Wichita State University encourages its employees to interact with business, industry, public and private foundations and other government agencies in a personally and professionally responsible manner while at all times upholding the integrity and reputation of the University. The purpose of this policy is to implement, consistent with the Kansas Board of Regents (“Regents”) policy, standards, expectations and requirements related to conflict of interest and conflict of time commitment that may arise in the course of one’s employment. University employees should be mindful that their outside personal and professional activities may intersect with their University activities and responsibilities. This activity need not always be avoided, but rather disclosed, reviewed, managed and monitored on a continuing case by case basis to ensure and/or minimize conflicts of time commitment and conflicts of interest.
This University policy supplements the Regents Policy on Conflict of Time Commitment, Conflict of Interest, Consulting, and Other Employment. This policy shall apply to all University employees with the exception of student employees and graduate assistants, as that term is defined in Chapter 8.04, Graduate Assistantships.
Annual ReportingEmployees must annually report to the University whether or not they or members of their immediate family (spouse and dependent children), personal household, or associate entities (e.g., corporations, partnerships or trusts in which they have a significant interest) have (or may appear to have) consulting arrangements, significant financial or managerial interests, or other employment in an outside entity (“external activities”). For purposes of this policy, the term “significant financial or managerial interests” is defined as all holdings greater than $5,000 or more than 5% ownership. Included in this annual reporting is disclosure of any interests that could reasonably appear to be affected by the employee’s research or other university activity.
Online ReportingReporting procedures developed at Wichita State University reflect Regents policy requirements. Required reporting information has been consolidated into an online training and reporting program, which can be found in the “Employee Required Training” section of myWSU.
Ongoing Duty to Report
In addition to annual reporting, employees must disclose any current or prospective situations that may raise questions of conflict of time commitment or conflict of interest as soon as such situations become known in the same manner as annual reports.
Federal Reporting Requirements
The University is required to adhere to and implement any additional policies and procedures and disclosure requirements that are imposed by applicable federal conflict of interest laws. For additional information on federal conflicts of interest, see Chapter 9.22, Disclosure of Financial Conflicts of Interest for Public Health Service Supported Investigators. For specific federal regulations, see the links below under “External Policies and Regulations.”
Conflict of Time Commitment
- A conflict of time commitment may exist when an employee’s external activities, performed with or without pay, involve a commitment of time that may compete, or appear to compete with the employee’s obligations to the University.
- Employees should maintain a presence on campus and expend a commitment of time commensurate with their appointments or position requirements. The specific responsibilities, position requirements, employment obligations, and professional activities that constitute an appropriate and primary commitment of time will differ across schools and departments. It is incumbent upon employees to know the expectations of their position.
Conflicts of Interest
- A conflict of interest exists when an employee’s external activities create, might reasonably create, or appear to create an inability of the employee to perform his or her University duties. An actual, potential or perceived conflict of interest depends on the situation and not necessarily on the character or actions of the employee. A conflict of interest may exist even if no improper acts result from it.
- Except in purely incidental and minor ways, University resources, including but not limited to facilities, materials, personnel, or equipment shall not be used in external activities unless prior written approval has been received from the University President (or designee). Such permission shall be granted only when the use of University resources is determined to further the mission of the University. When such permission is granted, the employee shall make arrangements to reimburse the University for institutional materials, facilities or services used in the external activity and reimburse the University no later than the end of the calendar year in which they are used.
- Proprietary or other information confidential to the University shall not be used in external activities unless prior written approval has been received from the University President (or designee).
- Employees shall not involve University students or any other employee in their external activities if such involvement is in any way coerced or conflicts with the involved participants’ required commitment of time to the University.
Consulting and Other Employment
Consulting for Other State of Kansas AgenciesEmployees seeking to consult for other State of Kansas agencies (including other Regents institutions) must obtain the written approval of both the external agency/institution and the University by and through their respective Vice President (or designee). The University will make payment through the regular process and shall receive reimbursement through the inter-fund transfer process.
Consulting Outside the University
Employees are encouraged to engage in a limited amount of external consulting activity, provided such activity:
- Further develops the employee in a professional sense, or serves the greater good in a professional capacity;
- Does not interfere with the employee’s job duties, teaching, research or service to the University; and
- Is consistent with University objectives.
