What Affected Employees Need to Do
University employees may not be engaged in outside activities that are in substantial conflict with the proper discharge of their duties for the university. They may also not have outside activities that would interfere with the fulfillment of their duties and responsibilities to the university. If they do, they are expected to disclose those activities annually using UT System’s Outside Activity Portal (OAP), obtain prior approval for each and, if needed, develop a management plan with their supervisor or in the case of conflicts related to research do so with the Office of Research Support.
This Quick Reference Table can help you determine if you need to take action. For the activities listed in the left-most column titled “Activity Type” and the category of employment you find yourself in listed across the top of the table, you can locate the particular set of actions you must take.
- outside employment/other compensated activity;
- substantial interest in a business entity;
- service on outside boards;
- other outside activity; and
- gifts over $250.
Categories of Employment
- full-time faculty and full-time exempt staff plus full-time non-exempt staff with contracting authority;
- part-time faculty and part-time exempt staff plus part-time non-exempt staff with contracting authority;
- full-time immediate family; and
- part-time immediate family
For any combination of “Activity Type” and employment category, there is a set of actions – Disclosure and/or Prior Approval – that must be taken. These actions and the context in which they are made are embedded in UT System’s OAP. Thus, it is important that faculty and staff become familiar with “disclosure” and “prior approval,” what these actions mean within the conflict of interest/conflict of commitment/outside activity framework, and how faculty and staff can use UT System’s OAP to prepare and submit disclosures and prior approvals.
This is generally about activities that have already occurred or interests that already exist, and disclosures are required when faculty and staff are engaged in those activities subject to this policy. What disclosures are needed can be determined from the Quick Reference Table. For example:
- If you are a full-time faculty member employed outside the university, you must disclose your outside employment.
- If you are a full-time faculty member employed outside the university and have a substantial interest in a business entity, you must disclose only if your business interest constitutes a Conflict of Interest.
- If you are serving on an outside board, it most likely must be disclosed but see HOP 5-2011 for more information.
- For any other outside activity, disclosure is required only if there is a Conflict of Interest and/or a Conflict of Commitment.
- Full-time exempt staff and full-time non-exempt staff with contracting authority are similarly required to disclose under these same combinations.
- It is important to note that only full-time faculty and full-time exempt staff and full-time non-exempt staff with contracting authority who earn more than $5,000 from outside activities AND whose activity may reasonably appear to be a Conflict of Interest and/or Commitment need to report their compensation. If there is no Conflict of Interest or Conflict of Commitment, then compensation does not need to be disclosed.
Part-time faculty and part-time exempt staff plus part-time non-exempt staff with contracting authority must disclose only if there is a conflict of interest for any of the activities listed.
Immediate family members of full-time faculty and full-time exempt staff plus full-time non-exempt staff with contracting authority must disclose only if there is a conflict of interest, and immediate families of part-time faculty or part-time exempt staff plus part-time non-exempt staff with contracting authority need not report at all.
In summary, it is important to note that whether you are faculty or staff, your activities outside the university, with the exception of outside employment or other compensated activity and service on outside boards, are only subject to disclosure if there is a Conflict of Interest and/or a Conflict of Commitment.
Disclosures are made using the “Make A Disclosure” portal in UT System’s OAP, and they are made as the potential conflict arises during the Calendar Year (CY). In addition, there is a Finalization Period of Jan. 1 through March 31 of the year following the CY in which those activities took place. This is also the time when disclosures, after thorough checking, are certified as to their accuracy. After Certification, the contents of disclosures may not be changed or deleted from the database.
As faculty and staff navigate the “Make A Disclosure” portal, there are a number of steps at which information will be requested and a series of drop-down menus from which to select the correct option. With the 10-minute time limit to enter that information, it is helpful to know what steps to anticipate. Likewise, it will be important to know what information need to be at hand and records to have accumulated over time. This Disclosure Information document may be helpful in that regard.
This is generally needed for activities that have not yet occurred such as entering into outside employment, service on an outside board, uncompensated activity that may reasonably appear to create a conflict of interest and/or conflict of commitment. There are exclusions and exemptions noted in HOP 5-2011. In a fashion similar to Disclosures, the need for Prior Approvals can be determined from the Quick Reference Table. Approvals must be obtained from your supervisor using the “Request Approval” portal in UT System’s OAP to enter information necessary to making that determination. Requests are made during the calendar year as faculty and staff engage in new outside activities.
Some activities, such as those commonly practiced by faculty, have been pre-approved and thus do not require prior-approval. These preapproved faculty activities listed in HOP 5-2011 are as follows:
- Serving on a federal, state or local governmental agency committee, panel or commission;
- Acting in an editorial capacity for a professional journal;
- Reviewing journal manuscripts, book manuscripts, or grant or contract proposals;
- Attending and presenting talks at scholarly colloquia and conferences;
- Developing scholarly communications in the form of books or journal articles, reviews, movies, television productions, and similar works, even when such activities result in financial gain, consistent with intellectual property and other applicable UT System and institutional policies and guidelines; and
- Serving as a committee member, an officer or board member of a professional or scholarly society.
While these activities may not require preapproval, they may require disclosure if there is a potential of conflict of interest or conflict of commitment.
As faculty and staff navigate the “Request Approval” portal, there are a number of steps at which information, such as your supervisor’s email address, will be requested and a series of drop-down menus from which to select the correct option. With a 10-minute time limit to enter that information, it is helpful to know what steps to anticipate. Likewise, it will be important to know what data need to be at hand and what records should have been accumulated over time. This Prior Approval Information document may be helpful in that regard.
The university requires the disclosure of a description of the nature and extent of some or all such activities as part of a faculty or staff member’s periodic performance evaluation.