Conflict of Interest and Commitment

As part of its educational and service missions, Appalachian State University is committed to serving the wider community through research, consulting, and participation in other activities. However, the University is also required to ensure that these activities are conducted in ways that are consistent with federal and state law as well as the University's interests. The interests and commitments of the various parties engaged in external activities are complex and occasionally may conflict with or compromise an employee's responsibilities to the University. Such conflicts are not necessarily prohibited – but they do require disclosure and discussion to ensure that the interests of all parties are addressed.

If you need assistance during the annual disclosure process, staff from the Office of Research Protections will be available during the month of September in the following locations:

9/4 - 1:00-3:00 - Sanford Hall (Language Lab 504)
9/5 - 9:00-12:00 - Anne Belk Hall (room 232)
9/5 - 1:00-3:30 - Walker Hall (room 220A)
9/6 - 8:30-11:30 - RCOE (RESE conference room 308)
9/6 - 1:00-3:00 - Rankin Hall (RSW 158)
9/7 - 9:00-11:30 - Holmes (room 66)
9/7 - 3:00-5:00 - Garwood Hall (room 150)
9/10 - 12:00-1:30 - IG Greer (room 116)
9/10 - 3:00-5:00 - Living Learning Center (room 105)
9/11 - 8:30-11:00 - Smith Wright Hall (conference room)
9/11 - 2:00-4:00 - Katherine Harper Hall (Little 7)
9/12 - 8:30-11:30 - Peacock Hall (room 4100)
9/12 - 1:00-3:00 - Chapel Wilson (room 206)
9/13 - 8:30-10:30 - Wey Hall (Conference room)
9/13 - 1:00 - 3:00 - Broyhill Music Center (room 213)
9/13 - 3:00-5:00 - Athletics Center (room 4042)
9/27 - 8:30-11:30 - Leon Levine Hall (room 252)

Conflict of Interest Basics

Definition of Conflict of Interest

Relates to situations in which financial or other personal considerations, circumstances, or relationships may compromise, may involve the potential for compromising, or may have the appearance of compromising a Covered Employee’s objectivity in fulfilling their University Employment Responsibilities. The bias that such conflicts may impart can affect many University responsibilities, including decisions about personnel, the purchase of equipment and other supplies, the selection of instructional materials for classroom use, the collection, analysis and interpretation of data, the sharing of research results, the choice of research protocols, the use of statistical methods, and the mentoring and judgment of student work.

Definiton of Conflict of Commitment

The term “Conflict of Commitment” relates to the distribution of effort between one’s University appointment and one’s outside activities. The latter may include professionally related activities such as involvement with professional societies, participation on review panels, and external professional activities for pay. These activities often promote professional development.


Who Should Disclose?

Conflicts of Interest and Commitment, applies to:

  • Faculty (9 month, 12 month, and part-time), including adjunct faculty members.
  • EHRA staff members
  • Research personnel involved in the design, conduct, or reporting of a funded research project, contract, sub-contract, or other agreement.
  • Individuals responsible for the design, conduct, or reporting of a Public Health Service (PHS) funded research project are also required to disclose sponsored travel and paid authorships.

Disclosures must include the Significant Financial Interests of family members (i.e., spouse, siblings and dependent children).

What To Report
  • Publicly Traded Companies
    • Ownership of stock, options, etc. from any entity during the preceding 12 months, for you and your family members that appears to be related to your institutional responsibilities.
    • Note: Investments in which you do not directly control investment decisions, such as mutual funds or retirement accounts, do not need to be disclosed.
  • Privately Held or Nonprofit Companies
    • Any ownership or equity interest from any entity whose stock is not publicly traded, by you and your family members that appears to be related to your institutional responsibilities.
  • Other Financial Interests
    • Any secondary employment that is related to your professional responsibilities at the university.  Examples would include: private consulting, serving on a board of directors, speaking engagement, etc. Note: This reporting is in addition to the separate prior notification and approval requirements for SHRA and EHRA employees.
    • Royalties from textbooks or other scholarly works
  • Intellectual Property Rights
    • Intellectual Property (IP) in which you or your family members, have an existing or proposed licensing interest.
    • IP rights held (or in negotiation) for a pending or issued patent in which you or your family members are listed as inventors.
      • Excluding IP held by ASU.
  • External Roles
    • Paid or unpaid positions of influence, by you or your family members, with an entity in which the interests of the entity appear related to your institutional responsibilities (i.e. CEO, President, Scientific Advisory Board member, etc.).
  • Student Involvement or Supervisory Roles
    • Situations in which an activity could create a potential conflict of interest or commitment with respect to a faculty member’s mentorship responsibility.
    • Textbook or course material selection that results in receipt of royalties or other potential financial conflicts of interest.
  • Sponsored Travel (PHS only)
    • Any reimbursed or sponsored travel whose aggregate value paid or reimbursed by any single entity meets or exceeds $5,000 in the prior twelve months, except travel that is reimbursed or sponsored by a Federal, state, or local government agency, an institution of higher education, an academic teaching hospital, a medical center, or a research institute that is affiliated with an institution of higher education.
When Should you Disclose?
  • Annually (October 1st deadline)
  • At the time of research project proposal
  • At each new increment of research project funding
  • Within thirty (30) days of discovering or acquiring any financial interests for which disclosure is required
  • Prior to engaging in External Professional Activities for Pay (EPAP)
How do You Submit Your Disclosure?

All disclosures should be made using the Activities, Interests, & Relationships (AIR) online system.

  • Annual disclosures: required from all EPA faculty/staff, and should be made through the “COI Disclosure Annual” link in AIR. Annual email reminders will be sent prior to the October 1st deadline. (Note: all annual disclosures must be submitted via AIR.)
  • EPAP disclosures: should be made through the appropriate links in AIR, prior to engaging in the outside activity. These disclosures are self-initiated.
  • Project specific disclosures: A separate COI disclosure is required for each research project. A unique link will be sent via email for each person on each project once the proposal is submitted. A COI disclosure must be received from all listed personnel before the proposal will be sent to the funding agency/sponsor.
COI Annual and EPAP Disclosure Tutorials


Director of Research Protections
Robin Tyndall

Assistant Director of IACUC and IBC Programs
Shante' Mathes

Compliance Coordinator
Dennis Gabriels

QEP Global Learning