Absent prior written approval from the employee's respective Vice President (or designee), no employee shall have significant outside managerial responsibilities, nor act as principal investigator on sponsored projects that could be conducted at the University but are instead submitted and managed through another organization.
Other EmploymentThe University expects all employees to give full professional effort to their university duties and assignments. An employee cannot engage in gainful employment outside the University that is incompatible with his or her institutional commitments. Nor can an employee transact business for personal gain unrelated to the University from his or her university office, or at times when it might interfere with commitments to the University. While participation in academic conferences, workshops and seminars does not usually constitute consulting or outside employment, organizing, operating or participating in such meetings for profit may be construed by the University as consulting and/or outside employment.
Student Employment with Companies Owned or Controlled by a University Employee
University employees must disclose all potential conflicts of interest involving University students who are employed by a company in which the University employee (or his/her spouse or household member) has an ownership interest and any one of the following exist:
- The student is enrolled in a course taught by the University employee,
- The University employee is a member of the student's thesis or dissertation committee,
- The University employee is the student's advisor or the director of the student’s thesis or dissertation research, or
- The University employee and student have any professional or educational interaction.
The University employee must make every effort to disclose this potential conflict to their respective Vice President (or designee) prior to the student’s employment.
Prior Approval for Consulting Activities and Employment Outside the UniversityEmployees shall inform their respective Vice President (or designee) of all consulting activities and employment outside the university for which the employee is compensated. The employee shall report in writing the proposed arrangements, and secure written approval prior to engaging in the consulting activities or other employment. The report shall indicate the extent and nature of the consulting activities or employment, the amount of time to be spent, including travel time, and the amount of time to be spent or expected to be spent on all such outside consulting activities or employment during the coming academic year.
Approval and Administration Responsibilities
The employee, his or her immediate supervisor, and the Research Compliance Office together shall have primary responsibility for identifying and managing conflicts of interest and conflicts of time commitment based upon employee reporting. Included in this process must be the determination as to whether the conflict(s) can be managed, a decision that must be made by the immediate supervisor. If there is a determination that the conflict(s) can be managed, the employee, his or her immediate supervisor, the Research Compliance Office and the Office of General Counsel shall draft the management plan, which must be approved by the employee’s respective Vice President prior to implementation. Once in place, the Research Compliance Office will be responsible for monitoring the management plans, with input from the employee’s immediate supervisor and the Office of General Counsel, when necessary.
In the event that agreement is not reached by all parties concerned with the management of a case of conflict or apparent conflict, the aggrieved party(ies) may pursue an appeal with the University Conflict of Interest Review Committee.
Use of University Name
The name of the University may never be used as an endorsement of an employee's external activities without expressed and advance written approval of the University President (or designee). Employees may list their institutional affiliation in professional books, articles, and monographs they author or edit and in connection with professional workshops they conduct or presentations they make without securing approval.
University Training and Resources to Avoid and Manage Conflicts of Interest
Employees involved in sponsored research must complete conflict of interest training no less than every four (4) years. The University provides online training that may be accessed by clicking on the CITI Program link in the following paragraph.
Any employee who believes he or she may encounter an actual or potential conflict he or she is encouraged to participate in conflict of interest training offered by the University no less than every four (4) years. More information regarding this training can be located at CITI Program and on the Research Compliance webpage.
Related Policies and Resources
Related WSU Policies
- Section 3.16 / Employment of Relatives
- Section 9.22 / Disclosure of Financial Conflicts of Interest for Public Health Service Supported Investigators
External Policies and Regulations
- Kansas Board of Regents Board Policy Manual
- National Institutes of Health Financial Conflict of Interest
- National Institutes of Health Research Integrity
- National Science Foundation Conflicts of Interest
- State of Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission
- Federal Contracting Requirements Related to Organizational Conflicts of Interest, See generally 48 CFR 1352.209-74 and FAR Subpart 9.5
All required disclosures made under this policy (e.g., annual reports, ongoing reports, Management Plans, etc.) must be maintained for a minimum of three (3) years following the latter of: 1) the disclosure of an actual or perceived conflict of interest; 2) determination by the Research Compliance Office that the conflict of interest no longer exists; or 3) the conclusion of the grant, contract, work or project that mandates conflict of interest disclosure.
Failure to Comply
Failure to comply with this policy may result in disciplinary or other necessary action to ensure compliance. Employees involved in sponsored research may be denied the opportunity to submit research proposals to external funding agencies.