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Affiliates & Volunteers


KU recognizes the vital role that Volunteers play in accomplishing its mission of teaching (learning), research (discovery), and service (engagement) and acknowledges their services as either Affiliates or Volunteers. This policy characterizes the nature of Volunteer service; establishes mechanisms to promote a safe, productive, and mutually beneficial environment; specifies allowable services with appropriate authorization; and identifies tracking processes for Volunteer services.

Applies to: 

Persons who provide Volunteer services to KU in Lawrence and its reporting units. 

Policy Statement: 

Volunteers perform service for the University without promise, expectation, or receipt of wages, compensation, benefits, unemployment coverage, or remuneration of any sort for services rendered and have no assurance or reason to expect KU will offer employment following the Volunteer period. Volunteers are not provided access to the same campus services and facilities as Affiliates and employees. They may be able to obtain some limited services by special request, e.g. sponsored temporary account for KU email from IT.  Volunteers are not covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and are not considered employees for any purpose.  In the event of an accident while a Volunteer is performing services to the University, workers’ compensation coverage is not guaranteed and will be determined by the State of Kansas.

Human Resource Management (HRM), in consultation with appropriate administrative offices, and the Office of General Counsel has the authority to determine whether services provided to KU represent a Volunteer or an employment relationship pursuant to the interpretation of the FLSA and Internal Revenue Services (IRS) regulations.

Volunteer services may be declined and/or ended at the discretion of KU at any time by the unit for which services are being provided or by HRM. Similarly, the Volunteer may end service at any time.   

Volunteers are subject to and must abide by all applicable University policies and procedures and all external regulations that govern their actions. This includes but is not limited to those relating to health and safety, confidentiality, intellectual property, protected information, non-discrimination, computer and equipment use, ethics, conflict of interest, alcohol and substance abuse, anti-violence, smoking, nepotism, background checks when appropriate as determined by HRM, etc.

Volunteers must also satisfactorily complete all applicable training and orientation required by the unit for which they are volunteering and which is appropriate to their role. The training should be provided prior to commencing activities.  Necessary safety training must be completed prior to commencing activities which may involve hazards or potential harm. Depending on the nature of the service, training may include FERPA or HIPAA requirements, health and safety precautions, research requirements, , compliance or customer service requirements.  

Identification, Approval, and Tracking/Registration of Volunteer Service by Campus Units

The appropriate administrative authority of sponsoring schools or units must approve and track Volunteer services as described herein. Schools and units will make information regarding their Volunteers available to central administrative
offices if requested.

Thesis/Dissertation Committees: The Office of Graduate Studies pursuant to the Graduate Faculty Appointments policy must approve and track Volunteers who provide service on thesis, dissertation, or comprehensive examination committees for students. Such individuals may be external to the University community. 

Student Oversight: Campus schools or units must have formal relationships or agreements with Volunteers who provide repeated, on- or off-site student oversight services as preceptors, practicum supervisors, practitioner experts, or who provide on- or off-site, ongoing, committed research or clinical mentorship/co-mentorship in collaboration with KU faculty.  Such individuals may be external to the University community.

Boards: Volunteers who are not part of the KU community may provide services related to ethics and other unit advisory board activities or be engaged in managing a donor relationship or activity.

Instruction: Only employees, not Volunteers, may serve as “instructors of record” when teaching for academic course credit. Volunteers may, however, serve on an occasional or intermittent basis as guest lecturers, instructors or guest presenters/role players. Such Volunteers may instruct courses, participate in education or training programs, or offer presentations that do not provide academic course credit.

Student Service and Research: The Volunteer policy does not apply to students who fulfill service hours as part of their academic status while engaging in service learning during progress toward degree as defined by the Center for Civic and Social Responsibility.

 In addition, the Volunteer policy does not apply to students who fulfill research hours as part of their academic status while engaging in research during progress toward degree as defined by the Center for Undergraduate Research.

HRM provides guidelines for units to track Volunteer services on the HRM website.

Identification, Approval, and Tracking/Registration of Volunteer Service by HRM

The appropriate administrative offices approve adjunct faculty, visiting scholars, and adjunct researchers who are considered “Affiliates.” HRM tracks their KU association.

HRM will work with units to determine how other Volunteer service not specified herein may best be handled. If HRM determines that the service qualifies as that of a Volunteer or an Affiliate, the sponsoring unit may request approval through the appropriate administrative offices and/or of HRM as applicable.

Affiliates: Departments must identify the campus association of Affiliates by completing a request via the Affiliate Web Form. Affiliate appointments are keyed in to the HR/Pay system and used to authorize access to campus services. 

Other Volunteers: Departments must identify the campus association of Volunteers not previously described herein and hourly employees who wish to provide Volunteer services by submitting the Volunteer Registration Form to HRM to determine whether the Volunteer service should be approved and tracked by the school/unit or by HRM. Units must contact HRM prior to the commencement of the Volunteer activity if a Volunteer is an hourly employee or if the Volunteer is under 18 years of age to ensure compliance with all Federal and State child labor laws and a parental consent form obtained.  

