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SULAIR Human Resources

SULAIR Consulting Policy

February, 1997

To: SULAIR academic and exempt staff
From: Mike Keller, University Librarian and Director of Academic Information Resources
Subject: Consulting Policy for Academic and Regular Exempt Staff

Dear Colleagues:

It has been five years since the consulting policy has been promulgated to our academic and exempt staff in SULAIR. Since that time the University has developed guidelines for contulting by exempt staff.

Two key concepts of the University's policy on faculty consulting are:

  1. the opportunity for faculty to engage in consulting activities outside the University is a privilege.

  2. in order for academic objectives to be ensured and the corpus of the University protected, limits on these activities must be recognized and accepted.
At Stanford, the faculty consulting policy was codified first; and by exception a policy for Academic Staff was enunciated. In 1992 guidelines for consulting by regular exempt staff were developed.

The following information is drawn from the Policy On Outside Consulting Activities by Members of the Academic Staff [Lieberman, 1983&1989]. "Outside consulting" is defined at Stanford as "professional activity related to the person's field or discipline, where a fee-for-service or equivalent relationship with a third party exists." University policy permits members of the Academic Council to engage in outside consulting activities. The policy statement on academic staff goes on to say that consulting privileges normally do not extend to regular exempt staff or to members of the Academic Staff. However, a specific exemption is made with respect to Academic Staff and the above policy statement describes the conditions under which Academic Staff can seek and obtain permission to consult.

In the faculty and academic staff policies, two features are explicit, namely,

  1. the time spent on consulting must be in addition to, rather than a part of, the regular full-time equivalent effort expected of the staff or faculty member's University work.

  2. for full-time employees, the upper bound on consulting is 13 days per calendar quarter, including vacation, holidays, etc. (all paid time off).
The guidelines for consulting by exempt staff respect those strictures as well and goes on to stipulate: University resources (equipment, staff, etc.) are not to be used to carry out outside consulting by staff.

This memorandum establishes a prospective and mandatory process for approval of consulting activity. This process will protect your rights and privileges through an appropriate audit trail. It is important to recall that a portion of virtually every library and information resources expenditure is charged through the indirect cost pools to the federal government.

The process is simple: Prior to undertaking any consulting activity and/or any new consulting activity, write a memo to me in which you briefly describe the activity and for whom and how you will carry it out within the policy guidelines above. While the number of hours/days of consulting and the times [in general] when you expect to do it should be included, please do not include your consulting rate or fees. Forward your memo to me via your supervisor and your unit's director who must attach their recommendation to approve your request or not. I expect their focus will be on whether or not you can carry out your Stanford work according to the job expectations, goals and objectives upon which you have agreed. [Directors will forward the request to Carol Olsen who will manage the audit trail.]

The policy for consulting is well spelled-out for faculty and academic staff and consulting for those groups is permissible under certain guidelines [see the reference materials cited at the end of this memorandum]. Supervisors and those consulting should look to the section on Terms and Conditions of Appointment in the Faculty Handbook for guidance on consulting definitions, ethics and conflicts of interest. Please note that University Guide Memo 15.2 defines conflict of interest practices and policies for all University employees who are not members of the Academic Council.

We shall proceed on a basis of reason and clarity of the audit trail. Questions about this policy and procedure should be addressed to Carol Olsen, SULAIR Director for Human Resources.

All staff who are consulting or expect to consult should now forward requests to me for any activity after January 1, 1997.

Best regards,

Reference Materials:

The Faculty Handbook, Terms and Conditions of Appointment, or

Policy on Outside Consulting Activities by Members of the Academic Staff, or

University Guide Memo 15.2, Conflict of Interest Administrative Guide Book or

Last modified: February 17, 2006

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