Approved by: Academic Senate
History: Issued -- April 1997
Revised --
Related Policies: Conflicts of Interest Policy - Externally-Funded Research
Additional References:
Responsible Official: Provost tel. 202-319-5244

I. Policy on Conflict of Commitment

By accepting appointments for full-time service, faculty members agree that their primary professional responsibility is to the University and that they shall devote their time and energy primarily to the performance of their University duties. At the same time, the University recognizes that participation of faculty members in outside professional activities may often serve the mission of the University. Professional consulting, leadership in professional societies, and various forms of public service not only promote the professional development of the faculty, but also expose to others the work of the University. In some fields, outside professional activity is beneficial for maintaining currency and competence in the discipline.

Accordingly, a member of a Faculty may engage in non-University employment, consulting, or professional practice insofar as such activity does not impede, diminish, or conflict with, the faculty member's responsibilities to the University or to its students, or conflict with the University's mission. Certain activities, such as those that involve business transactions either with the University or in competition with the University, constitute an inherent conflict of interest and are not permitted. Other outside activities, whether remunerated on not, may interfere with faculty responsibilities through disproportionate commitment of professional effort devoted to such activities. Full-time employment elsewhere is, of course, not permitted under any circumstances.

When the extent or the nature of the outside activity is such that a conflict of commitment may exist, the faculty member must request in writing from the Dean of the School permission for the activity. Examples of activities that ordinarily require permission include: teaching at another institution; regularly scheduled part-time employment during the academic year; advertised professional or business practice; activities that require frequent and/or protracted absence from campus; assumption of responsibilities and/or offices in organizations that demand extensive and continuous commitment of time and energy. In particular instances, the Chair of the Department or the Dean of the School may consult informally with the faculty member to determine if a written request for permission is required.

The written request to the Dean must include information on the nature and duration of the proposed activity and must disclose any financial interest that may pose a question of conflict.

The Dean shall review the materials submitted and determine if such outside activity constitutes a conflict of commitment. If it is determined that no conflict exists, the Dean will sign the faculty member's written request indicating approval of the outside activity. If the determination of the Dean is that a conflict exists and the request to undertake the outside activity is denied, the Dean and the faculty member shall first have a meeting to discuss a modification of such activity. If no resolution is reached, the faculty member may appeal the decision in writing to the Provost, who shall make the final decision. A written statement of approval or denial by the Provost shall be indicated on the faculty member's written request, with a copy placed in the faculty member's file.