Oct. 20, 2011

Four policies that should be on your radar

by Anne Krapfl

Changes to Iowa State's former conflict of interest policy that took effect July 1 add the concept of a conflict of commitment (i.e. time, effort), define key terms -- such as professional activity leave -- and require a written plan in some situations for managing, reducing or eliminating the conflict. The revised Conflicts of Interest and Commitment Policy is among several university policies that executive vice president and provost Elizabeth Hoffman selected to remind employees of this fall. Two of the four are new policies in 2011; the other two received significant revisions in the last 10 months.

Here's a quick look at four university policies that may alter how you do your job from previous years:

Revised: Conflicts of Interest and Commitment Policy, effective July 1, 2011.
Outlines the external activities and financial interests that must be disclosed if they have potential to adversely impact an employee's objectivity, job performance or use of state resources.
Who it's for: All employees
Why it matters: Regularly disclosing, reviewing and approving an employee's outside activities protects him or her from subsequent accusations of impropriety about those activities.
Procedures, Applications and Guidance (PDF)

New: Salary Adjustments Policy, effective Jan. 14, 2011.
Ties performance-based salary increases to written performance evaluations, and market- or equity-based adjustments to university-approved market data, and improves communication about salary adjustments.
Who it's for: Faculty, P&S staff, employees on contract and post docs
Why it matters: The "one-size-fits-most" approach to awarding salary increases is gone. Each employee will know how his or her salary increase was determined. Supervisors have some freedom to reward high performers and an obligation to address poor performances.
Inside Iowa State article

New: Effort Reporting and Certification Policy, effective Feb. 1, 2011.
The federal government requires that labor charged to federally sponsored research reflects actual work performed -- and at the time it was performed.
Who it's for: Any employee whose salary is at least partially covered by a federal grant; primary investigators are responsible to certify the work efforts of everyone on their research teams.
Why it matters: At risk is a damaged reputation for the university among federal funding agencies and the loss of hundreds of thousands of grant dollars.
Inside Iowa State article

Revised: Post-Tenure Review Policy, effective April 7, 2011.
Adds to the basic concept of peer review of tenured faculty a timeline, options for outcomes and the responsibility of various administrators in the review process.
Who it's for: Tenured faculty (full-time and part-time)
Why it matters: The revised review process rewards superior performance by faculty with a special salary increment and provides constructive feedback for improvement to faculty falling below expectations. Ignoring this peer-review requirement or failing to implement a performance improvement plan could lead to a charge of unacceptable performance of duty.