Policy Manual

Guidelines for Extramural Activities, Associations and Conflict of Interest for Staff


The University of Pennsylvania recognizes that employees may have or acquire by virtue of their University positions knowledge and expertise that can be of value to extramural organizations, public or private, and to other departments within the University. Appropriate associations with government agencies, professional organizations and other extramural organizations can contribute to the development of the employee's professional capabilities and to the fulfillment of the University's public service responsibilities and may bring credit to the University. Appropriate associations with other University departments may also contribute to the "One University" concept and aid overall University communications, understanding and efficiency. Consequently, the University permits and encourages such associations, subject to constraints and limitations imposed by the need to avoid conflicts of interest. The purpose of this policy is to describe these constraints and limitations and to present guidelines and procedures by which conflict of interest is to be avoided.


Most University officers encourage many of their administrative and professional staff to attend professional associations and to engage in the kinds of limited teaching and consulting arrangements that further develop the capabilities for which the staff members are employed. It is not intended that these policies and procedures hinder such activities.

A. Extramural Activities

Extramural activities, associations or interests are those that extend outside the University and that can constitute real or apparent conflicts of interest.

Extramural activities include:

Part-time engagements, with or without compensation, as a technical or professional consultant, practitioner or teacher in other firms or organizations;

Significant stock holdings or other financial interests, and/or official positions in outside firms or organizations, regardless of work or services performed in those firms or organizations. Such relationships are of concern if either: (1) the firm or organization's activities parallel those in which the University is engaged and in which the administrator plays a role; or (2) the firm or organization has a present or prospective relationship with the University e.g., as a supplier of goods or services or as a party to a research contract that may involve the employee in his/her administrative or professional capacity.

B. Intramural Activities

Intramural activities, associations or interests are those within the University but outside of the primary office or department of the employee. Intramural activities include consulting work or part-time teaching performed by a staff member for another University department either during the course of the normal workweek or outside of normal working hours. See Additional Pay (Extra Compensation) - Policy 305.

C. Conflict of Interest

A conflict of interest occurs when University resources including staff time, funds, University reputation or other University assets are diverted from, or made less effective in, their intended purposes by virtue of an individual's activities, associations or interest outside his/her primary University affiliation. Conflicts of interest include, for example:

Improprieties such as exploiting information or authority derived from one's official University capacity for the purpose of private gain;

Engaging in outside activities to a degree that impairs one's commitment to and effectiveness at the University;

Use of University resources, e.g., clerical, travel funds, supplies in extramural activities;

Using the University name or affiliation for pursuit of personal financial or political gain, or for the purpose of enhancing the prestige of an extramural activity.

Conflict of interest is not a precise term, and it is subject to interpretation of degree. That is, an activity or interest may be deemed a conflict of interest when practiced with regularity and not so when practiced only rarely or in such a way as to constitute no possible diversion of resources or diminution of effort. Similarly, although activities such as teaching in the University without compensation or serving on national advisory panels can become "conflicts of interest" because of the diversion of time and effort, there will generally be a considerably greater tolerance for such extramural or intramural activities that do not bring direct private gain than for those that either do or might.


All extramural and intramural activities should be cleared through the individual's immediate supervisor when these activities constitute a possible conflict of interest as defined in Section 006.2 and the Conflict of Interest Policy 005. Written documentation should be provided by the employees explaining the extramural and intramural activity. Documentation supporting the activity must be signed by the employee and the supervisor. The documentation should have a specific end date (no later than one year but subject to renewal). It is the employee’s responsibility to update the documentation if the reporting relationship changes (such as a new supervisor).

Extramural activities may not divert or diminish the work of a staff member, nor draw on University resources except incidentally and never to the detriment of the University. It is particularly important that extramural activities not use University supplies, telephone, postage, and the like, nor, except incidentally, space or clerical facilities unless full reimbursement is documented.

Intramural activity during a portion of the normal working day (for example, a regular part-time teaching assignment) may provide a source for part of the individual's compensation, but should not normally provide compensation at a rate in excess of the regular full-time compensatory rate. Exceptions to this policy must be approved by the provost or dean or by the appropriate vice president. In no case may an individual be paid from any University source without a compensation plan being approved first by Human Resources.

Policy Number: 006
Effective Date: 03/31/2010
Revised Date: 03/21/2019
Last Reviewed: 07/01/2019
Supersedes Policy Number(s): N/A
Applicability: All University Employees
Cross-reference: Adherence to University Policy - Policy 001, Safeguarding University Assets - Policy 002, Uses of University Resources - 003, Conflict of Interest - Policy 005Additional Pay (Extra Compensation) - Policy 305

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