Fayetteville Policies and Procedures 404.0
Disclosure and Management of Potential Conflicts of Interest and/or Commitment, including Outside Activity
Table of Contents
Prior Approval of Outside Employment; Submission of Form
Disclosure of Potential Conflict of Interest and Commitment; Submission of Form
Review of Disclosures
Disclosure of Employee and Family Businesses
Expedited Review of Disclosures
Appeal of Review Decisions
Summer Employment for 9-Month Faculty
Appointments at Other Institutions
Externally Reimbursed Travel
Start-up Company Sponsored Research
Management Roles in Outside Entities
Role in Student Advising
Involvement of Staff in Outside Activities
Intellectual Property and Consulting
Assignment of Instructor’s Course Materials
Contracting with Employees and Family Members
Appointments with Other Academic Institutions
Nepotism and Related Conflicts of Interest
Personal Relationships that May Involve Conflicts of Interest
Gifts to University Employees
Statement of Financial Interest
Reporting Extra Income
Disclosure of Benefit Received from State Contract
State Contracts Generally
Contracts Involving Patents, Copyrights or other Proprietary Information
Appendix A: Related Laws and Policies
Appendix B: Prior Approval and Management of Outside Employment
Appendix C: Annual Report on Outside Employment of Faculty/Administrative Staff Members
Appendix D: Disclosure and Management of Potential Conflicts of Interest and/or Commitment
Appendix E: Conflict Management Plan Template
Appendix F: Disclosure of Externally Reimbursed Travel
Appendix G: Annual Report of Extra Income In Excess of $500 (Public Agencies)
Conflict Management Plan (CMP)
A document detailing the steps that will be taken by the conflicted party to minimize or eliminate real or perceived conflicts of interest or commitment. A CMP must be created when an actual or potential conflict of interest or commitment is disclosed in order to ensure that an employee’s conflict is managed to protect the University’s interests as well as those of other faculty, staff, and students.
Conflict of Commitment (COC)
A conflict of commitment may arise when a University faculty or staff member’s time and effort given to outside activities and interests interferes or competes with that individual’s obligations and responsibilities to the University.
Conflict of Interest (COI)
A conflict of interest is a situation in which a faculty or staff member may have the opportunity to influence University administrative, business, or academic decisions in ways that could lead to personal gain, give improper advantage to self or others, or interfere with objective preservation, generation, or public dissemination of knowledge.
Externally Reimbursed Travel
Externally Reimbursed Travel is travel which is paid for either directly or by reimbursing the employee through a means other than the University’s Travel Claim.
Faculty Start-up Company
A faculty start-up company is a company in its initial phases of development with founders including at least one faculty member. Typically, founders initially support such companies financially as they search for additional funding from investors, loans, grants or other sources of capital. Faculty start-ups are unique in that they often seek to commercialize a product or service that resulted from technology developed by a faculty member while performing their University job duties. (Faculty interested in starting a company must comply with the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees (BOT) Policy 340.1, if applicable, before starting the company. Any license to or other agreements with the company shall comply with BOT Policy 210.1). The University recognizes and desires to encourage and stimulate the development of a high-tech economy and job growth in the State of Arkansas through faculty start-up companies, subject to the safeguards contained in this policy.
Financial Conflict of Interest (FCOI)
A financial conflict of interest may exist when a faculty or staff member receives or has the potential to receive compensation (whether directly or indirectly) from an outside entity or holds an equity position (or any other form of controlling or ownership interest) in a company that may influence university administrative, business, or academic decisions in ways that could lead to personal gain, give improper advantage to self or others, or interfere with the objective preservation, generation, and/or dissemination of knowledge. Financial conflicts of interest include significant financial interests that could directly and significantly affect the design, conduct, or reporting for U.S. Public Health Service (PHS)-funded research.
A financial interest means anything of monetary value, whether or not the value is readily ascertainable.
A foreign entity is a business, government or government agency, institution, non-governmental organization, talent recruitment or similar program, or other entity created under the laws of, headquartered, or located outside the United States or supported by funds from outside the U.S. Certain affiliations, scientific research collaborations in connection with federally funded projects, support or funding from foreign entities or persons may create conflicts of interest or federal research reporting issues, or may be regulated under state law, and are required to be disclosed.
Immediate Family Member
An immediate family member shall include those defined as a relative (see below) and shall also include an employee’s domestic partner, a person with whom an employee is in a romantic relationship, children of an employee’s domestic partner, and relatives of an employee’s spouse or domestic partner.
Institutional responsibilities shall mean an individual’s professional responsibilities to the University, including, but not limited to, research, research consultation, teaching, professional practice, administrative responsibilities, committee memberships, and service on professional review panels or advisory boards.
Personal Relationships that May Involve Conflicts of Interest
A personal relationship that may involve conflicts of interest refers to any relationship, whether past or present, which is romantic, physically intimate, or sexual in nature, and to which both parties consent or consented, including marriage. In the case of past relationships, they should be disclosed and addressed if a current contractual and/or financial relationship continues to exist.
