Printed on: 09/22/2020. Please go to http://policy.umn.edu for the most current version of the Policy or related document.
University of Minnisota  Administrative Policy

Outside Consulting and Other Commitments

Responsible University Officer(s):
  • Executive Vice President and Provost
Policy Owner(s):
  • Executive Vice President and Provost
Policy contact(s):
  • Ole Gram
Date Revised:
Dec 9, 2019
Effective Date:
Jul 1, 2006

Policy Statement

University employees may participate in commitments with external entities (outside commitments) during the term of their appointment, as long as the outside commitment does not present a conflict of commitment.  Conflicts of commitment arise if the activity:

  • interferes with the performance of regular employment;
  • competes with coursework offered by the University; or
  • competes with services offered by the employee’s unit.

Non-US citizens are responsible for ensuring that they have the necessary work authorization to engage in outside consulting.

Restrictions

The following restrictions apply to employee participation, regardless of classification, in outside commitments. Employees:

  • may not use University personnel or students, equipment or supplies, or services for outside commitments in a way that materially depletes University resources without prior approval and payment of a reasonable fee to the University. Prior approval and agreement for payment terms must be obtained from the employee's unit head and dean, or for administrative units, the senior administrative officer or designee;
  • may not use the University name, marks, or logos for advertising purposes;
  • may not use the official stationery of the University, or use any University building name or department name as a consulting business address when participating in outside commitments;
  • may identify their University employee status when rendering service to an organization outside the University, but may not speak, act, or make representations on behalf of the University, nor may they express institutional endorsement in relation to the outside activity;
  • may not, unless an exception is approved, receive personal remuneration or equity from a company while serving as an investigator on a human participant study requiring University Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval and oversight that is sponsored by that company, or involves the development or evaluation of that company’s product, device, or other technology. See Administrative Policy: Individual Conflict of Interest and Standards Governing Relationships with Business Entities.

Professional commitments related to the normal course of University work

Professional commitments (listed below), when they are related to the normal course of work as an employee, may be performed during work hours.  For faculty and P&A with appointments of 75% or greater, these professional activities do not count towards the time maximums listed below.

  • Preparing scholarly or artistic works;
  • Peer review of articles and grant proposals;
  • Attendance and presentations at professional meetings (and other similar gatherings);
  • Serving on advisory committees or evaluation panels for governmental agencies, accredited, non-profit institutions of higher education in the U.S. (see definition) or nonprofit entities organized solely for educational, religious, philanthropic, or research purposes (with the exception of nonprofit entities created by for-profit corporations);
  • Giving occasional lectures and speeches, participation in colloquia, symposia, site visits, study sections, and similar gatherings sponsored by governmental agencies, accredited, non-profit institutions of higher education in the U.S. (see definition) or nonprofit entities organized solely for educational, religious, philanthropic, or research purposes (with the exception of nonprofit entities created by for-profit corporations);
  • Ad hoc refereeing of manuscripts.

The following activities are considered University responsibilities and therefore also are excluded from the scope of this policy:

  • working on projects supported by grant or contract funds awarded to the University and accepted by the Board of Regents;
  • participating in private practice plans that are part of the scope of Board of Regents policies on private practice plans; and
  • teaching extension courses offered by the University.

Civil Service and Non-Faculty Union-Represented Employees

Civil service and non-faculty union-represented employees may participate in outside commitments, including professional commitments, only during non-work hours, unless the activity is approved by a supervisor and is related to the employee’s normal course of work and furthers the mission of the unit. (The remaining requirements associated with this policy will not apply to civil service and non-faculty union-represented employees.)

Faculty and Academic Professional and Administrative

Faculty and P&A employees may participate in outside professional commitments provided that these commitments do not interfere with the performance of regular employment duties, or compete with coursework offered by the University or services offered by the employee's unit during the term of their employment, and further the mission of the University.

  • Faculty and P&A employees on appointments of 75% or more are eligible to engage in outside consulting and other outside professional commitments, so long as the professional commitment does not exceed, on the average, one day per seven-day week (see term of appointment maximums).
  • Faculty and P&A employees who hold appointments of less than 75% may participate in outside professional commitments only during non-work hours. No time restrictions apply to these individuals during non-work hours.
  • Individuals with part-time teaching appointments (less than 75%), excluding tenured and tenure-track faculty, may teach outside the University.

Maximum for Faculty and P&A Employees with Appointments of 75% or Greater

Faculty and P&A employees with appointments of 75% or greater, may not exceed the maximum number of days per term of appointment:

  • 12-month appointment: 48 days
  • 9-11 month appointment: 39 days. (Employees in these appointments are not subject to this time restriction during the months they are not on appointment, regardless of whether they elect to be paid over 9 months or 12 months.)

    Effort below 100% may allow an individual to consult for additional days (see service effort calculation in the section Maximum for Faculty and P&A Employees with Summer Appointments).

