Valley City State University encourages employees to participate in professional activities or services outside of the University as a means of gaining additional professional experience and maintaining professional competency within their specialized disciplines. Participation in external professional activities is expected to contribute to the mission of the University. Full-time faculty and staff are expected to devote their primary loyalty and energy toward meeting their instructional, research, service, and administrative duties.

External activities and financial interests must not interfere with these commitments, must not present a conflict-of-interest to the University, nor create a public relations problem for the University. Prior to accepting appointments, engaging in a business, or otherwise diverting attention from university duties, employees must make disclosure of the activity and, if appropriate, obtain approval.

Approval to participate in external professional activities does not permit use of the University's name in any announcement, advertisement, publication, or report if it implies University endorsement of a product or service. The University does not assume any responsibility for the professional services rendered during an external professional activity.

External Services

A. Professional service without remuneration

  • Employees of VCSU are encouraged to participate in professional, discipline-related activities, such as officers of national organizations, journal editors, editorial boards, etc. University approval is not necessary, but a conversation will need to occur with the appropriate Vice-President.

B. Expert testimony

  • Given the nature of the legal process, such activity may place the University employee in an unintentional adversarial position.
  • University employees are encouraged to appear as "juris amici" (friend-of-the-court) instead of as expert witnesses representing one party. If a University employee serves as an expert witness for compensation they must receive prior approval from the appropriate administrative officer.
  • An employee may be required to provide expert testimony if served with a valid subpoena of the court. If so, the appropriate administrative officers must be notified.

C. Professional service with remuneration (honoraria)

  • University employees are encouraged to provide public service by making presentations to various groups and organizations or serving on proposal review committees. Often the employee may be given an honorarium in appreciation of such service.
  • An honorarium is defined as a monetary gift which is meant to express appreciation or honor to the recipient which is not covered under the consulting policies.
  • Employees can accept honoraria from non-VCSU or non-State (North Dakota) related entities. Unless the consulting policy applies, employees shall regard the services for other departments within the University or for other state agencies or entities for which they might receive honoraria while using state property (vehicles, supplies, etc.) as part of their public service obligation and refuse or return such honoraria.

D. Professional service with remuneration while under contract (consulting)

  • In general, the following policies must be followed when participating in consulting activities in which remuneration is received. For purposes of this policy, teaching a course or teaching a substantial portion of a course for another educational institution or other business shall be treated as consulting. This policy applies to both teaching in person or by means of an electronic communication.
  • Consulting by employees in areas related to their academic discipline or work at the University may be performed only after prior approval by appropriate administrative officers. Decisions for such approval will depend upon the nature of the employment responsibility to the University and the conditions of employment. Approval may only be granted for periods up to the maximum of one year. Approval must be sought each year if any activity extends beyond the one year.
  • Any consulting agreement in an area related to the employee's academic discipline or work at the University which attempts to assign ownership rights in intellectual property or provides that the ownership rights will belong to a third party must be submitted for review and approval by the University. This is to protect the interests of the University in any employee invention or other discovery. Unless otherwise expressly authorized, employees have no authority to assign any ownership rights of an invention or discovery which may arise out of the use of any University property or equipment, or relate to their work at the University.

Additional Items

A. Nature of the activity

  • The consulting activity must not interfere with normal duties or activities.
  • The consulting activity must not represent an actual or potential conflict-of-interest. If so, it must be resolved before engaging in the consulting activity.
  • The consulting activity must not compete directly with University sponsored services.
  • The time limit on the consulting activity is limited to the equivalent of one day per week, during the contract period at VCSU, and consulting should not be performed on a regular, ongoing basis without prior, or ongoing, approval. If required by a supervisor individuals should keep a record of time spent consulting;
  • Travel time, office visits, correspondence, telephone calls, and other on campus consultation related activities are included in the time committed to consulting.
  • Consulting conducted outside the regular work week is not counted as part of consulting time; however, the same policies and procedures for disclosures and approval apply.
  • Consulting activity should not require an absence from campus longer than ten consecutive working days without special approval.
  • Consultants must make clear that they are not representing the University or that the name and authority of University are in no way connected with service rendered, and that reports cannot be made on University stationery.
  • Travel Authorization forms must be filed as necessary.
  • Special approval must be obtained in advance for the use of University facilities and resources which may require payment of a reasonable fee, and the individual is responsible for payment of these fees. If University facilities or equipment is used, proof of professional liability insurance coverage for consulting activities may be required.

B. Approval for consulting or other external activities may be revoked if unforeseen problems occur after the initial approval. The revocation of approval may be appealed in the same manner as a denial.

C. Failure to follow this policy will be reported to the President who may impose sanctions that are appropriate to the seriousness of the violation up to and including dismissal.

Sponsored by: Human Resources Officer
Approved: Spring 1996
Revised: June 2012
Revised: October 2019