A relative is defined as a spouse, parent, sibling, stepparent, stepsibling, in-law, half-sibling, child, stepchild, uncle, aunt, first cousin, nephew, or niece.
Significant Financial Interest (SFI)
A significant financial interest consists of one or more of the following interests of the employee (and those of the employee’s spouse, domestic partner, parents, siblings, and dependent children) that reasonably appears to be related to the employee’s institutional responsibilities:
- With regard to any publicly traded entity, a significant financial interest exists
if salary and other payments received from the entity in the past twelve months and
the value of any equity interest in the entity, when aggregated, exceeds $5,000.
- Payments include, but are not limited to, consulting fees, honoraria, and paid authorship;
- Equity interests include, but are not limited to, any stock, stock option, or other ownership interest, as determined through reference to public prices or other reasonable measures of fair market value.
- With regard to any non-publicly traded entity, a significant financial interest exists
- The salary and other payments received from the entity (whether directly or indirectly) in the past twelve months, when aggregated, exceed $5,000, or
- 2. When any equity or ownership interest exists;
- Receipt of income related to intellectual property rights and interests (e.g. patents, copyrights);
- Externally reimbursed travel; or
- Service as senior executive or board member of an entity, regardless of current value or compensation received, if there is a potential for future compensation or equity.
- Significant Financial Relationships with Other Employees (e.g., rental agreement, business co-ownership, etc. that in the past twelve months, when aggregated, exceeds $5000).
- With regard to any publicly traded entity, a significant financial interest exists if salary and other payments received from the entity in the past twelve months and the value of any equity interest in the entity, when aggregated, exceeds $5,000.
Significant financial interests shall not include:
A. Salary, royalties, or other remuneration paid by the university, including intellectual property rights assigned by the university and agreements to share in royalties from such related rights;
B. Income from the following types of activities for a U.S. federal, state, or local government agency, an accredited institution of higher education in the U.S., or an academic teaching hospital, medical center, or research institute that is affiliated with an accredited institution of higher education in the U.S.:
1. Seminars, lectures, or teaching engagements; or
2. Service on advisory committees or review panels.
While not defined as significant financial interests, the types of activities described in B.1 and B.2 are subject to the general provisions of this policy regarding conflicts of interest and outside employment.
C. Income from investment vehicles, such as mutual funds and retirement accounts, as long as the employee does not directly control the investment decisions made in these vehicles.
It is the policy of the University of Arkansas to ensure that all University employees
perform the functions of their positions in an ethical manner and that employees of
the University abide by applicable law and policies governing ethical conduct and
contracting. The University of Arkansas Board of Trustees (BOT) Policies 330.1 and BOT 450.1 require each campus to establish policies and procedures governing conflict of interest,
conflict of commitment, and outside activity. This campus policy is designed to collect,
summarize, and provide guidance on a number of important University policies and legal
provisions concerning conflict of interest and commitment.
The University of Arkansas faculty and staff members owe their primary professional allegiance to the University, and their primary commitment of time and intellectual energies should be to the education, research, scholarship, and administration of programs relevant to the institution. Faculty and staff efforts to balance University responsibilities with external activities — such as consulting, public service or pro bono work — can result in real or perceived conflicts regarding allocation of time and priorities. University employees must be proactive in disclosing and addressing, if necessary, activities which may present a conflict of interest or commitment.
Activities in the service of the University’s land-grant mission and work that complements and builds upon faculty expertise is encouraged by the University. However, a conflict of interest may arise when a faculty or staff member is or may be in a position to influence the University’s business activity, externally or internally funded research, or other decisions in ways that could result in personal or professional gain for that individual, or for others closely associated with that individual. A conflict of commitment may arise when a faculty or staff member devotes time and energy to outside activities in a way that competes with the employee’s obligations to the University. BOT Policy 450.1 encourages the pursuit of extracurricular involvements that may affirmatively contribute to the professional advancement of University personnel or correlate usefully with their University work, while recognizing the potential for conflicts of interest and commitment and the need to manage such conflicts in a manner that best reflects the University’s interest. The failure to disclose situations that have the potential for or involve actual conflicts of interest or commitment may be unethical and/or illegal.
For all full-time faculty (both 9-month and 12-month) and fulltime, exempt staff, outside employment requires prior approval. In addition, situations that have the appearance of, potential for, or involve actual conflicts of interest or commitment must be disclosed at the time they arise. When a real or perceived conflict is allowed to exist, a conflict management plan (CMP) shall be written that defines procedures for managing the conflict. Covered activities must neither interfere in any substantial way with the employee’s university duties nor conflict with his or her university assignments.
This policy is subject to all applicable university, BOT and UA system policies and governing law.
This conflict of interest and commitment policy applies generally to all University of Arkansas, Fayetteville faculty and staff. Provisions in this policy also apply to the employee’s spouse and dependent children.
