Policy 49 – Extra-University Activity (Faculty Members)

Established: April 3, 1973

​Last Updated: February 1, 2011

Class: F

1. Full-Time Faculty Appointments at the University of Waterloo

This document is designed to assist members of faculty and the administration in understanding what may or may not be appropriate by way of extra-University activity. The guidelines given in Section 2 are intended to supplement the statement on the responsibilities of full-time faculty excerpted from Policy 76 below.
“Regular full-time faculty in the professorial ranks are normally assigned formal teaching duties in two of the three terms in which the University operates, but are expected to engage in scholarship, supervise students as required, and contribute to University service throughout the year. During a term for which formal teaching duties are not assigned, faculty members are expected to increase their scholarly activity. In special circumstances, a faculty member and the department Chair may arrange a different assignment of responsibilities. Any such arrangement must be documented and must have the formal approval of the Faculty Dean. Full-time faculty appointments are 12-month appointments which carry an obligation for some combination of teaching, scholarship and University service throughout the full year, excepting annual paid vacation.”

2. Extra-University Activities

A. General

It is well known and generally accepted that extra-University involvement has certain positive characteristics and can play an important role in the academic life of the University. For instance it can:

  1. promote interaction between the University and the non-University world to the benefit of both;
  2. facilitate the placing of students in temporary or permanent employment;
  3. aid in the discovery of research and thesis problems;
  4. contribute to the professional development of a faculty member through the acquisition of new skills and techniques;
  5. provide an additional opportunity for the faculty member to apply knowledge to practical situations.

In order that a faculty member may properly fulfill responsibilities to the University, in the areas of teaching, research and administration, such activities beyond normal commitments should not be excessive. Extra-University activities may produce consequences that are not to be measured merely in terms of hours expended. The distraction of non-University occupations, the expenditure of emotional energies, the obligations contingent on accepting external fees and salaries may all interfere in the proper discharge of the primary, University duties. Beyond the individual's responsibility for judging when this is happening and altering arrangements accordingly, there is an administrative responsibility for making such judgment. In order to assist both the faculty member and Chair and/or Dean the following guidelines are offered.

B. Guidelines

  1. Each case should be considered on its own but the overriding consideration in determining whether a given activity is proper is whether it impinges on the performance of those duties which are the prime responsibility of a faculty member.
  2. Consulting, research or teaching for which extra payment may be received or on which considerable time is expended, may be desirable because this activity contributes in an essential way to the intellectual development of the faculty member and/or students. This is especially relevant in those areas involved in the training and supervision of graduate and undergraduate students in a field setting.
  3. Extra-University work which is the subject of a contract involving the University will be covered by a separate document countersigned by the University but the guidelines outlined below apply to this kind of activity also.
  4. Regular appointments to the University must be construed as constituting a full-time occupation. Given this understanding, any extra-University occupation that requires more than one work day a week should be examined and judged very carefully. It is the responsibility of the individual faculty member to inform the department Chair and Dean concerning any activities where expenditure of time is substantial.
  5. Where use of University space or equipment is involved, permission must be sought from the appropriate University authority. Where permission is granted, overhead charges will be assessed by the University where such charges are appropriate.

Note: Faculty members should be aware that the Board of Governors Bylaw 1 stipulates that a university employee will be indemnified by the university when acting “in or about the execution of duties of his/her office or employment provided he or she acted honestly and in good faith with a view to the best interests of the University.”  Whether a particular activity is within the scope of employment may be difficult to determine in advance; the traditional legal definition is that this scope includes “activities that fairly and reasonably may be said to be incident to the employment or logically and naturally connected to it” [Black’s Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition].

Activities that are outside the scope of employment and not indemnified include consulting and professional services where UW is not a signatory to the contract, consulting or other services for which a faculty member receives payment personally, and activity on non-university boards and committees that is not incident to employment at UW.