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Outside Activity and Conflict of Interest


OUTSIDE ACTIVITY AND CONFLICTS OF INTEREST

The University of West Florida encourages its Employees to engage in activities supporting their professional growth, creating new knowledge and ideas, and furthering the University’s mission of excellence in teaching, research, and service. University Employees’ primary professional obligation, however, is to act in the best interest of the University and to maintain the highest ethical and professional standards. A University Employee’s Outside Activities or interests must not conflict, or appear to conflict, with their professional obligations to the University of West Florida. Accordingly, the HR-23.01-07/21, Outside Activates and Conflicts of Interestpolicy establishes standards and requirements to protect the University’s financial well-being, reputation, and legal obligations and provides a system for identifying, reporting, and managing real or apparent conflicts. Disclosing outside activities fosters UWF’s support of these efforts.

OUTSIDE ACTIVITIES

An outside activity includes any activity, compensated or uncompensated, which is not part of the employee's assigned duties for the University and for which the University has provided the employee no compensation. Employees must disclose outside activities on the appropriate outside activity-conflict of interest form.

OUTSIDE ACTIVITIES REQUIRED TO REPORT

  • Employment outside of UWF
  • Private consulting, advising, and speaking
  • Teaching and/or research appointments for an entity other than UWF
  • Seeking an elected public office
  • Serving as an expert witness or legal consultant
  • Practicing as a licensed professional
  • Service on a Board of Directors
  • Presentation at professional meetings in which an honorarium is being paid to the employee
  • Professional activities provided in a foreign country, or directing the activities of others in a foreign country
  • Activities involving more than incidental use of UWF facilities, equipment, or services
  • Activities requiring the waiver or assignment of the employee’s or UWF’s rights or interests to any inventions or works that may be developed during the course of or from the activity.
  • Required use of books, supplies, equipment, or instructional resources at UWF when they are created or published by the employee or by an entity in which the employee has financial interest.

OUTSIDE ACTIVITIES NOT REQUIRED TO REPORT

  • Peer review of articles or research proposals
  • Unpaid scholarly collaborations at another domestic academic or research institution
  • Receiving an honorary degree from another institution
  • Editorial services for educational or professional organizations
  • Conducting workshops for professional societies
  • Musical or other creative performances and exhibitions that are consistent with the faculty member’s discipline

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST

A conflict of interest generally means a situation in which regard for private interest tends to lead to disregard of public duty or interest.

WHEN MUST A FORM BE SUBMITTED

All employees (Faculty, Work Force, and OPS) must report as follows:

  • Each year by August 15
  • Each time an employee plans to engage in a new activity requiring disclosure
  • Any time there is a significant change in an activity which has previously been reported
  • When the uncompensated activity:
    • Creates or reasonably appears to create a conflict of interest
    • Interferes or reasonably appears to interferes with the full performance of the employee’s responsibilities or other University obligations
    • Interferes with the employee’s primary commitment of time, attention, and energies to the University.

Note: Students and Adjuncts only need to complete the outside activity form if they participate in the design, conduct, and reporting of research or other types of sponsored projects.

WHY DO I HAVE TO REPORT

  • Florida Statute requires that all employees must report conflicts and outside activities (See Florida Statue 112.313, Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees, and Florida Statue 1012.977)
  • University Policy requires it
  • The policy and statute were instituted to create an environment of transparency and fairness to the citizens of the state
  • To prevent abuse, including bribery, nepotism, and exploitation of employment

USE OF UNIVERSITY FACILITIES, EQUIPMENT, AND SERVICES

  • Any employee who wishes to request the use of University facilities, equipment, or personnel in conjunction with an outside activity or employment must submit a written request for such use using the appropriate Request for Approval of Use of University Resources form, which will need to be completed and approved. Failure to submit such a request constitutes specific lack of permission to use any University resources in conjunction with an outside activity or employment. Each request will be evaluated on its own merits. The University is under no obligation to grant any such request.
  • An employee engaging in an outside activity shall not use the facilities, equipment, or services of the University in connection with the outside activity without prior approval of the appropriate supervisory authority. Approval of the use of University facilities, equipment, or services shall be conditioned upon reimbursement of the costs related to such use. A form for requesting approval for use of University resources must be completed and approved.
  • Charges for the use of University facilities by employees for their outside activities shall be at the same rate as ordinarily charged to the general public.

USE OF TEXTBOOKS

  • Any Employee who wishes to require a class that the employee instructs to use a textbook or other educational material that the employee wrote or prepared, must complete the Textbook Authorization form.  This form must be completed and approved up through the Provost prior to requiring the use of the textbook or other educational materials.
  • If you are an instructor reporting to a chair and you wish to require a class that you instruct to use a textbook or other educational material that you wrote or prepared, please use this Dynamic Form.
  • If you are the chair of a department or dean of a college and you wish to require a class that you instruct to use a textbook or other educational material that you wrote or prepared, please use this Dynamic Form.
  • In order to proceed to the form, you will be required to fill in the name(s) and e-mail address(es) of your Chair, Dean, or Vice President as applicable. Be sure to click on the blue floppy disk icon to save after you fill in this information.
  • If you do not click “sign electronically,” but have saved your information, the form will be available for you to complete and the process by clicking “draft forms” on the dynamic forms starting page.

ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS FOR FEDERALLY FUNDED RESEARCH

Federal regulations require that, when federal funds are allocated through a grant or contract, the University must examine conflicts and, where appropriate, report them to the federal agency.  Federal regulations require that the University manage, reduce, or eliminate any actual or potential conflicts of interest that may be presented by certain compensated outside activities and other financial interests of persons involved in sponsored research projects funded by the federal government. The primary purpose of the federal regulations is to prevent bias in the design, conduct, or reporting of research projects.

WHAT IF I DON'T REPORT

  • An employee’s failure to fully and properly report outside activities and other interests as required by this Policy or failure to follow any conditions imposed pursuant to the University’s approval of such activities, may be grounds for disciplinary action, up to and including separation from employment.
  • Where approval for an outside activity is based upon a report containing incomplete or inaccurate information provided by the employee, the approval is null and void.
  • In accordance with Florida Statutes Section 1012.977, any employee engaged in the design, conduct, or reporting of research who failed to disclose an outside activity related to their UWF area of expertise or any financial interest shall be suspended without pay pending the outcome of an investigation which shall not exceed 60 days. Upon conclusion of the investigation, the university may terminate the contract of the employee. Failure by an employee to comply with this policy or a conflict of interest monitoring or management plan may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination for just cause.

PROCEED TO THE OUTSIDE ACTIVITY FORM

  • If you have multiple outside activities, each activity must be on a separate outside activity form.
  • Click the Outside Activity Form to proceed to the form.
  • When you click "NO" to "Do you have an outside activity?", you will receive an email to sign the DocuSign form. In order to complete the process, you must respond to this email and sign the form.  This will complete the process.
  • When you click “YES” to “Do you have an outside activity?”, you will receive an email to complete additional questions before you sign the document. You must respond to this email in order to complete the process.
  • Your routing for approval will be automatically populated. If the approval names are not correct or not available, you can manually change or input the correct names.
  • You will need to check your email and review your form to see if it was approved or declined.
  • For additional guidance, the University of West Florida HR 23.01-07/21, Outside Activities and Conflicts of Interest, policy provides guidance to employees seeking to engage in outside activities.