V. Disclosure of Potential Conflicts of Interest and/or Commitment
It is the responsibility of everyone covered under this policy to disclose annually to University officials any potential conflicts of interest and commitment, including, but not limited to, any SFIs, as defined in this policy (including sponsored or reimbursed travel), by submitting a fully completed Disclosure of Potential Conflict of Interest and Commitment form to appropriate University administrators via Workday.
In addition, each individual must, within thirty (30) days of discovering or acquiring (e.g., through marriage, purchase or inheritance) a new SFI or other potential conflict of interest or commitment, submit an updated Disclosure of Potential Conflict of Interest and Commitment form on Workday. Disclosures must be current any time a grant application or research protocol is submitted and must remain current throughout the duration of the research project.
Disclosure forms must also be completed on Workday by all new employees within the first two weeks of employment, and prior to participation in any funded research.
All employees shall receive an annual notice regarding this policy and a link to the location of the University’s conflict of interest disclosure and outside employment authorization forms on Workday. The forms shall be available throughout the year on Workday for employees who need to disclose any change in circumstances as those changes occur.
As necessary, the University shall have the right to address or review all potential conflicts of interest.
Pursuant to BOT Policy 450.1, outside employment must be approved in writing before full-time (30 hours or more
per week) university faculty and full time, exempt staff may undertake any such work.
Faculty members who engage in recurring employment that aligns with their university
appointment should obtain written approval from the department head and dean at the
start of the academic year, and anytime new opportunities arise. In cases where
it may not be possible to process formal prior approval using Appendix B due to
urgent and pressing time constraints, employees should provide notice via email or
similar method to their supervisors and obtain informal prior approval of any outside
employment; this must be followed up with formal approval process using Workday form
as soon as possible.
Potential conflicts of interest that may arise from consulting or other outside employment must be identified when submitting Appendix B, Approval and Management of Outside Employment on Workday. Specifically, employees seeking approval for outside employment must indicate if the proposed activity may constitute a possible conflict of interest. If so, then the employee must also complete the Appendix D, Disclosure and Management of Potential Conflicts of Interest and/or Commitment on Workday. Documentation such as a contract, letter, or other communication that specifies the nature and extent of the University employee's obligation and duties may be included as part of the disclosure. Faculty and staff engaging in outside employment must make clear that they are acting on their own behalf and are not acting as an agent or representative of the University.
Each dean or unit head shall keep records on outside employment by personnel in his/her college or administrative unit, as required by BOT Policy 450.1. Deans or unit heads must submit reports via Appendix C to the Provost by September 15 each year summarizing outside employment for compensation by their faculty and staff who have such employment. These reports will be submitted to the Chancellor by September 30 of each year.
The disclosure of potential conflicts of interest and/or commitment must be completed
and submitted upon hire, annually, and as needed throughout the year when new potential
conflicts arise, by all faculty and staff. The reporting structure provides a mechanism
for disclosing any relationships or activities that might give rise to conflicts,
or the appearance thereof, with assigned duties, responsibilities or obligations to
the university. Faculty considering the creation of start-up companies should disclose
their intentions prior to creating the entity.
All disclosures of potential conflict of interest and/or commitment must be reviewed
by the employee’s department level supervisor (Chair or Head) or designee, the Dean
or Unit Head or designee, and the Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation (VCRI)
or designee, considering whether an actual or potential conflict exists; the ramifications
for the university; and any remedial steps that may be necessary to manage or eliminate
conflicts. Disclosures involving issues of intellectual property are also reviewed
by the Vice Chancellor for Economic Development (VCED) or designee. Provost review
and approval is required for any full-time faculty engaging in teaching, conducting
research/creative activity, providing other compensated services or accepting any
other appointment at another institution. Provost review and approval is also required
when certain consensual relationships involving faculty members exist.
A reviewer may request additional information needed to understand the disclosures and/or conflict management plans and may determine that additional review is necessary or that conditions may be imposed for approval.
Notification of approval, including any steps necessary to manage the potential or actual conflict, or disapproval, shall be made to the employee and the employee’s unit. The Office of Research Intergrity and Compliance (RSIC) shall retain electronic copies of all submissions.
University officials shall, within sixty days, review a disclosure and determine whether a COI exists, and, if so, implement, on at least an interim basis, a management plan that shall specify the actions required to manage the conflict.
Any conflicts of interest associated with sponsored research must be reported to the Sponsor in accordance with federal regulations and/or sponsor policy by the University.
For sponsored research, if a COI is not identified or managed in a timely manner, the University shall, within 120 days of determination of noncompliance, conduct a retrospective review of the individual’s activities to determine whether such research was biased in design, conduct or reporting, and take such other steps as required by federal regulations and/or sponsor policy.
1. Department Level: The employee’s department level supervisor or designee shall review the disclosure to determine whether a) no conflict exists, b) a potential or actual conflict exists and therefore a management plan must be generated, or c) an actual conflict exists and the situation will not be allowed. After review by the department level supervisor, the form will be routed to the college or administrative level on Workday with his/her recommendation. If the supervisor is a party to the enterprise being disclosed, then the first review is at the college or administrative unit level.
