Service in Outside Activities, Conflict of Commitment, and Coursework

Title: Service in Outside Activities, Conflict of Commitment, and Coursework
Approved by
Date Approved:
Effective Date:
Responsible Official: Vice President of Human Resources
Responsible University Office: Human Resources Administration
Revision History: N/A
Related Legislation and University policies: CWRU COI Policies
Review Period: 5 years
Date of Last Review: 01/22/2021
Relates to: executive staff, senior staff, and staff
Exclusions: none

Policy Statement

Recognizing that each employee’s primary duty is the performance of the employee’s job at the university, attempts to balance university responsibilities with outside activities – such as another job, consulting, government service, civic or charitable service, outside board service, or pro bono work – can result in conflicts regarding allocation of time and energy. 

Conflicts of Commitment usually involve issues of time allocation. Employees intending to engage in an activity that involves significant effort outside of the university and that may present a Conflict of Commitment must have written approval from the relevant department chair, department/unit head, or supervisor. In considering such requests, the employee’s supervisor will take into account whether the outside service presented for approval is inconsistent with the university's mission.

Conflict of Interest

Separate from a Conflict of Commitment, service in outside activities must comply with the university’s policies relating to conflicts of interest, and meet the requirements of other university policies that relate to an employee’s professional activities outside of the university. Employees shall make clear, when engaging in outside activities, they are acting and speaking in their individual capacity and not as representatives or agents of the university.

To ensure that employees fulfill their university duties and responsibilities and avoid a Conflict of Interest as defined in the university’s Conflict of Interest Policies, employees who are paid for service on outside boards or for outside organizations (including consulting) must obtain prior written approval to engage in such service and should consult with their direct supervisor at the outset of discussions with an entity about such potential service. In such situations, employees must obtain approval from the applicable Vice President (in requestor's line of reporting), who will review requests in consultation with the Office of General Counsel. Employees who are paid for their service on outside boards or in outside organizations must use their vacation time or take unpaid leave to cover any periods away from work to serve on the board.

The university may reevaluate previously approved service in outside activities in the event of a change in the relevant circumstances.

On an annual basis, certain employees will be required to submit the Outside Financial Interest Disclosure Form disclosing requested information regarding service on outside boards as well as other outside activities and outside financial interests. More information can be found on the Conflict of Interest Committee website.


Employees who take college classes and will miss a full day of work or more are required to use their vacation time to cover any periods away from work to attend classes, unless the employee has a temporary Alternative Work Arrangement that accommodates the time away from work.