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


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 best interests of students and others whose work depends on faculty direction; and (4) describe situations that are prohibited.

Applies to: 
  • All full-time faculty and other unclassified staff
  • Any less-than-full-time faculty and other unclassified staff who
    • Are involved in the “design, conduct, or reporting” of sponsored research, and/or
    • Have an actual or potential conflict of interest or of time
Table of Contents: 
Policy Statement: 


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 those ends, the purposes of this policy are to: (i) educate about situations that generate conflicts; (ii) provide means for faculty and unclassified staff and the university to manage real or apparent conflicts; (iii) promote best interests of students and others whose work depends on faculty direction; and (iv) 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.

  1. General Principles
    1. Conflict of Time Commitment
      1. 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.
      2. 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
      1. A conflict of interest occurs when there is a divergence between an individual's private, personal relationships or interests and any 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.
      2. 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.
      3. 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 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 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.
      4. 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 designee. Such permission shall be granted only when the use of university resources is determined to further the mission of the institution. When such permission 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.
      5. Proprietary or other information confidential to a Regents institution may never be used in external activities unless written approval has been received in advance.
      6. Faculty or unclassified staff may not involve University students, classified staff [University Support Staff], unclassified staff or faculty 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 the university. For example, a student's grades or progress towards a degree may not be conditioned on participation.
  2. 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 for another institution 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: (a) further develops the faculty member in a professional sense or serves the community, state, or nation in a professional capacity; (b) does not interfere with the faculty member's teaching, research and service to institution; and (c) 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 though another organization. Each Regents institution is to determine how to apply or adapt the consulting policy and procedures for unclassified employees who are not faculty members. In no case shall the policy and procedures be more liberal than what is allowed for faculty. [Note: In accordance with section III.C below, those personal, professional, activities which occur within a single 24-hour period must be reported annually in writing. All other consulting by unclassified employees at the University of Kansas, Lawrence, must be reviewed and approved in advance by the employee’s department head/unit director, by the appropriate dean or vice provost, and by the Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor using the External Activity Request Form: UPS. Supervisors who are uncertain as to whether the proposed consulting arrangement is consistent with this policy are advised to consult with the Office of the Provost. The University of Kansas, Lawrence, policy is that unless an exception is granted by the Provost, Chancellor or a designee, unclassified staff members may consult only on non-university time, including vacations.]

    3. Other Employment

      The Regents expect faculty and unclassified staff employed by the Regents institutions to give 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.

  3. Reporting Requirements
    1. Annual Reporting

      As part of the annual appointment process, all faculty and unclassified staff with 100% time 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 $10,000 or more than 5% 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. (9-21-95)

    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 the department chair or dean or supervisor on an ad hoc basis current or prospective situations that may raise questions of conflict of commitment or interest, as soon as such situations become known to faculty or unclassified staff member.

    3. Reporting of Consulting

      The faculty member must inform the chief academic officer, through the department chair or head 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. [Note: the requirement for reporting consulting and for securing prior approval applies to both faculty and unclassified staff members at the University of Kansas, Lawrence. Approval is required throughout the year for all faculty and unclassified staff members, including those on academic-year appointments or other appointments of less than twelve months.

      Those personal, professional, activities which occur within a single 24-hour period must be reported annually in writing as prescribed. [Note: see “Definitions” section below for more detailed information about the University of Kansas, Lawrence, definition of “single occasion activities” that are to be reported annually.] For all activities concerned, the report should indicate the extent and nature of 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.

  4. 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 affiliate professional books, articles and monographs they author or edit and in connection with professional workshops they conduct or presentations they make without securing approval.

  5. 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.

  6. Distribution and Dissemination

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


Office of the Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
University of Kansas,
Strong Hall, 1450 Jayhawk Boulevard, Room 250
Lawrence, KS 66045

Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research
University of Kansas
Youngberg Hall
2385 Irving Hill Rd.
Lawrence, Kansas 66045-7563

Susan MacNally
Director, Research Integrity

Approved by: 
Board of Regents, University Council (predecessor to the University Senate)
Approved on: 
Thursday, April 20, 1995
Effective on: 
Sunday, October 1, 1995
Review Cycle: 
Annual (As Needed)

Developed by the Board of Regents and representatives of Regents institutions in 1995 to conform to Federal regulations governing research. This policy supersedes the Board of Regents policy on Consulting and Outside Work that was approved by the Board on 9/20/1974 and amended by the board 12/16/1977; 11/10/1982, and 5/17/85.


Single Occasion Activities: Those activities that occur within a single 24-hour period, that are clearly of a scholarly, professional, or technical nature, rather than commercial, and in which compensation is not the primary consideration. A single occasion might be, for example, a single visit, telephone conversation, manuscript for review, or written response to a request for assistance. An arrangement for a series of consulting visits, or for a two- week block of consulting, or to review manuscripts regularly (or irregularly) submitted by a publisher, would not be considered a single occasion. [Note: this definition was included in the Policy on Consulting and Outside Work that was adopted by the University of Kansas to provide additional clarification and procedural guidelines to the Board of Regents policy on consulting and outside work adopted in September 1974. It was first issued in the Handbook for Faculty and Other Unclassified Staff, January 1976, and has been in effect since that date. The reference to “a single 24-hour period” was added when the Board of Regents adopted its revised policy on Commitment of Time, Conflict of Interest, Consulting, and Other Work in 1995.]

Conflict of time, conflict of interest, consulting, external activities
Change History: 

11/08/2023: Fixed broken link.
01/25/2023: Fixed broken links.
01/20/2023: Fixed broken link.
06/26/2017: Updated links to related consulting forms.
02/21/2017: Fixed broken link to Kansas Board of Regents Policy Manual.
07/01/2016: Updated to remove gendered pronouns.
04/02/2015: Fixed broken link to Board of Regents Policy Manual.
02/27/2015: Changed typo at http://policy.ku.edu/provost/commitment-of-time-conflict-of-interest in section I.B.3. Changed "modem university" to "modern university".
12/16/2014: Fixed broken link to Board of Regents Policy Manual.
11/03/2014: Minor policy formatting cleanup (e.g., bolding, spacing).
07/10/2014: Technical edits - selected 'Lawrence' for Campus; updated formatting of Applies to, Contents, Policy Statement, Contact; fixed broken links in Related Policies, Related Forms, and added links to Related Other; updated references to 'Office of Research' to reflect current title.
05/22/2013: Added Policy Address field.
05/20/2013: Updated contact information.
04/22/2010: Updated by the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor in consultation with Human Resources and the Office of the General Counsel to provide more detailed guidance (Section II.B) on consulting by unclassified professional staff and to include “single occasion activities” in the “Definitions” section.
04/02/2009: Reviewed for accuracy; editorial modifications only.
10/18/2001: Change approved by Kansas Board of Regents. The effect of the change was to assign to each Regents institution the responsibility for determining the application of consulting policies and procedures to unclassified staff who are not faculty.

Academic Categories: 
Conflict of Interest

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