The department level supervisor may choose to seek the advice of a departmental ad hoc review committee or personnel committee to assist in the evaluation.
2. College/Administrative Unit Level: The college dean or unit head or designee shall likewise review the employee’s disclosure
and provide a recommendation as to whether a) no conflict exists; b) a potential or
actual conflict exists and therefore a management plan must be generated; or c) an
actual conflict exists and the situation will not be allowed. The dean or unit head
or designee shall then route the recommendation and disclosure to RSIC.
A dean may choose to seek the advice of a college-constituted committee in reviewing disclosures.
3. University Level: RSIC shall route all disclosures to the Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation, or designee, for review and approval. Further, when a disclosure or proposed CMP involves issues of intellectual property, the disclosure and/or CMP will be routed to the Vice Chancellor for Economic Development or designee for review and approval. Finally, for any full-time faculty accepting an appointment at another institution, Provost review and approval is required.
When conflict disclosures or proposed CMPs pertain to intellectual property or pose novel or complex issues, or when the committee’s professional expertise would otherwise be beneficial to the evaluation of a disclosure or CMP, RSIC may refer the matter to the Conflict of Interest and Commitment Review Committee (CICRC). The CICRC shall review the matter(s) and recommend whether a conflict exists and remedies for resolving, reducing, or eliminating such conflicts. When appropriate, the CICRC shall invite the employee, department level supervisor, and college level supervisor to meet with the committee to review the case.
RSIC shall submit all disclosures of situations that involve transfer of technology to an organization in which the employee or the employee’s immediate family has equity or other ownership interest for review by the CICRC.
D. Disclosures of Employee and Family Businesses
Employee- and family-owned businesses which may seek to conduct business with the University must be disclosed to the University of Arkansas Business Affairs office (Section VII.I.). A copy of any disclosure form that identifies an employee- or family- owned business will be forwarded to the Office of Business Affairs to assist University procurement officials in monitoring transactions for any potential issues.
E. Expedited Review of Disclosures
For disclosure of conflicts that have been previously disclosed, an expedited review process may be used. Through an expedited review process, the Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation, or designee, may approve any CMP which has been previously approved, unless there are new circumstances disclosed that warrant review. For example, if the Conflict of Interest and Commitment Review Committee (CICRC) has previously approved a CMP, the VCRI could approve the CMP for another year without CICRC review. The employee or anyone in the review chain may request that a full review be conducted instead of an expedited review.
F. Appeal of Review Decisions
At each level of review, the employee disclosing a potential COI may appeal a disputed decision on the authorization or disclosure to the next level of supervision. The Chancellor, in consultation with the Provost or appropriate Vice Chancellor, as necessary, shall make the final decision on all appeals, including consideration of any recommendations from the CICRC.
G. Summer Employment for 9-month Faculty
Summer employment for 9-month faculty must be disclosed in advance through the COI disclosure process if the summer employment 1) involves teaching, research/creative activity, or an appointment with another institution; 2) pertains to university research as defined under BOT Policy 210.1; 3) otherwise relates to the faculty member’s expertise or responsibilities as a university employee; or 4) involves compensation or support from a foreign entity, or furnishing of research or services to a foreign entity.
H. Appointments at Other Institutions
The Provost’s approval of outside employment and/or the disclosure of a conflict of interest and/or commitment, as applicable, is required for all full-time faculty engaging in teaching, conducting research/creative activity, or accepting any other appointment at another institution, other than a courtesy, uncompensated adjunct appointment to serve on a dissertation committee.
When COI disclosures or proposed CMPs pertain to intellectual property or pose novel or complex issues or when the committee’s professional expertise would otherwise be beneficial in the evaluation of a disclosure or CMP, RSIC may refer it to the Conflict of Interest and Commitment Review Committee (CICRC). The Committee shall make a recommendation as to whether an actual or potential conflict exists, and, if so, whether the conflict should be allowed to exist or can be managed through a CMP.
If a CMP already exists, the VCRI or designee may through the expedited review process (see Section V.E.) review the CMP to determine if it is still appropriate for the conflict or if it needs to be revised. The VCRI may ask the CICRC to review any changes to the CMP.
A. CICRC Appointment
The Provost shall appoint tenured faculty to the CICRC based on recommendations from the deans of several colleges. Such appointments shall include one tenured faculty member each from the Dale Bumpers College of Agriculture, Food, and Life Sciences; the Sam M. Walton College of Business; the College of Education and Health Professions; the College of Engineering; the School of Law; and two tenured faculty members from the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences (one from social and natural sciences and one from fine arts and humanities). In addition, one faculty representative shall be appointed by the Faculty Senate, and one staff representative shall be appointed by the Staff Senate. Individual appointments shall be for three years. The Dean of the Graduate School shall recommend one graduate student to be appointed for one year. Ex-officio non-voting members to the CICRC shall include: VCRI (Chair), Vice Chancellor for Economic Development, Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration, and the Director of the Office of Research Compliance. General Counsel shall serve as legal advisors.
