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MSUE Administrative Handbook: Human Resources
POLICY: MSUE maintains specific standards and procedures for consulting for pay.
APPLIES TO: MSUE provost-appointed academic staff
  1. Since most MSUE provost-appointed staff are, in their everyday work, "paid consultants", these guidelines are directed at "outside consulting for pay" situations and will hereafter be referred to as consulting in this document.

  2. A consulting situation is one where reimbursement is to be paid for expert, professional advice that will provide educational services beyond that which would normally be available to anyone without charge from another educator, specialist, or other Michigan State University staff member.

  3. Any consulting work must result in a positive reflection on the individual doing the consulting, the University in total, and the community in which the individual resides.

  4. All provisions for consulting as set forth in the MSU Faculty Handbook must be met (Refer to: Consulting and Other Outside Work below).  In practice, in the case of field staff, the function of the department chairperson will be fulfilled by the Regional Directors. The word "county" should be used interchangeably with "University". The use of equipment, supplies, secretarial services, etc. are prohibited.

  5. An additional guideline will be the policy statement issued on December 1, 1978 for the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, titled College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Regarding In-State "Consulting For Pay", which applies to all MSU Extension staff (Refer to: Consulting/Additional Work below).

  6. Legal protection and travel insurance normally provided for employment does not extend to staff members while they are in consultant status.

  7. All outside work for pay as well as consulting must meet the requirements of Item 3 of this document.

  8. The formal request for consulting work approval must be submitted to the Regional Director at least six weeks in advance of the proposed beginning of the activity. Outside Work for Pay/Overload Pay form and the OutsideWork for Pay/Overload Recommendation Form.

  9. The major responsibility regarding consulting rests primarily with the individual and the immediate supervisors. However, the Director and Dean will review all requests.

For consulting and/or additional work, the same request procedure/form is used and the same conflict of interest standards are applied. While additional work is not considered consulting, it is unnecessary to have two sets of identical forms except for subject matter. To avoid confusion, be certain to mark the additional work form clearly "Additional Work" when this type of request is submitted.

Following is an outline of the request/approval process.

  1. Educator completes consulting/additional work request form clearly indicating how the proposed activities do not conflict with Extension duties. Submitted to County Extension Director.
  2. County Extension Director reviews, clarifies and makes recommendation. CED submits to Regional Director.
  3. Regional Director reviews clarifies and makes recommendation. Regional Director submits to Director.
  4. Director renders final decision. Copy of approved consulting request sent to Dean.
  5. Copies of approved/denied consulting or additional work request sent to Regional Director.
  6. Regional Director informs educator or CED.

Although this process is shown in sequence, many of these steps can take place concurrently.

Full-time faculty members are compensated for full-time service to the University. They may have appointments in instruction, research, Extension, public service, etc. and have assignments involving a combination of these responsibilities. Whatever the character of the appointments, the University expects that each full-time faculty member will carry a reasonable and full-time load, assuming a proper share of the total functions and responsibilities of the department/school, college and the University.

Through consulting relationships with government, industry, public organizations and others off campus, University employees can be an invaluable resource. The University encourages the lending of such assistance where it does not interfere with the employees’ performance of University duties and where no conflict of interests exists.

Applicable only in instances in which compensation is received for consulting or other outside work, the following guidelines are intended (1) to provide for certain employees to engage in a limited amount of outside work for pay and (2) to protect the integrity of the employee-University work relationship. Individual colleges or other units are authorized to establish lower maximum time limits for outside work for pay than stipulated in point 11, below, and to promulgate more specific guidelines or to require additional reporting as their circumstances dictate.

  1. "Outside work" is defined as work for other than Michigan State University.
  2. In this context, "work" is understood to include consulting, advising, research, demonstrating, performing, outreach or teaching in the general area of competence for which the person is employed by the University. Not included is appearance on the program of a scientific or scholarly meeting attended mainly by professional peers, participation in the advisory or peer review process for foundations, governmental and accreditation agencies, service as an editor and/or editorial board member and/or reviewer for a professional journal.
  3. Prior written approval of the department chairperson/school director and dean must be obtained if the work is done during the regular employment period.
  4. Outside work for pay shall be reported for full-time employees of the University.
  5. Outside work for pay must not interfere with the faculty member’s normal University duties, including those non-classroom responsibilities expected of all faculty members.
  6. Authorized outside work for pay must be related to the faculty member’s normal University duties, including those non-classroom responsibilities expected of all faculty members.
  7. "Pay" is defined as any salary, fee, honorarium, or monetary gift or contribution beyond actual expenses.
    The following classes of outside work for pay require authorization:
    1. Work performed during times considered to be normal working periods for the employee by the University unit in which the person is employed (to be determined by the unit administrator).
    2. Work performed outside normal working periods but potentially affecting the performance of the person’s University assignment (based on the judgement of the unit administrator).
  8. If, in the opinion of the dean, based on consultation with the appropriate unit administrator, the outside consulting work interferes with the regular University duties of the faculty member, the appointment of a temporary faculty member in the University may be changed to a part-time basis, and the tenure system faculty member may be requested to take a leave of absence.
  9. Outside work for pay shall be authorized by the department chairperson/ school director and the dean or, in the case of faculty not assigned to colleges, the appropriate unit administrator.
    1. Such work must contribute to the effectiveness of the faculty member’s regular academic work for the University.
    2. Equipment, supplies, materials, or clerical services of the University may not be used in the furtherance of outside work for pay.
  10. The total amount of time expended by the faculty member on outside activities for pay and overload pay should not exceed 32 hours in any month. Under special circumstances and with permission of the dean or unit administrator, the monthly time limit may be exceeded, provided the aggregate of such time for the period of authorization does not exceed an average of 32 hours per month.
  11. If consulting work for pay is undertaken, it must be with the understanding that it is subject to termination at any time the University considers such action to be advisable.
  12. A special form is available from the departmental office for use by the employee seeking authorization to perform outside work for pay. Complete forms shall be maintained for three years in the dean’s office (in the appropriate administrator’s’s office for faculty not assigned to colleges).
  13. Activities covered under the policy on Outside Work for Pay are not covered under the Indemnification Policy or the Michigan State University travel accident plan unless they are designated by prior written approval by the chairperson/director or dean/separately reporting director as assigned duties on behalf of Michigan State University and the terms of those policies are otherwise met.

Each dean or other appropriate administrator is required to maintain a record in the dean’s office of all consultative services of the academic personnel in the college or administrative division.

This policy cannot be used as the basis for establishing and maintaining a private practice or separate business by faculty.

Faculty members in the Colleges of Human Medicine, Osteopathic Medicine and Veterinary Medicine may engage in "outside work for pay" under this policy. Private practice by faculty in the College of Veterinary Medicine is approved only in accordance with college policy. For faculty in the Colleges of Human Medicine and Osteopathic Medicine, if "outside work for pay" includes patient care or regularized administrative or consulting activities significantly related to, but not directly involved in the provision of patient care, the income derived therefrom is subject to the provisions of the Michigan State University Medical Service Plan of the College of Human Medicine and the College of Osteopathic Medicine.

DATE:    April 2009