The Approval Process

I was asked to consult at the last minute. Can I expedite the approval process?

A: If your request is at the last minute, you should fill out the form as soon as you can. You should then also let the relevant approvers (department head and dean) know that you have submitted the request so that they can look at it immediately. Please also reach out to the Faculty Consulting Office so that we can work with you to expedite the approval.

You should not begin any consulting activity until you have received approval at all required levels. Consulting prior to approval will result in sanction under the Faculty Consulting Procedures

How can I tell if my request was approved yet?

A: If you are awaiting a time-sensitive approval, please reach out to your Faculty Consulting Office.

Use the "forms" link on the top menu of this website to navigate to your dashboard of consulting requests.

You can track your approval stages through the Workflow Map dashboard on your InfoEd homescreen:

 

Your approved request will also appear in your Reconciliation Widget where it will be available for reconciliation.

 

What is the normal approval process?

A: Routine requests require approval by the Department Head, Dean, Faculty Consulting Office and Provost (or their designees).

It is recommended that requests are submitted 1-2 weeks ahead of time when possible.

If you are awaiting a time-sensitive approval, please reach out to your Faculty Consulting Office.

 

 

Why do I need permission to consult outside of my normal working hours (i.e., evenings, weekends, non-contract periods)?

A: Major issues related to conflicts of interest and conflicts of commitment are relevant at all times. The consulting approval process allows faculty a statutory “carve out” from provisions of the State Code of Ethics. To be covered by this carve out, consulting requests for work done at any time while you are employed as a University faculty member must be submitted in advance of the work.

What if I have a late request / started my consulting activity already?

A: You should still fill out a consulting request form and check the box indicating that this is a late request. Please reach out to your Faculty Consulting Office and we will provide you with advice relevant to your specific situation.

In most cases, with some rare exceptions, late requests will incur a sanction for violating the pre-approval requirement of the Faculty Consulting Policy. For the majority of first violations of the policy, where the request would have been approved if it had been submitted in advance the sanction you will receive is a counseling letter that does not go on your personnel record and is not a form of disciplinary action.

If you are offered a payment that you did not expect for professional service activities (i.e., an honorarium for a talk that was not discussed in advance, an unexpected payment for reviewing an article) after the activity has taken place, you can choose to pay these funds into a University account, or decline to accept the funds. As you would not then be receiving any personal compensation, you would not need consulting approval. If you will not be taking any compensation, you should not submit a consulting request and will not be subject to a sanction for consulting prior to approval.

If only funds to cover travel or similar expenses were received, please see the page on “Necessary Expenses”.

What if I made a mistake on my request form?

A: If you made a mistake on your consulting request form, please reach out to your Department Head or the Faculty Consulting Office as soon as possible and your form can be returned to you for correction, so long as it has not reached the final approval stage.

I already received approval for my consulting activity, but I will now be doing significantly more work, or the type of work that I will be doing has changed. Can I edit my approved request?

A: Once requests have been approved they cannot be edited. You should submit a new request as an addendum to your previously-approved activity. You can note on this new request that it is updating the activity that was previously approved.

When should I use “start upon approval”?

A: For any activity where you have a flexible start date, please choose the “start upon approval” option. This provides an approval date when the request receives final approval. You will then be able to begin the consulting activity at any time after approval is provided. In many cases where there is any degree of flexibility in the work taking place, “start upon approval” is the best option for a start date.

I have an activity that will continue into the next fiscal year. What do I need to do?

A: Consulting activities can only be approved for one fiscal year (July 1- June 30). If you have approval for an activity in the current fiscal year that will extend into the next fiscal year, you will need to submit a new request for the new fiscal year. You can submit such requests well ahead of the start of the new fiscal year to ensure you have timely approval.

What is the low conflict of interest risk pathway?

A: The low conflict of interest pathway (low COI risk pathway) is a routing through the consulting approval system that reduces the approval requirements. Instead of requests routing for final Provost-level approval, the low COI risk pathway requires only the first level of approval; usually the department head or equivalent.

The routing for low COI pathway requests is predetermined through several questions on the consulting request form, including the level of compensation, the type of activity, and whether the compensation will be received from a foreign entity. Prior approval is still required for low COI risk pathway requests, but the final approval requires only a single approver.

Low COI risk activities will normally be part of your professional development and have a low risk of a perceived or real conflict of interest. They may include reviews of scholarly manuscripts, service on federal grant agency review panels, delivery of colloquia at other educational institutions, and musical or dramatic performances. Compensation from any activity eligible for this routing must be under $5,000. This is the threshold for a “significant financial interest.” The relatively low level of compensation, the low likelihood of conflicts of interest, and the fact that funding is provided from a domestic (U.S.) source must all be combined for requests to be routed on the low COI risk pathway.

This routing was formerly known as “accelerated approval.”

Do I request consulting time in hours or days?

A: All fields on the consulting form related to time spent consulting should be filled out as days or fractions of days. For ease of calculation we consider one day to be equal to 10 hours.

If you are carrying out four hours of consulting and it will all be outside of your regular working hours, you would fill out 0.4 for total time spent consulting and 0 for the subset of this time that will be during normal work time.

If you are carrying out 80 hours of consulting and six hours of this consulting will be during your normal working hours, you would fill out 8 days for the total time spent consulting and 0.6 for the subset of this time that will be during normal work time.

How do I document approval for consulting during normal work time?

A: The consulting policy requires documentation from your supervisor approving specific days/times to consult during normal work time. If such days/times are known at the time the request is submitted you may include it on your request and approval will be documented then. If you do not know the specific days you will be consulting when submitting your request, you need to email your department head or other appropriate supervisor to document written approval at least one day in advance.