B. Guidelines and Responsibilities of the CICRC
Based on applicable University of Arkansas policies, the CICRC shall review all pertinent records, and may gather additional information orally or in writing as necessary. The CICRC shall provide the employee an opportunity to address the potential or actual conflict in person and in writing.
The CICRC Chair shall ensure that, within ten (10) working days of the conclusion of a review, or as soon as possible thereafter, a written report will be delivered to the faculty or staff member, the Department Chair, the Dean, or appropriate supervisors, , and the Provost. The report shall address whether a conflict exists and if so, whether the conflict can be managed through a CMP. This timeline may be extended by the CICRC or the VCRI, as deemed necessary and reasonable.
If the CICRC determines that a conflict warrants the creation of a CMP, the Chair will request that RSIC work with the employee, the department head and dean (or unit supervisor) to develop a plan that describes steps to be taken to manage, reduce, or eliminate any actual or potential conflict identified. The VCRI shall receive the plan within ten (10) working days of the request or as soon as practical thereafter.
In all situations, the Provost or appropriate Vice Chancellor, for non-research related disclosures, shall have the final decision regarding the recommendations of the CICRC, subject to appeal as outlined in Section V-F.
A CMP establishes all necessary measures to address and/or mitigate any potential
or actual conflicts of interest. The CMP may include, for example and without limitation,
provisions for student advising, hiring other employees, employee roles in start-up
companies, purchasing rules, intellectual property ownership, and facility use. Conditions
or restrictions in the CMP might include public disclosure of conflicts, such as when
presenting or publishing research, appointment of an independent monitor, modification
of the research plan, change of personnel or responsibilities, full or partial disqualification
of personnel, reduction or elimination of the financial interest, or severance of
relationships that create a conflict. Other provisions may be added to the CMP whenever
appropriate or as needed.
A CMP will be generated for each employee and each instance of potential, apparent, or actual conflict. For example, a faculty member involved in two different start-up companies would have a CMP for each company.
Each CMP should be reviewed annually, at a minimum. It should also be reviewed and revised, if necessary, if the potential conflict changes. The CMP will be terminated when the potential for a conflict is removed.
The CMP should cover all the following items, at a minimum:
1. An oversight structure for the activity at issue should be developed that is reasonable for the employee and University. The oversight structure should be approved by the College or similar unit and the VCRI or designee.
2. The target approval chains for cost centers associated with such projects will reflect the proposed oversight structure through the electronic protocols set up by the University. Through this protocol no purchase can be made without electronic approval. The only exceptions are purchases made 1) through blanket purchase orders, but the formation of these blanket purchase orders must also be approved by the proposed oversight structure and 2) use of a “P” card. All P card purchases must be reviewed for compliance with the CMP and the sponsored project budget.
3. The faculty member must use University travel funds solely to conduct University business. All travel for any outside entity must be paid for by that entity or with personal funds, and the time and effort issues related to such travel shall be coordinated with the department head and receive prior approval. Such travel shall be reported in accordance with Section VI.B. of this Policy.
4. The use of University facilities shall be only through a Sponsored Research Agreement, Facilities Use Agreement with the appropriate University entity, a lease agreement with the University of Arkansas Technology Development Foundation, or other agreements or measures approved by the University. The agreement shall provide for appropriate user fees for the use of any University equipment and/or facilities.
5. Unless otherwise allowed under University policies and procedures, no faculty member may have involvement in the final disposition of equipment from their research and education programs to an external entity in which they also have an interest, including, without limitation, surplusing, auctioning, selling or donating any such equipment.
6. Intellectual property interests (including any intellectual property developed pursuant to external consulting agreements) must be addressed consistent with the provisions of the University’s Patent and Copyright Policy, BOT Policy 210.1.
7. All reports or deliverables to be submitted to the sponsor must be reviewed and approved by the oversight structure described in the CMP, as applicable.
This section defines procedures and sets limitations on certain addresses areas of potential conflict of interest and/or commitment that are common to the academic setting. Note that such situations are not limited to those involving a financial interest. Furthermore, note that the variety of situations involving potential or actual conflicts of interest is significant. It is not feasible, therefore, to delineate exhaustively each and every situation that may involve a potential or actual COI that may need to be addressed by the University.
Faculty (both 9- and 12-month) who are fully and successfully meeting their teaching,
research/creative and other assigned duties to the University may be allowed to commit
up to a maximum of 15 work days, exclusive of weekends, per semester, and for 12-month
employees, a maximum of 15 work days, exclusive of weekends, over the summer term,
to an outside interest whether it be commercializing technology through their own
private companies, consulting, public service or pro bono work. (In unique and rare
circumstances, with prior written approval of the department chair/head, dean, VCRI,
and Provost, exceptions to the above maximum may be considered where there is a demonstrated
benefit to the university and the consulting will increases the research contributions
of the faculty member. Written documentation of the approval of any such exception
must be received in the RSIC office prior to exceeding the 15 hour maximum).
