Effective as of: 01.01.2006
Policy name: Conflict of Interest for Administration, Faculty and Staff
Policy of Publication
Policy Number: Number Not Yet Assigned
A conflict of interest arises when an individual's private interests (such as outside professional or financial relationships) might interfere with his or her professional obligations to the University. Such situations do not imply wrong-doing or inappropriate activities. However, in a research university setting, they can compromise, or be perceived as compromising, important academic values, research integrity, or the university mission. It is essential that all AUA administration, faculty, staff, and students understand how these divergent interests can become a problem.
This policy aims to protect the University, its administration, faculty, staff and students from any of the following allegations:
· Exploitation of students for private gain
· Compromise of university priorities due to financial considerations
· Unfair access by a company to information or technology
· Compromise of scientific objectivity in the conduct of research
· Use of university resources and/or name for private gain
· Adverse effect by those in leadership roles on the professional or academic advancement of colleagues, staff or students as a result of outside interests.
In general, consulting is defined as professional activity related to the person's field or discipline, where a fee-for-service or equivalent relationship with a third party exists. There are many types of consulting relations and fee arrangements, and the precise form entered into may vary. The principle is that, in consulting, a person agrees to use his or her professional capabilities to further the agenda of a third party, in return for an immediate or prospective gain.
Several types of activity, other than regular University duty, are not "consulting." These are:
Publication: Scholarly communications in the form of books, movies, television productions, art works, etc., though frequently earning financial profit for an administration, faculty or staff member and for another party (e.g., publisher), are not viewed as consultation.
Professional Service (professional affiliation): Under this rubric falls service on national commissions, on governmental agencies and boards, on granting agency peer-group review panels, on visiting committees or advisory groups to other universities, and on analogous bodies. The fundamental distinction between these activities and consulting is that they are public or University SERVICE. Although an honorarium or equivalent sometimes may be forthcoming, these professional service activities are not undertaken for personal financial gain. Therefore, such service does not fall within the consulting category.
"Moonlighting": Administration, faculty and staff members may pursue a variety of endeavors for financial profit that are not directly related to the person's field or discipline. These efforts are part of the administration, faculty or staff member's private life and do not come under University regulation or this consulting policy. However, such endeavors may only be pursued after the individual’s commitment to AUA has been fulfilled.
Inventions and Discoveries
AUA is the owner of all inventions and discoveries that may result from the work of its employees using University facilities and resources. The AUA reserves full and exclusive rights to any patents and licenses resulting from such inventions and discoveries. The AUA may select to provide a portion of royalties resulting from such patents and licenses to the employee(s) responsible for the invention or discovery.
Guidelines for Policy Implementation
An implicit assumption underlying this policy is that such outside professional activities are a privilege and not a right and must not detract from an administration, faculty or staff member's full-time obligation to his or her University duties. The nature of the consulting work should in no way detract from the prestige of the University or the professional stature of the administration, faculty or staff member. Consulting obligations undertaken should conform to this objective.
Consulting agreements involving AUA administration, faculty or staff should specifically address this concern by acknowledging that:
- the primary duty of the Consultant, who is an AUA administration, faculty or staff member, is to AUA;
- the Consultant is subject to AUA's policy on outside consulting activities of its faculty; and
- the Consultant may have obligations to AUA by reason of agreements between AUA and external organizations for research or other activities performed in part by the Consultant in fulfilling his/her duties to the University.
All administration, faculty and staff members must certify to the University their compliance with AUA’s policies related to conflict of interest and commitment. In addition, they must disclose their outside professional activities and any financial interests in outside entities that they and their immediate family members have before the University will approve the following proposed arrangements between such entities and AUA: a) gifts; b) sponsored projects; c) technology licensing arrangements; and d) procurements.
The basic principle of this policy statement is that there needs to be a limitation upon the time that an AUA administrator, faculty member may spend in consulting. The limits set forth below are intended to strike a fair balance between consulting and regular administration, faculty and staff duties within the University and serve to safeguard the interests of both parties.
The maximum number of consulting days permissible for an administration, faculty or staff member holding a full-time appointment at AUA is 13 days per academic quarter.
Responsibility of Administration, Faculty and Staff Members
The responsibility for adhering to the limit on consulting days, and other aspects of AUA's consulting policy, lies first with the individual administration, faculty or staff member. The University has the right to protect itself from losses due to excess consulting and to seek reimbursement from the administration, faculty or staff member for salary and benefits covering time spent on consulting beyond the limits provided for by this policy. Administration, faculty and staff members have an obligation to report fully the level (i.e., number of days) of their consulting activities when asked to do so by the University so that it may be determined adherence to the principles set forth herein are followed.
Faculty members must be especially sensitive to potential conflicts of interest between their teaching responsibilities vis-a-vis graduate students working under their supervision and their outside consulting interests. To avoid such conflicts, an AUA faculty member may not hire or directly supervise an AUA student in employment activities outside the University while simultaneously serving as either the student's advisor or as a participant on that student's thesis committee, without the approval of the department chair or dean.