External Compensated Activity

Outside professional activities can be beneficial to the faculty member and to the broader community. Limited engagement in professional activities carried on outside the University and for which compensation is not received through the University is encouraged if it contributes to the professional experience and public service of the faculty member. Consulting at the appropriate professional level exposes faculty to current problems and concerns in the discipline and helps to assure currency of teaching and research. External contracts often lead to the development of industry-supported grants and contracts. In addition, outside activity can and should be of a nature to advance and enhance the reputation of the University.

The University must be assured that faculty consulting and other outside activity are kept within appropriate time and quality bounds. The purpose of these guidelines is to clarify and restate the responsibilities of the faculty and the expectations of the University with respect to external compensated activities.


Consulting undertaken by Boston University faculty should be at a sufficiently high professional level to warrant its justification as part of the faculty member’s ongoing professional development.


The general policy for outside professional activity limits times spent to one day per week. Some averaging over the academic year may be possible if it does not disrupt the normally assigned activities of the faculty member. Regardless of the amount of time involved, the outside activity should be scheduled and limited to be consistent with the faculty member’s work load, which is assigned to satisfy institutional requirements in accordance with established procedures.

Performance Criterion

The primary responsibilities of faculty members are teaching, research, and service to the University. These responsibilities must be discharged well before outside employment can be considered appropriate. Outside activity which results in neglect of contacts with students and colleagues is by definition inappropriate. Outside consulting is permitted and encouraged by the University to enrich the faculty member’s background so that these primary responsibilities may be carried out better.

Conflict of Interest

No faculty member shall undertake consulting assignments or other external activities which conflict with the interests of the University. For example, a faculty member shall not undertake consulting work which could more appropriately be contracted for as a University research project. Nor should a faculty member make use of the name of the University or its facilities, personnel, or equipment in support of outside work. This condition does not preclude faculty from using the name of the University for purposes of identification in reports, publications, or presentations.


Each year each faculty member will be expected to complete and file with the dean the Faculty External Activity Report form. The report of activity in the preceding calendar year is to be filed annually at the time designated by the dean and appropriate provost.


These guidelines apply to every calendar year including sabbatical leave periods. The guidelines apply during the summer only while the faculty member is receiving over base compensation through the University. They do not apply during periods of leave without pay. The guidelines and reporting requirement apply to all full-time faculty.

Adopted April 18, 2007, by the University Council.