In all cases, external activities should improve a faculty member’s effectiveness as a teacher or researcher, contribute to scholarly attainments, or in some manner further the interests of the University or University-related activities in the community.
For staff members, consulting is limited to vacation time and other non-work hours. In all cases, outside employment must be approved in advance via the submission of Appendix B on Workday. Faculty and staff must demonstrate their ability to meet their university responsibilities in a successful manner in order to engage in and sustain such outside consulting activities. Service as an expert witness shall comply with BOT Policy 420.5, Court and Jury Leave.
Faculty and staff must affirmatively disclose, as a potential COI, the occurrence
of reimbursed or sponsored travel related to their institutional responsibilities.
Reporting is required only for those sponsors whose sponsorship exceeds $5,000, in
aggregate, over the course of a given calendar year. This affirmative disclosure requirement
does not apply to travel that is reimbursed or sponsored by a U.S. federal, state,
or local government agency, an accredited institution of higher education in the U.S.,
or an academic teaching hospital, medical center, or research institute that is affiliated
with an accredited institution of higher education in the U.S., provided that no travel
costs supported by any other entity shall be charged to the University. Disclosures
must specify the purpose of the trip, the identity of the sponsor/ organizer, the
destination, and the duration. University officials will determine if further information
is needed to determine whether the travel represents a COI.
A faculty start-up company typically maintains a close relationship with the faculty
member’s research. The University encourages the start-up company to sponsor additional
research by the faculty member. This relationship between the faculty member and his/her
start-up company creates a potential COI. The faculty member may serve as a Principal
Investigator (PI) on such a grant provided that the CMP establishes sufficient guidelines
to manage any COI.
The amount of time available for faculty or staff to consult is limited; therefore,
it is not feasible for a full-time University employee to manage the day-to-day operations
of an outside entity. Faculty or staff roles in a start-up company or other related
entity shall be limited to Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Chief Scientific Officer
(CSO), or an equivalent administrative contribution, but shall not include being Chief
Executive Officer (CEO) or President for an extended period of time. Whatever position
a faculty or staff member holds in a start-up company or other outside entity shall
not interfere with that individual’s primary responsibilities to the University whether
due to a conflict arising from the use of time or otherwise.
If it is necessary for the individual to take on such a leadership role initially, such a role should not last longer than nine months from the date of incorporation; provided, however, that the faculty or staff member shall remain responsible for performing his or her University job functions fully during any such period of time. Faculty shall obtain prior approval from the department chair/head, dean and VCRI to extend this period further. To receive approval for a longer period as CEO or President, the faculty member may need to take an unpaid leave of absence. Subject to a faculty or staff member’s ongoing responsibilities to perform his or her University job duties, this initial leadership period provides time to find an individual who can take on the business responsibilities on behalf of the entity. This structure is necessary to allow the faculty or staff member to focus his or her primary attention on the individual’s professional responsibilities to the University and its mission.
Except for any limited period when the University employee is the CEO of the entity, a University employee shall not participate as a negotiator representing his or her outside entity during contract negotiations with the University.
Under BOT Policy 210.1 (I)(G), if the University has equity in and an agreement relating to the commercialization of University intellectual property with an outside entity, faculty and staff must obtain prior review and approval by the Chancellor before serving as a member of the board of directors or as an officer or an employee (other than as a consultant) of any such outside entity.
This section providing special guidance on management roles is not designed to apply to single-person consulting companies that faculty and staff have created solely for their own individual consulting activities with third-party clients, provided, however, that all other provisions of this COI policy shall fully apply.
There is a potential COI when a student’s faculty advisor has a financial interest
in a company that employs the student or sponsors the student’s research. Potential
issues in this situation include, for example and without limitation, holding a course
grade until the work for the faculty member’s company is finished, not allowing a
student to defend a thesis or dissertation, not allowing a student to publish his
or her work, or having a student work on the faculty member’s research but charging
his or her hours or assistantship to another cost center (grant or research contract).
To protect the interests of the student and the university in these situations, the CMP must require a tenured faculty member without a conflict of interest to serve as a committee member to certify the student’s time and effort, subject to approval by the Graduate School. The tenured faculty member should be engaged early on and involved in a substantive way with the student’s research. Additional restrictions may be required in the CMP.
Potential or actual conflicts of interest and any CMP should be disclosed to any students involved in the above circumstances. It should be made clear to the student that a potential COI inherently arises from the faculty member’s dual role in such a situation and not from the character or actions of the individual, and that acknowledging a potential COI does not mean the faculty person is being accused of unethical behavior. Once all potential conflicts of interest involving students are explained, students will sign a statement acknowledging they have been adequately notified, that they understand the circumstances, and that they are aware that their dissertation committee will include a tenured faculty member without any conflicts who can provide assistance should they encounter any difficulties with these circumstances.
University staff may have opportunities related to outside entities. In particular,
staff may have the opportunity to participate in entities started by faculty with
whom they work at the University. In the event such a circumstance should arise, staff
involvement is limited by University policy.
