Principles and General Standards
The Institute recognizes that consulting is a benefit to the institution and the Faculty. By gaining experience working closely with companies Faculty are aware of new technical directions and innovations, therefore the Institute encourages and permits its Faculty to consult. The practice of consulting calls for the Faculty to enter the non-academic world as a professional, with special disciplinary talents and knowledge. The Institute approves of such practices and set forth below are the principles and general standards for such practices.
Consulting can provide an important means of continuing education of the Faculty and can provide them with a currency and experience in aspects of their professional field outside the context of the Institute itself. Though such attributes of consulting may make faculty better scholars and teachers, the employer/employee nature of the consulting process has in it the potential for diversion of Faculty, Staff, and student employees from their primary activities and responsibilities.
Consulting is encouraged, provided the faculty member's primary obligation to the Institute is met. The responsibility for adhering to the limit on consulting days, and other aspects of the Institute's consulting policy, lies first with the individual faculty member. Faculty members have an obligation to report, fully and currently, the level of their consulting activities. Faculty members should resolve any questions or ambiguities with the appropriate Institute official before the fact, so that the Institute community is not injured by their actions. The Institute has the right, and indeed, the obligation, to protect itself from losses due to excess consulting.
Conflict of Commitment
The purpose of the policy on consulting and related activities is to state with both clarity and generality the limits on the time that an Institute Faculty member may spend in consulting. The limits set forth below are intended to strike a balance between consulting and regular duties within the Institute and serve to safeguard the interest of both parties. In cases of ambiguity, the primary guide should be the intention to promote the interests of the Institute as a place of education, learning, and research. It is the Faculty’s obligation to obtain prior consent from the appropriate Institute officer.
The Institute encourages and assists faculty members in the practice of their profession. The Institution particularly encourages Faculty to consult, providing guidelines for this type of activity. It must be recognized, however, that professional consulting activities and involvement in business ventures can result in an apparent or actual Conflict of Interest. This policy provides several principles which should be followed to avoid conflicts.
It is not possible to anticipate all types of potential outside involvements. It is, therefore, always a faculty member's obligation to obtain prior written consent from his/her School Chair or Laboratory Director, Dean, or Director of GTRI, and the appropriate Institute officer before undertaking any activities. Approval must be obtained by completing and obtaining authorization via the Conflict of Interest Online System. If the faculty member’s consulting activities are related to his/her Institutional Obligations, and if the faculty member has either a Significant Financial Interest or a Substantial Interest in the outside entity with which he/she consults, the consulting activity must also be reviewed and approved by the COI Office prior to the initiation of services.
Distance Learning and Continuing Education
In the case of a faculty member organizing or generating any continuing educational program not affiliated, sponsored, or endorsed in any way by the Institute, the faculty member must obtain permission from the Dean of Professional Education via the Conflict of Interest Online System.
Use of Georgia Institute of Technology Facilities
In competing for consulting, Employees are not to take advantage of their access to Institute facilities. State law precludes Institute Employees from using State facilities or property for personal gain or benefit. The facilities and services of the Institute may not be used in connection with compensated outside work, except in a purely incidental way. This is not envisioned to exclude contracts with the Institute for the use of facilities or services such as the Computer Center or the Library or other facilities for which cost centers have been established.
Payment for Consulting
Members of the faculty may, for tax liability reasons, undertake consulting assignments through a personal corporation. This is not considered a conflict of interest in and of itself. However, see the "Prohibited Activities" subsection.
Consulting agreements are personal agreements between Employees and a private company. The Institute cannot provide advice to Employees regarding private matters, however Employees should carefully review such agreements to ensure the terms are not in conflict with their employment agreement with the Institute or GTRC nor in conflict with any of the Institute’s policies, including but not limited to this Conflict of Interest and Outside Professional Activity Policy and the Intellectual Property Policy. Most companies require a consultant to sign a consulting agreement. Any Institute Employee who is asked to sign such an agreement should consult with his or her personal attorney for review and advice. Any consultant agreement, at a minimum, should state that the consultant is an Employee of the Institute and, as such, has commitments, responsibilities and obligations (contractual or otherwise) that must be fulfilled and may not be negatively impacted by a consulting agreement terms/conditions or actual consulting.
