Conflict of Commitment: Outside Activity Prior Approval

The university supports and encourages faculty and professional staff to engage in outside activities that contribute to the university’s mission, provide professional development, and present opportunities for advancement of student learning or research. Some activities may present an actual or perceived conflicts of commitment with obligations to the university. UT faculty and professional staff have a primary commitment to the University and have an obligation to request prior approval for outside activities in order to:

  • Disclose and obtain approval for permissible outside activities and interests.
  • Implement strategies for conflict of commitment management when necessary, in order to ensure obligations to the university can be maintained in alignment with UT System and University policy.
  • Avoid or discontinue outside activities that cannot be adequately managed.

HOP 5-2011, “Conflicts of Interest, Conflicts of Commitment, and Outside Activities” requires all faculty and professional staff to request prior approval for outside activities, with some exceptions for pre-approved activities, and complete or update the disclosure of financial interests and outside activities at least annually, even if no activities are reported.

Activities requiring disclosure include:

  • Outside consulting or other outside employment related to professional area of expertise
  • Outside academic appointments such as visiting, honorary, emeritus, and affiliate positions
  • Board / Leadership positions
  • Professional services such as editorial service or clinical service
  • Educational services such as presenting or creating educational material for continuing education
  • Expert witness / Legal consulting

Engagement in such outside professional activities is limited to 8 hours per week, with some stipulations. See details in Guidelines for Prior Approval and Disclosures of Outside Activities and Financial Interests.

Activities considered pre-approved and integral to the university’s mission:

  • Serving on a US federal, state or local government agency committee, panel or commission.
  • Acting in an editorial capacity for a professional journal.
  • Reviewing journal manuscripts, book manuscripts, grant or contract proposals.
  • Attending and presenting talks at scholarly colloquia and conferences.
  • Developing scholarly communications in books, journal articles, movies, television productions and similar works, even when such activities result in financial gain, consistent with intellectual property and other applicable UT System and university policies and guidelines. Note: Prior approval is required if you will be paid by an outside entity to conduct research related to your area of expertise.
  • Serving as a committee member or an officer of a professional or scholarly organization.
  • Board service carried out for personal reasons on one’s own time if it does not create a conflict of interest or commitment (e.g., faith-based board, homeowners association, youth sports organization).

The Outside Activities office reviews prior approval requests and annual disclosures, coordinating with departmental supervisors as needed to manage situations that may compromise an employee’s ability to appropriately fulfill institutional responsibilities.

See a flow diagram of the outside activity prior approval process.

Related Policies and Procedures

See more below...