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COI: Conflict of Commitment / Outside Professional Activities

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Overview

The University encourages faculty to engage in outside activities that contribute to their respective professions and to the community. A conflict of commitment occurs when the commitment to external activities, whether professional or non-professional, compensated or uncompensated, interferes with the successful performance of the faculty member's University obligations. This form of conflict is easily defined and recognized since it involves a perceptible reduction of the individual's time and energy devoted to University activities.

Since some outside activities may raise the appearance of a conflict of commitment, the University has established specific guidelines for managing such activity. Academic Personnel Manual section-025 and 671, "Conflict of Commitment and Outside Activities of Faculty Members," clarifies a faculty member's commitment to the University and outlines reporting guidelines for compensated and uncompensated outside professional and non-professional activities.

To assist in the documentation of outside professional activities, faculty members will be expected to file an annual report with their Dean or Chair of all compensated outside professional activities.

In addition, certain activities require faculty members to seek and receive prior approval. Examples of such activities include the following: assuming a managerial position in a for-profit or not-for-profit business; administering a grant outside the University that would ordinarily be conducted under the auspices of the University; establishing a relationship as a salaried employee outside the University; or, involving a student in an outside compensated activity.

What is the difference between Conflict of Interest and Conflict of Commitment?

A conflict of commitment occurs when a University employee's commitment and time to an outside activity interferes with the employee's performance of University duties. A conflict of interest occurs when (1) an employee has a significant financial interest in a company that is providing funding for the employee's research or other University activity or (2) the research might directly and significantly affect the significant financial interest of an employee responsible for the conduct of the research project.

Who is responsible for managing compensated outside professional activities?

The Senior Vice Chancellor-Academic Affairs and academic deans have responsibility for managing compensated outside professional activities and guiding faculty.

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