HRM tracks approved Volunteer appointments in the “Other Volunteers” category.

Exclusions or Special Circumstances: 

Exclusions: Temporary, intermittent or occasional employees, contractors, and student employees are not eligible for Affiliate or Volunteer status.

This policy does not apply to Volunteers who provide services in a one-time event or for events that last two days or less, unless the Volunteer is under 18 years of age or the activity participants are minors.

This policy does not cover services performed by students for student, campus, or community organizations registered with the Student Involvement and Leadership Center or human subject research participants as authorized by the Human Research Protection Program.

University Volunteers as determined by HRM are prohibited in the course of providing their services to the University from engaging in any of the following activities unless specifically approved in advance by the appropriate administrative authority and by HRM:

•Operating heavy equipment, including State vehicles,

•Working with stored energy (steam, electricity, hydraulics)

•Activity considered inappropriate for any employee

•Has entered into a Contractual/Consultant Agreement with the University

•Working with infectious or potentially infectious agents, including bodily fluids

•Working in a DEA registered facility

Individuals must be 18 years of age to perform the following activities in a Volunteer capacity unless specifically approved in advance by HRM:

•Laboratory Work

•Professional services, such as those performed by accountants, architects, engineers

•Services involving any kind of travel

•Services involving working with animals or in laboratories where animals are present

•Services working or requiring access to confidential information

•Services involving working with minors, patients, human subjects

•Public speaker on behalf of the University

•Museum gallery guide

Special Requirements/Circumstances:

A non-University student under the age of 18 may only become a Volunteer with parental consent and may not Volunteer in any position deemed hazardous by HRM.  Individuals under the age of 14 may not become Volunteers. University employees working with minors must comply with the University’s Minors Policy.

Subject to applicable laws, foreign nationals must have appropriate visa and authorization to engage in Volunteer and/or Affiliate activities, as certified by the International Programs Office or International Scholar Services. They must also receive clearance from the International Programs or International Scholar Services Office before volunteering for activities substantially different than their paid work.

Under special circumstances, an employee may serve as a Volunteer when the paid work is substantively different from the work as a Volunteer and the purpose of the Volunteer activity otherwise complies with the definition in this policy.  Any KU employee seeking to Volunteer in any capacity must receive prior approval from the existing supervisor and from HRM if the employee is overtime eligible. 

Workers’ Compensation: If an injury occurs to an Affiliate or a Volunteer while the individual is on KU property and/or providing service to the University, the department shall complete and submit the Report of Workplace Injury/Illness form to HRM within 48 hours of the accident. Eligibility for coverage by workers' compensation is determined by the State Self Insurance Fund Office on a case-by-case basis. If the workers’ compensation claim is denied, contact HRM for additional information regarding potential eligibility for reimbursement of medical expenses through the University.  Volunteers of corporations associated with the University are not eligible for workers’ compensation coverage by the State Self Insurance Fund. Additional information regarding Workers’ Compensation can be found on the Human Resource Management Website.


Unit leaders utilizing Volunteer services are accountable and responsible for compliance with this University policy and may be subject to disciplinary action for the unit’s failure to comply.  Supervisors are obligated to assure that Volunteers conduct themselves consistent with standards of professional behavior common to University expectations.


Human Resource Management
103 Carruth-O’Leary Hall
1246 W. Campus Road
Lawrence, KS 66045

Approved by: 
Vice Provost, Administration and Finance; Director, Human Resources
Approved on: 
Monday, April 4, 2011
Effective on: 
Monday, April 4, 2011
Review Cycle: 
Annual (As Needed)

US Department of Labor (DOL) definition of volunteers:

Consistent with the definitions and guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor, volunteers are “individuals who volunteer or donate their services, usually on a part-time basis, for public service, religious or humanitarian objectives, not as employees and without contemplation of pay, are not considered employees of the religious, charitable or similar non-profit organizations that receive their service.”

Affiliates are Volunteers who have access to campus services and facilities based on the nature of their relationship with KU. Definitions of Affiliate categories and allowable services are described on the HRM web site.  

Affiliate, retiree, adjunct faculty, adjunct researcher, visiting scholar, volunteer, affiliate corporation, temporary card, child labor
Change History: 

06/30/2020: Removed reference to Dean of Graduate Studies.
03/12/2019: The title VP for Administration and Finance no longer exists. Future approvals will be made by the Vice Provost for Operations. 
01/05/2018: Updated links for Workers' Compensation Report of Workplace Injury/Illness form
12/22/2017: Updated links for affiliate web form
05/12/2017: Policy update after full review
02/19/2016: Updated contact information and review date.
12/18/2014: Fixed broken link to Temporary KU Card information.
06/18/2014: Updated to reflect current unit name for Office of Research; minor formatting updates.
01/28/2013: Updated to reflect current unit name.
04/04/2011: This policy statement replaces one that was approved and posted by Human Resources on April 21, 2009.

Personnel: Affiliates/Volunteers Categories: 
Workplace Rules & Guidelines

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