This document is intended solely as guidance and does not contain any mandatory requirements except where requirements found in statute or administrative rule are referenced. This guidance does not establish or affect legal rights or obligations and is not finally determinative of any of the issues addressed. This guidance does not create any rights enforceable by any party in litigation with the State of Wisconsin or the Board of Regents. Any decisions made by the Board of Regents in any matter addressed by this guidance will be made by applying the governing statutes and administrative rules to the relevant facts

Original Issuance Date: February 27, 2020

Last Revision Date:   October 6, 2023 

1. Purpose of Guidelines 

These guidelines support UW System Administrative Policy 1290, Code of Ethics and describe specific requirements for reporting outside activities. 

2. Publishing Office(s) 

UW System Office of Human Resources 

3. Affected Stakeholders on Campus  

It is the policy of the University of Wisconsin System to require a report from all unclassified staff whose appointments are half-time or more. Chapter UWS 8 of the Wisconsin Administrative Code defines unclassified staff as faculty, academic staff and limited appointees who are not State Public Officials1. If you have a joint appointment, you must file a report for each department/unit.  

4. Primary Responsibility 

You are required to report officerships, directorships, ownership interests, outside professional activities, and remunerative activities that occur at any time during the year, even if you are not under contract to the University for part of that time. If, during the year, changes in your reportable outside activities occur, you should immediately inform, in writing, your dean, director or other appropriate administrator. This information shall be placed on file with your annual statement of outside interests. The due date for the annual report is April 30th each year.

Outside professional activities may not create a conflict of commitment with your UW System primary duties.  If your aggregate time commitment to one or more outside professional activities will exceed an average of 16 hours per calendar month during hours that you would be normally on duty in your UWS position, you must receive prior written permission from your supervisor.  

5. Guidelines  

A. Reporting Responsibilities

I. Those activities which are reportable under UWS 8.025 include:  

    1. Remunerative Relationships : Professionally related outside activities occurring at any time during the year, for which you received remuneration, not including ordinary professional activities (see below). 
      • The names of organizations or businesses for which remunerative outside activities were performed, the type of activity (consulting, teaching, research, writing, etc.), the aggregate time spent in that activity, and whether you received $5,000 or more compensation per year from a single source. 
      • Royalties from writing and patents need be reported only in the year that they first appear.  
      • If you believe you should not publicly identify the name of the organization, you must receive approval from your dean to withhold the name (e.g., if revealing the name would be damaging to the organization’s legitimate competitive interests). 
      • If you have received compensation from a nongovernmental sponsor of university research, teaching or training for which you are principal investigator, check the box at the bottom of Section A, Remunerative Relationships and list the name of the sponsor.
    2. Officerships and Directorships: Officerships, directorships, trusteeships that you or members of your immediate family hold in businesses or commercial organizations related to your professional field.   
    3. Ownership Interests: Ownership interests in organizations related to your academic area of specialization, provided that your immediate family collectively owns more than 10% of the equity.  

II. Those activities which need not be reported include:   

    1. Activities for which remuneration comes from university administered funds (e.g., teaching and innovation awards, etc.).       
    2. Remunerative ordinary professional activities which extend an unclassified staff member’s normal institutional responsibilities of teaching, research and service to serving other public institutions, organizations, and professional societies.  
      • Occasional lectures, colloquia, seminars, etc., given at colleges and universities and at meetings of professional societies. 
      • Preparation of monographs, chapters and editorial services for nonprofit educational organizations. 
      • Service on advisory committees and evaluation panels for government funding agencies, nonprofit foundations and educational organizations.
      • Leadership positions in professional societies.

 B. Definitions 

A remunerative relationship is any relationship that results in payments, transfer of goods or provision of services to the reporting staff member.  

An organization is any corporation, partnership, proprietorship, firm, enterprise, franchise, association, trust or the legal entity other than an individual or body politic (see Wis. Admin. Code § UWS 8.02(12)).  

Professionally related activities are activities related to the staff members’ field of academic interest or specialization.  

C. Reviewer Responsibilities

  1. Managers and Supervisors (or other individual designated by the institution to review outside activity reports) are responsible for reviewing the information provided on outside activity reports submitted by employees and determining whether any reported activities may pose potential conflicts of interest. If the potential for conflict does exist, the manager should meet with the employee to provide guidance on how to avoid conflicts of interest and, if necessary, create a conflict management plan in writing. The reviewer may determine that a conflict does exist and cannot be avoided, in which case the employee should be advised to terminate the activity that causes the conflict.
    1. Institutions are expected to assess, as part of the review of an outside activity report, how an employee’s time commitment to outside activities may impact their expected contributions to the UW System.  The evaluation of a potential conflict of commitment should be a part of the review of an outside activity report.  If an employee’s aggregate time commitment to outside activities will exceed an average of 16 hours per calendar month during hours that the employee would normally be on-duty in their UWS position, the employee must receive prior written permission from their supervisor.  Individual institutions or departments may impose stricter time limitations, reflecting the local needs and concerns.  Supervisors are encouraged to have a written conflict management plan in place in circumstances that may give rise to a conflict of commitment.  
    2. No faculty member or instructional academic staff member shall be absent from their assigned classes, assigned service work or other regular instructional duties for the purpose of engaging in an outside activity, except by the permission of the chancellor or appropriate dean.   

D. Institutional Ethics Committees

Wisconsin Administrative Code UWS 8.035 requires that each institution have an institutional ethics committee, “whose function shall be to provide to any member of the unclassified staff consultation and advice on the application” of Chapter UWS 8 Unclassified Staff Code of Ethics. The institutional ethics committee may either be established or designated as part of an existing committee.  

6. Contact  

UW System Office of Human Resources 

7. Guidelines History  

Revision 3:   October 6, 2023 

Revision 2: September 21, 2021 

Revision 1: October 7, 2020 

Original Issuance: February 27, 2020 


*Before this date, these guidelines were published as Appendix 1 of SYS 1290, Code of Ethics. 

8. Scheduled Review  

October 2025