No staff person shall perform paid work for an outside entity during his or her normal working business hours. Non-exempt staff may perform work for such entities outside of University hours pursuant to existing UA policies and procedures. Exempt staff may also perform work for such entities outside of University hours provided they receive the appropriate approvals for outside employment according to University policy. Staff shall not make University work assignments to other staff for purposes of benefiting their own outside entity or employment activity.
A potential COI may arise when an employee consulting at a company generates intellectual
property (e.g., a patentable idea). Under BOT Policy 210.1 , inventions generated as a result of any research or development activity directly
related to the duties and responsibilities for which a person has been compensated
by or through the University or for which facilities owned, operated, or controlled
by the University are used must be disclosed to and assigned to the University.
Faculty members who derive direct or indirect financial benefit from materials required
to be used by their students are engaged in outside employment for compensation that
constitutes a COI. As per Academic Policy Series 1550.30 faculty members must disclose the COI in writing and obtain prior written approval
from their department chair and dean to require the purchase of their own proprietary
materials by their students or to require the purchase of any other materials for
which the faculty member receives compensation (including, but not limited to publishers’
incentive payments). The request for approval must include a description of the material(s)
and a justification for their use. The request must state the provision made for disposition
of payments, revenues and royalties from the sales of the material(s). These revenues
must be paid to a unit not directly related to or associated with the faculty member,
but one (e.g., college or school) that will benefit students academically at the University
of Arkansas, Fayetteville.
BOT Policy 330.1 provides that the University shall not, without approval of the Chancellor, enter into a contract with a current or former state employee or a direct family member, including spouse, of any current or former state employee, or a company owned or controlled by the employee or family member. Procedures exist to seek approval in limited circumstances when such a purchase is in the best interests of the institution and when the relevant University employee does not participate in the purchasing decision. Likewise, Ark. Code Ann. § 19-11-705 prohibits any employee from participating directly or indirectly in any contract or solicitation where, to the employee’s knowledge, the employee or an immediate family member has a financial interest, or where the entity being negotiated with has an arrangement with the employee concerning prospective employment.
Faculty may have the opportunity to teach, conduct research or creative activity, or engage in other types of activity for other academic institutions, including other University of Arkansas entities. However, full-time (30 hours or more per week) faculty must receive prior approval from the department head/chair, dean, and Provost before teaching for, conducting research or creative activity, or accepting any other type of appointment with another academic institution. For 9-month faculty and staff, for such appointments during the academic year, including university breaks and holidays, and for all 12-month faculty and staff at any time, requests to accept appointments at other academic institutions should be submitted via the submission of Appendix B on Workday. Information must include 1) why the appointment will benefit the university and 2) certification that the faculty member is meeting expectations in all appointment areas (teaching, research, and service). For summer appointments for 9-month faculty, such appointments must be disclosed in advance through the conflict disclosure process. Distance learning and other instructional delivery methods for other academic institutions are also included in this requirement.
The existence of a consensual relationship with another employee or student may present
an actual or perceived conflict of interest and may be incompatible with official
or professional responsibilities when one partner is in a position of authority over
the other including academic instruction, advising, performance evaluation and consideration
for pay increases, promotion, leadership positions, or tenure. In such cases, the
relationship must be disclosed and a CMP must be developed describing how the actual
or potential conflict will be mitigated. Such plans must be reviewed and approved
through the relevant supervisory chain, including the VCRI or designee, and including
the Provost when the covered relationship involves at least one faculty member. Such
mitigation plans shall not infringe on any faculty member’s right to participate in
campus-wide faculty governance.
Consistent with Board Policy 410.1, Nepotism and Related Conflicts of Interest, no employee shall supervise the job performance or work activities of another relative, as defined in this policy. Further, immediate family members, as defined in this policy, shall not supervise or participate in decisions to hire, retain, promote, evaluate, or determine the salary of one another. Former spouses or domestic partners with continuing contractual or financial obligations to each other shall abide by the same restrictions as those currently in such a relationship.
BOT Policy 330.1 prohibits employees in purchasing, billing, collections, financial offices and offices
otherwise engaged in contracting for expenditure or receipt of funds from accepting
gifts or gratuities from UA contractors or others engaged in business with the University.
Employees generally are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the gift rules issued
by the Arkansas Ethics Commission, available at http://www.arkansasethics.com/. Regardless
of whether a gift is permissible under state rule or University policy, University
employees should consider issues of appearance of conflict of interest and consult
with their supervisory chain before accepting something of value from actual or prospective
contractors or bidders.
