External Professional Activity

The primary responsibilities of Boston University faculty members are teaching Boston University students, research/creative work, and service to the University.   However, we also recognize that external professional activity can be beneficial if it contributes to the faculty member’s professional experience and reputation. The purpose of this policy is to clarify the responsibilities of the faculty member and the expectations of the University with respect to external professional activity.

External Professional Activity means compensated or uncompensated activity that (a) is performed outside the scope of the faculty member’s primary responsibilities at Boston University and (b) relates to the research, creative work, teaching, or service for which the faculty member is compensated by the University.

The University must be assured that such external activities are appropriate with regard to quality, time, and lack of conflict with the interests of the University as the primary employer. This policy also includes a requirement for pre-approval for certain teaching and course development activities (Section 4) and a reporting requirement (Section 5).

Applicability and Criteria

This policy applies to all faculty members employed by Boston University for at least 50 percent time. The policy covers both compensated and non-compensated external professional activity. There are three criteria to consider in determining whether the activity is permissible: 1) Time, 2) Nature of the Activity, and 3) Conflict of Interest.

1)   Time

External professional activity is generally limited to twenty percent of the faculty member’s total professional effort during their contract year. Some averaging over the contract year may be possible if the averaging does not disrupt the normally assigned activities of the faculty member. Faculty members must ensure that outside professional activities do not prevent them from fulfilling their primary responsibilities. Outside activity that results in the neglect of contacts with students and or that creates an undue burden for colleagues is by definition inappropriate.

The time limitations in this section do not apply during unpaid periods, such as the remaining three months for faculty on nine‐month appointments or during unpaid leave. However the provisions in this policy about conflict of interest and required pre-­‐approval for external teaching activities are applicable at all times, including periods without pay.

2)   Nature of the Activity

Within the twenty percent of the time made available to faculty for consulting and other external work, that work should further the faculty member’s ongoing professional development and should be of a nature to advance and enhance the reputation of the faculty member and the University.

3)   Conflict of Interest

No faculty member shall undertake consulting assignments, research, or other external professional activities that conflict with the interests of the University. Similarly, a faculty member may not develop or teach a course for another entity that competes or conflicts with Boston University classroom or online initiatives.

A faculty member may not make use of the name of Boston University or more than minimal use of its facilities, personnel, or equipment in support of external activities. This does not preclude faculty from identifying Boston University as their employer in reports, publications, or presentations.

4)   Required Pre‐Approval for External Teaching or Course Development

A faculty member who wishes to teach or develop a course for another University or for any educational or commercial entity must obtain advance permission from the dean of the faculty member’s school or college. The dean will determine whether the request is consistent with the requirements of this policy with respect to quality, time, and conflict of interest. The requirement for pre‐approval does not apply to single guest lectures or seminars or workshops. In the event that permission is denied, the faculty member may appeal that decision to the University Provost.

5)   Required Reporting

Each year every faculty member must submit an External Activity Report to the dean of the faculty member’s school or college in order to report both compensated and noncompensated external professional activities undertaken in accordance with the policy. After reviewing the report, the dean or dean’s designee will seek to resolve with the faculty member any concerns about the faculty member’s external professional activities or refer the concerns to the appropriate provost if a resolution cannot be achieved.

Voted by the University Council 2/10/16, approved by the President 2/12/16.