If you are a management-exempt faculty member, or if you are doing any consulting that will require you to miss a class or other regularly scheduled parts of your workload, you should make sure that you have clear documentation of written communication with your supervisor showing that they approved this specific use of normal work time for consulting activities.

What if I am on sabbatical or research leave?

A: When you are on sabbatical or research leave you are still a full-time faculty member, even when on a full-year sabbatical at 50% pay. The normal policy and procedures related to consulting apply throughout such periods of leave.

Consulting may not be used as a process to receive payment for fellowships or other such support for regular sabbatical or research leave activities. However, normal consulting activity averaging no more than one day per week of normal work time may continue throughout periods of sabbatical or research leaves.

If you have questions about compensation during a sabbatical, please reach out to the Office of the Provost, provost@uconn.edu.

I am not a faculty member, nor am I eligible for membership in the AAUP, how do I receive consulting approval?

A: The Faculty Consulting Policy applies only to faculty (AAUP and management exempt) and other employees who are eligible to join either chapter of the AAUP. All other employees, including postdocs, should reach out to the Office of University Compliance (compliance@uconn.edu) for advice specific to their employment status.

Graduate assistants do not fall within the remit of the faculty consulting policy. If you are a GA with questions related to consulting activities, you should reach out to the Graduate School for assistance.

How do I know if I am management-exempt?

A: Management-exempt faculty are a limited group. Most faculty do not fall into this category. All faculty have a base faculty appointment. A management-exempt appointment would mean that you are not eligible to join the AAUP.

  • At Storrs and regional campuses management-exempt faculty have higher-level administrative appointments, usually at the level of associate dean and above. All management-exempt faculty at Storrs and regionals have 12-month appointments and accrue vacation and other leave (this differs from 9/10/11-month contracts). This information will be included in your appointment letter.
  • At the Health Center, if you are unsure of your status, you may refer to your appointment letter.

What extra documentation is required for management-exempt employees who are consulting during normal work time?

A: If you are a management-exempt faculty member you will need to document the days and times you are making up normal work time that was used for a consulting activity. When filling out the consulting form you will be asked to provide details of when you will carry out University work outside of normal work time, unless the consulting will occur only outside of normal work time or you will be using vacation or other leave to provide time for consulting activities.

When you are reconciling your consulting, you will be asked to document the actual days and hours spent undertaking University work that make up for any time spent consulting during normal work hours. This time should be specific, with precise dates and times. It should not be in a very generalized form such as “Saturday mornings,” but instead should make clear the periods of time when work occurred which match the time requirement needed to cover the consulting. If this is not possible, the consulting work should be performed on approved vacation, personal, comp, or holiday leave time.

I am a part-time employee. Does the consulting policy apply to me?

A: The consulting policy applies to faculty employed 0.5 FTE (full-time equivalent) or greater. If you are a faculty member but your employment status is <0.5 FTE, you do not need approval for any consulting activities. However, you may voluntarily elect to request prior approval to consult in order to qualify for the University’s carve-out from the State Code of Ethics. In such cases, all the rules of the Faculty Consulting policy are applicable.

If you submit a request through the faculty consulting system, you will then be required to submit consulting requests for any further outside employment you will be undertaking during that same fiscal year. This allows for the evaluation of conflicts of commitment.

If you are unsure of your FTE (full-time equivalent) employment status, you should reach out to HR or your manager for guidance.

What is reconciliation and why do I need to do it?

A: Reconciliation is the process where you review your previously approved request and confirm or update information related to the request. The reconciliation process is a check and balance to make sure that actual work performed was covered by the approval process. Reconciliation is a required part of the consulting process.

You must reconcile all approved consulting requests in each fiscal year. Even if the activity did not take place, you are still required to reconcile your requests (in such cases you would indicate “no” on the form when asked if the activity actually took place).

Reconciliation can be done at any point in the fiscal year, once the work has been completed (i.e., if consulting for a two-day grant review on Sept 7th and 8th, you can complete your reconciliation form as early as Sept 9th).

If your original estimate of time or compensation provided on your request differs from what actually occurred, you should provide the revised and correct final information on your reconciled form. For instance, if you thought you would receive $4,500 in compensation but you actually received $5,500 you would need to update the compensation range in your reconciliation to reflect the higher band of compensation. If your time is different, for instance, if you were approved for 10 days of consulting, with four days of normal work time, but the activity only took six days of total work, with two days of this in normal work time, you would revise down the actual time spent consulting at reconciliation.

If you are a management-exempt faculty member who performed consulting work during normal work time, you will need to document the days and times you made up for this work outside of normal work time in the reconciliation process. See the question related to additional documentation for management-exempt faculty members for more details.

What happens if I don’t complete my reconciliation form on time?

A: If you do not complete reconciliation forms by the required deadline (September 1 for all requests in the prior fiscal year ending on June 30), you will receive a sanction as required by the Faculty Consulting Policy. A notification letter of your failure to reconcile will first be sent to you with a copy to your department head. No further requests to consult will be able to be approved until three months after the missing reconciliation reports are received. If you do not complete all overdue reconciliation reports within two weeks of the issuance of the notification letter, your permission to participate in any currently approved consulting activities will be revoked.

How much time can I spend consulting?

A: The Policy on Faculty Consulting and related Procedures provide full details on time that may be spent consulting and associated definitions. In general, for most faculty members the upper limit is no more than one day per week of normal work time, with evenings, weekends, and non-contracted months providing further potential consulting time. However, all approvals require that you are able to meet the expectations and workload of your University role. Please see the Policy and Procedures for full details.

Management-exempt faculty are subject to different rules on time. Please see the question on this page related to management-exempt faculty for details.