Cliff's Consulting

Cliff is a junior faculty member in the History department who was recently hired to teach multiple sections of his specialty, Greek history. Cliff is also a talented web designer, and to make extra money, he recently entered into an outside consulting agreement with a company to design its website. The extra work is keeping him up very late at night, and to meet the company deadlines, he also uses many of his office hours to work on the website. Cliff is so tired that he is barely able to stay focused when lecturing. His students have been complaining that he is falling behind with grading, and his colleagues have also expressed concern about his lack of participation in department meetings.

Should Cliff continue with his consulting arrangement while still a full-time employee of the University? (You may select more than one option.)

A. No. Cliff should make sure his outside interests do not interfere with his University responsibilities.
B. No. Cliff is not being respectful to his students and colleagues.
C. Yes. Cliff is probably just tired from having to teach so many sections of Greek history. 
D. No. Cliff is misusing University resources to work on outside activities for personal gain.


The best answers are A, B, and D.


The following Standards of Ethical Conduct apply:

3. Respect for Others

6. Conflicts of Interest or Commitment

10. Use of University Resources

While University employees may be able to hold outside jobs and enter into outside consulting agreements, Cliff’s primary problem in this scenario is that his outside interests are affecting his duties as a University employee. Because he is not fully participating in teaching/learning opportunities, either as a lecturer and as a colleague, he is not demonstrating respect for his colleagues and students. He is also misusing University time and resources for personal gain.

If you have questions about whether or not an outside professional activity is appropriate, you should ask your supervisor or the Academic Personnel office.