Outside Consulting and Other Commitments
Frequently Asked Questions
- Which activities may give rise to a conflict of commitment?
Individuals should complete a ROC form in anticipation of outside commitments that are not noted as exempt in the policy.
- My activities outside the University are entirely unrelated to my work and/or professional expertise. Do I need to report it?
There are many activities unrelated to your University work or professional expertise that are unlikely to give rise to a conflict of commitment or a conflict of interest. For example, volunteer work or commitments entirely unrelated to your work/expertise or to services provided elsewhere by the University typically will not need ROC approval. If in doubt, please consult with your chair/head/supervisor.
- I have been asked to engage in an outside commitment that involves an activity that is not listed as exempt, but I don’t believe it represents an individual conflict of commitment to the University. Must I submit a ROC?
The purpose of the ROC is to ensure that outside activity that may give rise to a conflict of commitment or a conflict of interest are reviewed by unit supervisors and a responsible administrator. It may be determined that the proposed activity does not represent a potential for a conflict of commitment.
- My outside engagement is already reported and managed through a conflict management plan, do I need to submit a ROC?
If a management plan is already in place, it is not necessary to submit a ROC.
- I do service as an associate editor and the journal pays for my travel and lodging expenses. Is that considered compensated work?
No, travel, lodging, per diem expenses are not considered compensation as long as they are at a reasonable market rate.
- My outside commitment is only for a few days per year and will occur on weekends. Must I complete a ROC form?
While the total number of hours of an outside commitment is an indication of the degree to which it may represent the potential for a conflict of commitment, the University must also ensure that the nature of commitment does not give rise to a conflict. It does not matter whether an activity takes place in the evening, on weekends, or during holidays and vacations. Because units can reasonably expect that some employees will be available for assigned duties during normal business hours (e.g. P&As), individuals may be required to engage in approved outside activities on evenings and weekends or need to reduce their University appointment.
- Why are there questions on the form about non-US activities, teaching and research, intellectual property, and institutional affiliations?
These questions are intended to solicit information about activities that have a high potential to give rise to a conflict of commitment, an individual conflict of interest, or they relate to activities that may be prohibited by University or state or federal guidelines. The questions can help individuals and departments identify University resources and expertise that can mitigate risk to individuals and the institution as well as encourage the dissemination of University knowledge (e.g. technology commercialization and new federal funding agency guidelines regarding foreign influence disclosures; professional affiliations with outside entities).
Answering yes to any of these questions doesn't imply that these are prohibited activities, but rather that the activities may warrant further discussion between the requester, supervisor, and relevant compliance offices.