Members of the academic staff are free to engage in outside activities, whether or not such activities are remunerative or related to staff members’ fields of academic interest or specialization. However, no member of the academic staff may engage in an outside activity if it conflicts with their public responsibilities to the University of Wisconsin System or the institution at which the academic staff member is employed. Academic staff may not use their public position for personal gain in a manner contrary to the interests of the University of Wisconsin System. (“Personal gain” includes money, gifts in kind, equity, or anything of value to the recipient.) In addition, employees may not, in a manner contrary to the public interests of the UW System, use or attempt to use their public position or state property, including property leased by the state, to gain or attempt to gain anything of substantial value for private benefit, their immediate families, or any organization with which the staff members are associated (UWS 8.03).
The University of Wisconsin Board of Regents addresses conflicts of interest in Chapter UWS 8 of the Wisconsin Administrative Code: Rules of the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System, sections of which are excerpted here. Academic staff members seeking more detailed information should consult the complete chapter, which is available online.
No member of the academic staff may engage in activities that are not consistent with the provisions of UWS 8.03. Each member of the academic staff will comply with the actions that are specified in UWS 8.04 to avoid conflict.
Regent policy prohibits only those activities that will result in a conflict between the personal interests of an academic staff member and that staff member's public responsibilities to the University of Wisconsin System.
A conflict of interest may exist when an individual has significant financial interest that could lead an independent observer reasonably to question whether the staff member’s public responsibility might be influenced by the possibility of personal gain by the individual or their immediate family. Additionally, academic staff engaged in research should consult the UW–Madison Office of Research Policy Financial Conflict of Interest Policy and Procedures: Guidance Document for additional details on conflict of interest as it affects the design, conduct, or reporting of research.
A conflict of interest may also exist when an academic staff member is engaged in an outside activity that is of such magnitude that the obligation to the university is suffering. No member of the academic staff shall be absent from their regular duties except by permission of the supervisor.
Individuals who may be affected by these policies shall consult their supervisor before making commitments to outside activities. Further consultation with the appropriate department chair, unit head, dean or director and/or the Institutional Advisory Committee on Outside Activities may be necessary before approving an unusual arrangement.
Each academic staff member with a half-time appointment or more shall annually, on or before April 30, file a report of outside activities with their department chair/director, or other appropriate administrator, whether or not there are any reportable outside activities. If, during the year, significant changes in an academic staff member's reportable outside activities occur, the staff member shall immediately inform, in writing, their department chair and dean, director, or other appropriate administrator.
When it appears that a material conflict may arise between the personal interests of a staff member and their public responsibilities to the university, the staff member shall notify their supervisor, department chair, dean, director, or other appropriate administrator by submitting a written statement describing the nature of the possible conflict. See detailed information in UWS 8.04.
Any academic staff member who is asked to serve as adviser or consultant, or any other capacity, with a public or private agency that grants money or decides policy for grants shall ascertain if their participation will adversely affect the university’s eligibility for funds from the agency involved and, if so, shall report this information to the chancellor through the dean or director, the supervisor, and the department chair or equivalent.
Any academic staff member who intends to serve as an expert witness in any civil or criminal case shall promptly report the nature of the case to their supervisor, who shall transmit the information to the department chair and the dean or director, who in turn shall inform the chancellor.
Academic staff members shall not use university facilities, equipment, supplies, services or staff for purposes other than carrying out their institutional responsibilities, except for incidental personal use as permitted by departmental or other campus policies.