The university has adopted the following policy regarding consulting by faculty:

Danforth Campus

In common with most academic institutions, Washington University in St. Louis permits faculty members in most of its schools to engage in a reasonable amount of external professional activity that may be compensated from external sources.

The university does not concern itself with the amount of external compensation the faculty member receives for consulting services, but it is of course a legitimate concern of the university that excessive amounts of time are not taken away from normal university duties.

It has been Washington University practice since the 1940’s that a faculty member (except Medicine) may engage in such external activities not to exceed an average of one day per week with the understanding that his/her scheduled university activities including, of course, classes, oral examinations and scheduled advising activities, take precedence in the scheduling of his/her time.

The department chairperson is held responsible for monitoring these activities in his/her department. When he/she has questions concerning particular situations, he/she should consult the dean and, if desired, the executive vice chancellor or any other representative appointed by the chancellor.

There will be occasions when it is considered desirable for a faculty member to engage more extensively in external activities. A part-time or full leave of absence with corresponding reduction in university duties is then appropriate. So long as the university is willing to extend the leave of absence, there is no necessary alteration of tenure status. But where a faculty member wishes to continue substantial involvement (i.e., more than one day per week) in external activities beyond the period over which the university will extend a leave of absence, he/she may do so by resigning his/her tenure.

Medical Campus

In common with most academic institutions, Washington University permits faculty members in most of its schools to engage in a reasonable amount of external professional activity that may be compensated from external sources.

The university does not concern itself with the amount of external compensation the faculty member receives for consulting services, but it is of course a legitimate concern of the university that:

  • Excessive amounts of time are not taken away from normal university duties;
  • Material conflicts of interest arising from the faculty member’s personally-compensated, external professional activities (“personal external activities”) are avoided or appropriately managed; and
  • Such personal external activities do not inadvertently create university obligations to third parties.

The Washington University policy is that faculty members may engage in such personal external activities up to an average of one day per week so long as those personal external activities comport with the Conflict of Interest Policy, do not inadvertently create institutional obligations to third parties and do not interfere with the faculty member’s discharge of his/her duties to the university in clinical practice, research, teaching and/or administration. In this connection, it is not permissible for a faculty member to use the day per week permitted for external consulting to generate additional personal compensation derived from clinical care. In all cases, the faculty member’s department head shall have sole discretion to determine if the faculty member’s personal external activities unduly interfere with any of their university duties.

There will be occasions when it is considered desirable for a faculty member to engage more extensively in external activities. A part-time or full leave of absence with a corresponding reduction in university duties is then appropriate. So long as the university is willing to extend the leave of absence, there is no necessary alteration of tenure status. But where a faculty member wishes to continue substantial involvement (i.e., more than one day per week) in external activities beyond the period over which the university will extend a leave of absence, he/she may do so by resigning his/her tenure.

Updated April 2000