To avoid conflict with Institute-assigned duties, the following language is recommended as part of an Employee’s consulting agreement:
"This agreement is made subject to the understanding that Consultant is an Employee of the Georgia Institute of Technology (GIT), that he/she must fulfill certain obligations including teaching, directing laboratory operations and conducting research; and that as a result of his/her employment by GIT, GIT has certain rights to intellectual property developed by him/her and any rights conveyed hereunder shall be subject to those rights. Under no circumstances are any rights to GIT or Georgia Tech Research Corporation intellectual property conveyed hereunder. All consulting activity hereunder shall be on a non-interfering basis with normal GIT activities. Nothing contained in this Agreement shall directly or impliedly affect the obligations listed above."
Activities Not Considered "Consulting"
Scholarly communications in the form of books, movies, television productions, art works, etc. though frequently earning financial profit for a faculty member and for another party (e.g., publisher), are not viewed as consultation.
- Professional Service
Service on national commissions, advisory bodies for governmental agencies and boards, granting agency peer review panels, visiting committees or advisory groups to other universities, and on analogous bodies is not considered to be Consulting. The fundamental distinction between these activities and consulting is that they are public or Institute service. Although participants may receive an honorarium or equivalent, these professional service activities are not undertaken for personal financial gain.
Employee may pursue a variety of endeavors for financial profit that are not directly related to the person’s field or discipline. These efforts are part of the faculty member's private life and do not come under Institute regulation for this consulting policy. Such endeavors may be pursued only after the primary commitment to the Institute has been fulfilled and upon prior approval from a Responsible Unit Official of the Institute.
The Number of Permissible Consulting Days
The maximum number of consulting days permitted for a member of the Faculty without hourly time keeping on a twelve (12) month or nine (9) month appointment is one (1) day per week. Institute holidays are included in each thirty-nine (39) week academic year from which the thirty-nine (39) day consultation limit is derived. A limited amount of "averaging" of consulting time is permissible if, on occasion, a Faculty member plans to consult for more than one day per week but no more than thirty-nine days for an academic year. Thirty-nine (39) days of consulting per academic year, or fifty-two (52) days for a calendar year of active duty, is intended to be a liberal allocation, yet one that is fair to the Institute. Members of the Faculty whose time and effort is accounted for through hourly timekeeping may engage in consulting only outside their normal working hours or while on leave from the Institute.
- Consulting During Periods of Part-Time Institute Employment
The thirty-nine (39) day limit should be prorated for those members of the Faculty holding part-time appointments, using the following formula: [39 X F ], where F is the fraction of full-time duty, thirty-nine (39) represents the average number of academic weeks per year. Thus, a faculty member holding a seventy-five (75%) appointment is permitted up to twenty-nine (29) days of consulting per academic year for the 75% time commitment to the Institute.
- Consulting During the Summer Term or During Periods of Leave Without Salary
Faculty members on nine-month appointments with no salary supplement for the Summer Term (or other off-duty period) are not subject to the one day per week limit during that semester. Nor does the limit apply to faculty members on leave without salary. If the faculty member receives a salary for full-time service during the Summer Term, the regular one day per week (or thirteen-days for Summer Term) consulting limit shall apply.
- Consulting While on Study Leave
The purpose of study leave is to permit faculty members to take time off from normal Institute duties to advance their scholarly interests so that they may return to their posts with renewed vigor, perspective, and insight. A Faculty member on study leave receiving full-time Institute salary may consult up to the regular one day per week during the period of sabbatical.
Consulting Services for Other State Offices
As a general rule Employees of the Institute may not receive compensation for services performed for other state offices. [Official Code of Georgia 45-10-20]
Employees of one State agency may teach or work as consultants for another state agency provided the work falls within one of the following classifications and provided the conditions stated below are met.
Employees of one state agency may teach or work as consultants for another state agency if the transaction involves part-time employment by the state agency seeking consulting services of a chaplain, fireman, any person holding a doctorate or master's degree from an accredited college or university, a licensed physician, dentist, psychologist, registered nurse or a licensed practical nurse, or veterinarian.
The chief executive officer of the department or agency desiring to obtain the services of a person falling within the class of exceptions shall certify in writing the need for the services and shall set forth why the best interest of the state will be served by obtaining the part-time services of such a person in lieu of obtaining such services from a person not presently employed by the State.
The chief executive officer of the department or agency employing the person in the class of exceptions shall certify in writing that the person whose services are desired is available to perform such services, that the performances of such services will not detract nor have a detrimental effect on the performance of the person's employment, and, where appropriate, that the part-time employment of this person will be in the best interest of the State.
The two departments or agencies involved will then agree on the procedures under which the Employee shall perform the additional services. The agreement shall specify the means of employment, whether as a part-time employee or as a consultant, the compensation, and other pertinent details and conditions of the employment relationship. The agreement may be terminated at any time by either of the parties to the agreement.