6/8/2018.
- See also Faculty module titled Conflict of Commitment and Interest and the University’s Policy on Conflict of Interest and Commitment.