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OSU Extension

College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Work Outside the University Policy Statement

Work outside the university may not create a conflict of interest or compete with services provided by the university.


Work outside the university which includes consulting activities is intended to benefit all parties involved: OSU gains recognition outside the university community, the people of Ohio benefit from the dissemination of knowledge and technology, and the faculty or staff member gains experience and recognition.

Ohio State University Extension’s mission is the delivery of educational programs and services to Ohio citizens, businesses and communities. Extension is funded by state, county, and federal taxes and has the responsibility to provide educational programs and services to clientele beyond the boundaries of The Ohio State University campuses in a variety of settings. Activities which for university employees in other departments might constitute appropriate consulting opportunities, for Extension employees are considered part of Extension’s mandate. Therefore, Extension employees are not permitted to accept payment from any persons, firms or governmental agencies for providing services that would normally be considered part of their Extension duties.

To meet the diverse needs of Extension clientele in Ohio, it is often necessary for faculty and staff to conduct programs during evening and weekend hours as part of their Extension responsibilities. Therefore, the work day and work week are fluid concepts for Extension faculty and staff.

Guidelines for Work Outside the University

University policy permits faculty to devote up to one business day per week to consulting activities and to be compensated for that activity, with appropriate approvals. Non-faculty staff, with appropriate approvals, must conduct consulting activities outside their predetermined work schedule or take vacation. Because of Ohio State’s land-grant mission, Extension faculty and staff consulting opportunities are more limited than other university employees. Therefore, OSU Extension administration has determined it will exercise its option to implement guidelines more restrictive than the university’s. As a general rule, OSU Extension faculty/staff may not engage in consulting activities of any kind unless they obtain prior written approval from the department chair and vice president.

Approval, will be given only if the following conditions are met:

  1. Services are provided outside Ohio to non-Ohio firms or persons
  2. In Ohio, the faculty/staff member can clearly demonstrate that services to be provided:
    a. are not within the realm of current or potential OSU Extension programming, and
    b. do not compete with The Ohio State University and that they benefit Ohio State as well.

Work outside the university that is not within the current or potential realm of Extension programming does not require approval by OSU Extension. When any consulting or outside employment interferes with performing expected OSU Extension job responsibilities, this is considered a conflict of commitment and must be addressed by the supervisor and appropriate administrators.


A faculty/staff member who requests approval for receiving compensation for work outside the university must document in writing how the proposed activity satisfies the conditions of:

  • Services provided outside of Ohio to non-Ohio firms or persons
  • Services, if provided within Ohio are not within the realm of current or potential OSU Extension programming and do not compete with Ohio State University and that they benefit Ohio State.

Prior approval is required; the appropriate university form must be completed. Each non-continuing activity during a fiscal year requires a separate form. An approved ongoing activity that continues into another fiscal year requires a new form.

If there is doubt about the appropriateness of any paid employment, the faculty/staff member should discuss the issue with his/her supervisor.

Faculty/staff may not use OSU Extension job title, letterhead, facilities, equipment and other resources to identify or support external consulting opportunities.

Approvals Required for Consulting

  • County/district faculty/staff – county director, regional director, Extension department chair, vice president
  • State faculty/staff – TIU department chair, Extension assistant director, director, vice president

Links to university-related websites:

For Policy on Paid External Consulting, please see the OAA Policies and Procedures Handbook.

Approved October 2001 – OSU Extension Administrative Cabinet
Updated March 2009 – OSU Extension Administrative Cabinet
Revised/updated December 2012 – OSU Extension Administrative Cabinet
Updated – March 2013; reviewed – March 2015