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3.04 / Commitment of Time, Conflict of Interest, Consulting and Other Employment

The Board of Regents encourages the Regents institutions 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 unclassified 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 interaction, the Board of Regents considers it of utmost importance that university employees conduct their affairs so as to avoid or minimize conflicts of time commitments and conflicts of interest and that the Regents institutions must be prepared to respond appropriately when real or apparent conflicts arise.

To these ends, the purposes of this policy are to:

  1. educate about situations that generate conflicts;
  2. provide means for faculty and unclassified staff and the university to manage real or apparent conflicts;
  3. promote the best interests of students and others whose work depends on faculty direction; and
  4. describe situations that are prohibited.
Every faculty member and member of the unclassified staff has an obligation to become familiar with and abide by the provisions of this policy. If a situation raising questions of real or apparent conflict of commitment or conflict of interest arises, affected faculty and/or unclassified staff must meet with their department chair, school dean or supervisor; report the conflict as described below; and eliminate the conflict or manage it in an acceptable manner.

General Principles:

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 faculty or 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 institution, a conflict of time commitment exists.

b.  Conflicts of commitment usually involve issues of time allocation. Faculty members and unclassified staff of Regents institutions owe their primary professional responsibility to their employing institutions, and their primary commitment of time and intellectual effort should be to the education, service, research, and scholarship missions of said institutions. 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 schools and departments; but said responsibilities, requirements, obligations, and activities should be initially premised on a general understanding of full-time commitment for full-time faculty or unclassified staff of the institutions. Exceptions must be justified and shown to enhance the institutional mission.

2.  Conflict of Interest

a.  A conflict of interest occurs when there is a divergence between an individual's private, personal relationships, or interest 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.  A conflict of interest or the appearance of it depends on the situation and not necessarily on the character or actions of the individual. 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.  Potential conflicts of interest are not unusual in a modern university and must be addressed. For example, conflicts of interest can arise out of the fact that Regents institutions 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 institutional 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 wrong, 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 ethics of the individual, and it also reflects negatively on the employing university. Regents institutions 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, may not be used in external activities unless written approval has been received in advance from the institution'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 institution. When such is granted, the faculty member or unclassified staff member will make arrangements for reimbursement of the university for customarily priceable institutional materials, facilities, or services used in the external activity. Such use may never be authorized if it violates the Regents Policy on Sales of Products and Services.

e.  Proprietary or other information confidential to a Regents institution may never be used in external activities unless written approval has been received in advance.

f.  Faculties or unclassified staff may not involve university students, university support staff, unclassified staff, or faculty staff in their external activities if such involvement is in any way coerced or in any way conflicts with the involved participants' required commitment of time to their university. For example, a student's grades or progress toward a degree may not be conditioned on participation.

Consulting and Other Employment:

1.  Consulting for Other State of Kansas Agencies

Consulting by faculty members and employees of institutions under the jurisdiction of the Board as well as consultation for other state agencies shall be approved in advance by the institution or agency seeking these services and approved by the employee's home institution. The home institution shall effect payment through the regular process and shall receive reimbursement through the interfund transfer process.

2.  Consulting Outside the University

For members of the faculty, the Regents institution permits and, indeed, encourages, a limited amount of personal, professional activity outside the faculty member's reasonably construed total professional responsibilities of employment by and for the institution provided such activity:

  1. further develops the faculty member in a professional sense or serves the community, state, or nation in a professional capacity;
  2. does not interfere with the faculty member's teaching, research, and service to the institution; and
  3. is consistent with the objectives of the institution.
Regular instructional service to other educational institutions is normally regarded as an inappropriate personal, professional activity. Without prior approval, faculty members on full-time appointments must not have significant outside managerial responsibilities nor act as principal investigators on sponsored projects that could be conducted at their institution but, instead, are submitted and managed through another organization. Unless an exception is granted by the President, Chancellor, or a designee, unclassified staff members may consult only on nonuniversity time, including vacations.

3.  Other Employment

The Regents expect faculty and unclassified staff employed by the Regents institutions to give full professional effort to their assignments. It is, therefore, considered inappropriate to engage in gainful employment outside the Regents institution that is incompatible with institutional commitments. It is inappropriate to transact business for personal gain unrelated to the institution from one's institutional office or at times when it might interfere with commitments to the institution. Participation in academic conferences, workshops, and seminars does not usually constitute consulting or outside employment. However, organizing and operating such meetings for profit may be construed as consulting or outside employment as defined in this policy.

Reporting Requirements:

1.  Annual Reporting

As part of the annual appointment process, all faculty and unclassified staff with 100 percent appointments must 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) have consulting arrangements, significant financial or managerial interests, or employment in an outside entity whose financial or other interests would reasonably appear to be directly and significantly affected by their research or other university activities. For purposes of this policy, significant financial or managerial interests (or significant financial or other interests) means all holdings greater than $5,000 or more than 5 percent ownership in a company. 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 above, are also required to make the disclosures. Failure to submit the required reporting form, as approved by the Council of Presidents, will 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 institution judges that the information submitted indicates that a conflict of time, commitment, or interest does exist, the institution may require that the faculty or unclassified staff member submit additional information and explanation regarding that conflict.

2.  Reporting Significant Ad Hoc Current or Prospective Conflicts As They Occur

Faculty and unclassified staff must disclose on the form approved by the Council of Presidents to department chair or dean or supervisor on an ad hoc basis current or prospective situations that they may raise questions of conflict of commitment or interest as soon as such situations become known to the faculty or unclassified staff member.

3.  Report of Consulting

The faculty member must inform the chief academic officer, through the department chair or head and the dean, of all external personal, professional activities. For all such activities, except those single-occasion activities specified below, the faculty member must report in writing the proposed arrangements and secure approval prior to engaging in the activities. Those personal, professional activities which occur within a single 24-hour period must be reported annually in writing as prescribed. For all activities concerned, the report should indicate the extent and nature of the activities, the amount of time to be spent in the activities, and the total amount of time spent or expected to be spent on all such outside activities during the current academic year.

4.  Disposition of Reports

All required reports shall be submitted in accordance with institutional requirements 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 will also be available to institutional research officers to permit certification and/or verification of compliance with federal regulations. Institutions must maintain these reports for a minimum of three years.

Use of University Name:
The name of the Board of Regents, a Regents institution or the Regents System may never be used as an endorsement of a faculty member or unclassified staff member's external activities without expressed and advance written approval of the university chief executive officer and/or the Board's Executive Director, as appropriate. Faculty members or unclassified staff members may list their institutional 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.

Campus Policy Development and Enforcement:
Additional rules and procedures for personal external activity, consistent with Board policy, will be established by each Regents institution. In situations in which the objectivity of a faculty or unclassified staff member could reasonably be questioned or where apparent conflicts of interest exist, each Regents institution will establish an effective review mechanism to determine if a conflict of time or interest exists and to facilitate resolution of the conflict where possible and to decide upon the appropriate sanctions when an unclassified staff or faculty member's activities have been determined to constitute a conflict. Such review mechanisms will include opportunity for appeal.

Distribution and Dissemination:
This policy statement will be distributed upon initial appointment to all faculty and unclassified staff by each Regents institution.

Kansas Board of Regents Policy Manual, Chapter II, Section C, Item 12

(Regarding Use of University Name above, see also Use of the University's Name, Seal, Logos or Marks at Section 20.11 of this manual.)

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