Maximum for Faculty and P&A Employees with Summer Appointments

Faculty and P&A employees on 9-11 month academic year appointments with summer service appointments of 100% may not exceed the maximum number of days during the appointment period:

  • One day per seven-day week during the summer service period in which a faculty member receives additional University compensation from teaching, sponsored research contracts, or other sources. Individuals on sponsored research contracts must ensure that the terms of the sponsor contract permits time for outside consulting.  Effort below 100% during the summer may allow an individual to consult for additional days. For accounting purposes, a percentage reduction of service effort for an appointment during the summer will be calculated on the basis of a five-day work week (e.g. an individual on an 80% appointment may consult for up to two days per week with prior approval). The 39 day maximum for the regular appointment year is separate and should not be averaged into the summer service appointment period. Individuals holding 9-11 month academic year appointments are not subject to time restrictions during summer periods in which they do not hold summer appointments.

Summer Camps and Clinics

Athletics Department staff may conduct summer camps and clinics as such activities are commonly understood. The use of the name of the University or any title which would imply University endorsement or sponsorship (e.g., "Gopher" or "Bulldogs") is specifically prohibited unless the camp or clinic is developed and operated as a University-sponsored program or the camp or clinic is held in a campus facility and the athletics director gives written permission for the use of specific identifying terms. The athletics director may impose additional limitations or conditions on any grant of permission. Athletics Department staff must comply with the time restrictions of this policy in the conduct of any private camps or clinics. All camps and clinics are subject to the provisions of the Athletics Department document: "Use of University Facilities for Camps and Clinics."

Reporting and Approvals for Outside Professional Commitments

The privilege to engage in outside professional commitments for more than one day per month requires prior approval. Faculty and P&A employees with appointments of 75% or greater must obtain prior approval when the number of anticipated consulting days, when aggregated, exceeds the threshold of an average of one day a month per term of appointment. (e.g., 12 days for a 12 month appointment, 9 days for a 9-11 month appointment, as specified in the administrative procedure.) 

Employees must complete a Request for Consultant or Outside Service Agreement (ROC) form to obtain the required approval.

Faculty or P&A engaged in outside professional commitments must take the action(s) specified below when the aggregated number of days exceeds a threshold specified below.

Aggregated Number of Days Engaged in Allowable* Outside Professional Commitments for One Calendar Year Requires Prior Approval via Completion of a Request for Consultant or Outside Service Agreement (ROC) form Requires Annual Reporting via a Report of External Professional Activities (REPA) form
0 - 3 days No No
4 - 12 days (12 month appointment)
4 - 9 days (9-11 month appointment)
No Yes
13 - 48 days (12 month appointment) 10 - 39 days (9-11 month appointment) Yes Yes

*Allowable activities are those that do not interfere with the performance of employment duties, compete with coursework offered by the University, or compete with services offered by the employee's unit.

** The number of days will vary for appointments than are greater than 75% time, but not an appointment term of 9-11 months or 12 months.

Authorship Disclosure

Individuals are expected to disclose the nature of a consulting relationship if the individual qualified for authorship of a resulting research publication during the course of the outside professional commitment. Such disclosure will typically appear in an authorship note or the acknowledgment section of a publication, e.g.: “During initial phases of this work, Professor NAME received compensation as a consultant to COMPANY.”

Written Consulting Agreements

Employees who plan to provide compensated consulting services  for one year or longer relating to their University expertise and responsibilities should enter into a signed, written agreement with the business entity prior to providing the consulting services. The written agreement should:

  • state the timeframe covered by the agreement;
  • describe the services and any deliverables to be provided by the employee;
  • state the amount of compensation and expenses to be paid; and
  • make clear that the employee is acting solely in his or her individual capacity and not on behalf of the University.
  • Compensation should fall within fair market value parameters for the services provided.
  • Payment of travel, food, and lodging expenses should be consistent with the standards set forth in Administrative Policy: Traveling on University Business.

Policy Violations

Violations of this policy include, but are not limited to: failing to request prior approval when the approval threshold has been met or exceeded; engaging in an activity that creates a conflict of commitment; or non-compliance with any of the restrictions stated above. Violations may result in denial of approval for consulting activities and also may be the basis for employee discipline, up to and including termination, depending on the nature and circumstances of the violation. Any discipline imposed will follow the applicable Board of Regents and administrative policies and procedures for the individual’s employment classification.

Reason for Policy

This policy implements Board of Regents Policy: Outside Consulting and Other Commitments. This policy provides specifics on outside professional commitment thresholds, time limitations, reporting requirements, and their relationship to Board of Regents Policy: Individual Conflicts of Interest.

Full-time faculty and full-time academic professional and administrative (P&A) employees are compensated for full-time professional effort for the University. However, outside professional commitments can be positive contributors to fulfilling University responsibilities. The University recognizes that, through consulting and other relationships with government, industry, not-for-profit organizations, and others outside the University, its employees can make valuable contributions off campus while enhancing their expertise in their discipline.