Pursuant to Ark. Code Ann. § 21-8-701(a)(4), as interpreted by the Arkansas Ethics
Commission 1, the Chancellor, the Provost, Vice Chancellors for Finance & Administration and Advancement
and deans 2 , as persons in charge of departments or divisions within the University, responsible
for the supervision of employees and the administration of department budgets, must
file a Statement of Financial Interest with the Arkansas Secretary of State by January
31 of each year. Forms and guidance are available from the Arkansas Ethics Commission
Reporting Extra Income
Pursuant to Ark. Code. Ann. §§ 21-8-201 - 21-8-204 and UA Systemwide Policies and Procedures 440.10, on or before January 31 of each year, all salaried employees of the University on full-time regular nine-month or twelve-month appointments are required to file with the President a statement reflecting income in excess of $500 earned from a single source during the past calendar year as wages or salary or as fees or payment for professional or consultant services rendered to any public agency of the State other than the salary the person receives on a regular salary basis. Each such individual source from which income exceeds $500 must be reported. If the cumulative total exceeds $500, but income from no single source exceeds $500, no report needs to be filed. This includes payment for adjunct teaching at another campus or unit of the University or services rendered to another state agency.
1. State Contracts Generally
Pursuant to Ark. Code Ann. § 19-11-706, any employee who has or obtains any benefit from any state contract with a business in which the employee has a financial interest shall report such benefits to the Director of the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration. This is a continuing obligation to disclose and is not restricted to annual reports each January. Forms are available on the Department of Finance and Administration web site.
2. Contracts Involving Patents, Copyrights, or other Proprietary Information
Pursuant to Ark. Ark. Code Ann § 19-11-717, no later than January 31 of each year an employee or former employee contracting or receiving benefits under contracts involving patents, copyrights or other proprietary information, shall file with the Secretary of State a disclosure of the type and amount of the contract or benefits received during the previous year. The statute provides for a form to be issued by the Secretary of State, but in the absence of such form an employee may wish to use the form provided by the Department of Finance and Administration for disclosures under 19-11-706.
Each faculty or staff member must complete training, available through RSIC, regarding objectivity in research and the institution’s policies for managing significant financial conflicts of interest and disclosure responsibilities prior to engaging in research and at least every four years thereafter, and immediately when any of the following circumstances apply:
A. The university revises its conflict disclosure policies or procedures in any manner that affects the requirements of investigators;
B. An individual is new to the university; or
C. The university finds that an individual is not in compliance with institutional policies or an approved CMP.
Employment and other forms of engagement in the service of the University’s land-grant mission and work that complements and builds upon faculty expertise is encouraged by the University. However, failure to comply fully with this policy and with all related University policies and legal requirements concerning conflict of interest and commitment may lead to disciplinary action, including, but not limited to, suspension or termination of research studies or funding or suspension or termination of employment. Failure to comply may also lead to civil and criminal liability under state and federal law.
Full compliance includes, but is not limited to, completion of mandatory training, timely and complete submission and updating of all applicable COI disclosures and outside employment authorizations and obtaining any required approvals, as well as full compliance with any management plans.
Subject to other applicable law or policies, all COI disclosures, outside employment
forms, and CMPs shall be retained by RSIC for a period of three (3) years from
the date of approval, provided that, in the case of federally funded research, all
materials shall be retained for a period of three (3) years from the end of the final
expenditure report. In the event of litigation or audit prior to record destruction,
applicable records shall be retained until litigation or audit findings involving
the records have been resolved and final action taken.
The University shall provide to any research sponsor, if required, a FCOI report
regarding any individual’s SFI found by the University to be conflicting and ensure
that the University has implemented a management plan.
To facilitate the public disclosure of records regarding conflict of interest and
outside employment, employees shall be asked to identify, at the time of disclosure,
any specific information which they have a good faith belief should be considered
exempt from public disclosure under the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act or other
applicable law because the information falls within a specific, established exemption
to disclosure. For example, under Ark. Code Ann. § 25-19-105(b)(12), personnel records
are not required to be publicly disclosed under the FOIA if their disclosure would
constitute a “clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.” Likewise, under
Ark. Code Ann. § 25-19- 105(b)(9)(A), records are not required to be released “which,
if disclosed, would give advantage to competitors or bidders.”
Employees claiming that portions of their disclosed information are not subject to public release must include a detailed statement of explanation regarding why the specific information is exempt under the law. Blanket claims of exemption or submissions which do not identify specific information and a rationale for exemption will be returned to the employee for clarification and may delay approval of the disclosures. Note that federal regulations specifically require that significant financial conflicts of interest related to certain funded research projects must be made publicly accessible, upon request. Accessible information must include the individual’s name, position on the research project, name of the entity in which the SFI is held, the nature of the financial interest, and the dollar value (within a numeric range), or a statement that the interest cannot be readily valued.
Specific information which employees claim is exempt from public disclosure will be reviewed by University officials and a determination made on whether the information is exempt prior to such disclosure. In the event an employee disagrees with the University’s determination on the exempt status of records under the Arkansas FOIA, the employee may request an Attorney General’s opinion on the matter, consistent with Ark. Code Ann. § 25-19-105(c)(3)(B).
In certifying their disclosure forms, employees acknowledge that all non-exempt information may be publicly released upon request.
Updated September 11, 2023
Updated July 5, 2023
Updated June 7, 2021
Updated January 12, 2017
Updated June 22, 2015
Reformatted for Web May 28, 2014
Updated May 6, 2014
Updated July 30, 2013
Effective August 24, 2012