Conflict of Commitment Policy

The IU Board of Trustees, in concert with the University Faculty Council, has approved an expanded version of the Conflict of Commitment policy for academic appointees at Indiana University. The policy requires all academic appointees, both full-time and part-time, to disclose to the dean or director of their unit any activities that may represent a conflict of commitment. The full text of the policy can be found below.

You should report any potential conflict of commitment in writing to your dean or director as soon as it arises. The dean or director will review it and work with you to determine if there is an actual conflict of commitment and if so, what steps should be taken to manage or eliminate it. The agreement you reach with your dean or director must also be documented in writing. If you and your dean or director cannot agree, you may seek additional advice from the vice chancellor for academic affairs.

Please note that this requirement is not the same as the requirement for you to file a form regarding financial conflicts of interest. That form must be filed by every faculty member each year, even if there is no financial conflict of interest.

Policy on Conflicts of Commitment Involving Outside Professional Activities

(By Action of the University Faculty Council: November 29, 2005; Amended March 28, 2006)

  1. Rationale
    All Academic Appointees are required to fully meet the professional obligations of their appointments. Full-time Academic Appointees are expected to devote their primary professional time and energy to carrying out teaching, research, and service responsibilities on behalf of Indiana University. Academic appointees should avoid conflicts of commitment, which arise either when an appointee undertakes outside professional activities that interfere with fulfilling the obligations of his or her academic appointment, or when an appointee undertakes, on behalf of another organization, activities that would ordinarily be performed on behalf of Indiana University.

    This policy supplements existing University and campus policies that also apply to faculty work; applicable University policies are outlined in Appendix A. Consistent with the provisions of this University policy, each campus will establish its own procedures for implementation.

  2. Policy
    1. Academic Appointees may engage in Outside Professional Activities, provided that these activities do not constitute a Conflict of Commitment and comply with all other applicable University policies (see Appendix A).
    2. Full-time tenure-track faculty shall be permitted to spend, on average, one non-weekend day each week during the period of appointment, not including official university holidays, on Outside Professional Activities.
    3. Academic Appointees shall not use University resources in the performance of Outside Professional Activities without the written permission of their dean or unit head and without compensating the University. Where resource usage is de minimis and the cost difficult or impossible to calculate, such use of University resources shall not require reimbursement.
    4. An Academic Appointee's compliance with this policy shall not be determined on the basis of income earned from Outside Professional Activities or the percentage of the appointees' University compensation that such income constitutes, unless required by law.
  3. Examples of possible Conflicts of Commitment that must be disclosed
    1. An outside professional activity that may substantially reduce the time available for the appointee to carry out the primary obligations of his or her appointment.
    2. Teaching for another educational institution, including online teaching.
    3. Undertaking externally funded research activities where the financial sponsorship is managed entirely outside Indiana University.
    4. Undertaking activities that compete, or have the potential to compete, with Indiana University in areas that are part of the appointee's University Responsibilities
  4. Implementation
    All Academic Appointees at Indiana University must disclose, to their dean or unit head, activities that may represent a Conflict of Commitment.

    All disclosure statements are to be submitted in writing to the appropriate dean or unit head. The dean/unit head or his/her designee will review submitted disclosure statements within 30 days and will work with the Academic Appointees to determine if a Conflict of Commitment exists and if so, what steps must be taken to eliminate or properly manage that conflict. Administrative decisions will be documented in writing. If the dean/unit head and Academic Appointee disagree, they may seek additional advice regarding the proposed activity from the campus Dean of the Faculties. Appeals from administrative decisions concerning conflicts of commitment are subject to applicable University policies and procedures.

  5. Compliance
    Instances of deliberate breach of policy, including failure to file or knowingly filing an incomplete, erroneous, or misleading disclosure, or failure to comply with prescribed procedures for managing an identified conflict of commitment, will be adjudicated in accordance with the Code of Academic Ethics and applicable misconduct policies and procedures at the appropriate campus of Indiana University.

  6. Application
    This policy shall apply to all Academic Appointees, both full-time and part-time. The potential for conflicts of commitment is likely to rise in proportion to the particular commitment that exists between an individual Academic Appointee and the University. For example, the kinds of external activities likely to compete with a full-time appointee's primary duties may not apply to part-time appointees. Accordingly, this policy defines in a consistent manner the types of situations that could pose conflicts and that should be reported. The evaluation of potential conflicts will take into account the particular facts of individual situations, including the nature of the relationship that the University and the Academic Appointee have with each other.

  7. Definitions
    A Conflict of Commitment arises when an Outside Professional Activity interferes with an Academic Appointee's performance of University Responsibilities.

    Academic Appointee refers to any person who has either a full- or part-time academic appointment in the University.

    University Responsibilities refers to the responsibilities of an Academic Appointee to perform University Activities as defined by University policy (or in a contract).

    University Activities refers to activities related to the research, teaching, and service mission of the University. Service activities include service to the appointee's profession and service to the community that is related to the appointees' professional qualifications.

    Outside Professional Activities refers to external activities within the scope of the appointee's professional qualifications that are not undertaken in fulfillment of the University Responsibilities of an Academic Appointee, but which enhance the performance of those responsibilities.

    Indiana University or University refers to Indiana University and to any foundation associated with Indiana University.

Approved by IU Trustees April 7, 2006

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