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Faculty Handbook: Conflict of Commitment

Policy Statement

By accepting appointments for full-time service, faculty members agree that their primary professional responsibility is to the University and that obligations to Marywood University will assume priority in their professional lives. 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 the Faculty may engage in non-University employment, consulting for not more that one day a week, or professional practice insofar as such activity does not impede, diminish, or conflict with, the faculty member's responsibilities to the University and to its students. The annual Faculty Activity Report must include these activities.

Certain activities, such as those that involve business transactions either both with the University or in competition with the University, constitute an inherent conflict of interest and are not permitted. Other outside activities, whether remunerated or not, may interfere with faculty responsibilities through disproportionate commitment of professional effort devoted to such activities. Full-time employment elsewhere is not permitted under any circumstances.

When the extent or nature of the outside activity is such that a conflict of commitment may exist, before engaging in the activity the faculty member must annually request in writing the permission for the activity from the appropriate administrator, i.e., the Dean of the College, School, or the Director of the Library. The written request to the Dean or Director 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. In addition, a faculty member must annually report in writing to the appropriate administrator the extent or nature of ongoing outside 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 administrator may consult informally with the faculty member to determine if a written request for permission is required.

The administrator will review the materials submitted and determine if such outside activity constitutes a conflict of commitment. If such data are available, a critical factor in this deliberation will be the faculty member's current and past levels of performance at the university (e.g., as demonstrated on Faculty Activity Reports) relative to previous outside commitments. If it is determined that no conflict exists, the administrator will sign the faculty member's written request indicating approval of the outside activity. If the determination is that a conflict exists and the request to undertake the outside activity is denied, the administrator and the faculty member may have a meeting to discuss a modification of such activity.

2/18/11 Revision approved by the President of the University as recommended by the Policy Committee of the University


Mary T. Gardier Paterson, Esquire | Secretary of the University | paterson@marywood.edu