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Consulting Principles

Consulting privileges are limited to the professorial staff and there are many reasons why faculty members should engage in outside consulting work. It is desirable that they remain in close communication with the world outside the institution and especially with that part of the world concerned with their area of specialization.

Consulting is a means of maintaining this liaison as well as of offering solutions to practical problems and thereby testing the soundness of theories taught in the 91 classroom and laboratories. While consulting activities often enhance a faculty member's value to Cornell, it can result in conflicts of interest and conflicts of commitment which compromise the faculty member and the institution.

In private consulting it must be kept clear that the faculty member does not represent the university. Private consulting activities of faculty members must be viewed in relation to their overall responsibilities to Cornell, and should not become so extensive that they interfere with those responsibilities.


Full-time faculty members must inform their department chairpersons of all plans to do private consulting for which they are compensated. Unless the regular duties include consulting services to the public, each full-time professor may engage in private consulting work, provided such work, in the judgment of the department chairperson and in accordance with the principles stated above, enhances the value of the individual to the university and does not interfere with regular university duties. Consulting work of an unusual nature may be undertaken only when approved by the dean of the faculty member's college. The law establishing the contract colleges requires faculty members in those colleges to perform teaching, research, and extension duties.

Faculty members in contract units should therefore check with their department chairpersons before consulting for a fee with New York State corporations or organizations that may be entitled to extension help without cost.

For faculty members in the New York State College of Agriculture and Life sciences on 9 month appointments, the maximum consulting days are 18 during the academic year. For Faculty members on 12 month appointments, the maximum consulting days are 24 during the fiscal year. The time that a faculty member is allowed to consult does not accumulate from year to year. Consulting involving time beyond that allowed, or necessitating an absence from the campus longer than seven consecutive days, may be undertaken only when approved by the dean of the faculty member's school or college.

Note: Individual schools, colleges or divisions may have promulgated additional consulting rules consistent with the Cornell University 92 Conflicts Policy. Such supplemental rules may be obtained from the individual schools, colleges or divisions.

Use of University Equipment for Private Consulting or Research

The following university guidelines were adopted by the Deans' Council on April 7, 1981: Faculty members who have external private consulting or research arrangements which involve personal financial gain, may use university equipment for such purposes only after the approval of the department chairperson, director, or dean. Approval will be contingent on the establishment of a service charge by the unit providing the service where such a charge is appropriate. If such charges are on a continuing basis, they should be discussed with the Controller's Office.