Procedures

Forms/Instructions

Appendices

Frequently Asked Questions

Contacts

SubjectContactPhoneEmail
Primary Contact(s) Ole Gram 612-624-5082 gram@umn.edu
Request for Consulting Forms EGMS Helpline 612-624-1600
Sponsored Projects Kevin McKoskey 612-624-5066
Conflict of Interest Program Jon Guden 612-626-4727 jguden@umn.edu

Definitions

Appointment Type
The condition attached to the appointment.
Business Entity
Any corporation, partnership, sole proprietorship, firm, franchise, association, organization, holding company, joint stock company, receivership, business or real estate trust, or any other non-governmental legal entity organized for profit, nonprofit, or charitable purposes. 
Day
For this policy only, in order to calculate allowable consulting days, the length of a day is considered the length of an employee's normal working day, up to ten hours. However if the entity the individual is consulting with defines "day" differently, the individual must use that definition (e.g., in its consulting agreements, the Veteran's Administration defines a day as 8 hours).
Full-time
Considered an appointment of 75% -100%, consistent with eligibility for human resources benefits. 
Institution of Higher Education
A public or nonprofit educational institution in the United States that is accredited or pre-accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency or association, and provides a post-secondary program of education for which the institution awards a bachelor's degree or provides not less than a 2-year program that is acceptable for full credit toward a bachelor's degree.
Outside Commitment
Outside consulting or other activities performed on behalf of an external entity, paid or unpaid, that are beyond the scope of the individual's University employment responsibilities.
Outside Consulting
An outside commitment that is paid professional service intended to further the interests of an external entity, regardless of whether such services are provided as an employee of the outside party, an independent contractor, a business owner, or as a director or manager.
Outside Professional Commitment
An outside commitment performed on behalf of an external entity that utilizes the same professional expertise that the individual employs in their University responsibilities.
Professional and Administrative Employee
Employees classified within the 93xx, 96xx, and 97xx job codes and title series
Report of External Professional Activities (REPA)
The form in the Electronic Grants Management System (EGMS) used by covered individuals to report external professional commitments and financial and business interests at least annually.
Request for Consultant or Outside Service Agreement (ROC)
The form in the Electronic Grants Management System (EGMS) used by covered individuals to request approval for consulting and other outside commitments.
Term of Appointment
The duration of an individual's University employment contract (e.g. the term of appointment for a 9 month appointee is nine months; for a 12 month appointee, the term is twelve months.)
Unit Head
The department, unit, or division executive officer, as appropriate.

Responsibilities

Faculty and Professional and Administrative (P&A) Employees
Be familiar with and comply with all aspects of this policy.
Unit Head or Associate Athletics Director
Review ROC requests. Approve or deny requests for approval of outside professional commitments. Ensure employee compliance with this policy. Act on requests for use of University resources for outside professional commitments. Refer any outside professional commitment request that may appear to create a conflict of interest to the Conflict of Interest Program for review as needed. (See Board of Regents Policy: Individual Conflicts of Interest.) Review the related information reported annually on a REPA.
Chief of Staff to the President
Review and act on appeals of denied consulting requests from intercollegiate athletic staff.
Chancellor, Vice President, Dean, or Athletics Director
May review unit head's action on outside professional commitments requests on an as needed basis and in connection with such reviews, may approve or deny the request. Review a direct report’s outside professional commitments. Refer any outside professional commitment request that may appear to create a conflict of interest to the Conflict of Interest Program for review as needed. (See Board of Regents Policy:Individual Conflicts of Interest.) Act on requests for use of University resources for outside professional commitments.
Executive Vice President and Provost
Review and approve or deny requests for special exemptions from the policy. Review and act on appeals of denied consulting requests for faculty and P&A employees. Review the outside professional commitment requests of deans and other direct reports and approve or deny them.

Related Information

Board of Regents Policies

Administrative Policies

History

Amended:
November 2019 – Comprehensive Review, Major Revision: Moves details related to Summer Camps and Clinics from an associated procedure to this policy, and eliminates procedure: Outside Consulting and Other Commitments by Intercollegiate Athletic Staff; Includes a new section on maximums for faculty and P&A on summer appointments; Addresses requirement for authorship disclosure.
Amended:
February 2012 - Comprehensive Review, Major Revision: Aligns the administrative policy with Board of Regents Policy: Outside Consulting and Other Commitments, by adding language to explicitly include civil service and union-represented employees; Transfers the reporting exclusions text into the policy, from the procedures; Incorporates the conflict of interest requirement to have a formal consulting agreement in place when the individual is engaged in one or more of the higher risk activities (e.g., clinical health care.); Addresses policy violations consistent with the conflict of interest policy.
Effective:
July 2006

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