In a modern research university operating in an increasingly complex society, conflicts of commitment and interest are common and practically unavoidable. Therefore, these topics deserve a separate chapter in the faculty handbook.
It is the policy of Koç University that faculty members, in addition to its officers, staff and others acting on its behalf, have the obligation to avoid ethical, legal, financial, or other conflicts of interest and to ensure that their activities and interests do not conflict with their obligations to the institution or jeopardize its welfare. Koç University faculty owe their primary professional allegiance to the University, and their primary commitment of time and intellectual energies should be directed towards the education, research and scholarship programs of the institution. Therefore, it is the intention of this policy to increase the awareness of faculty, staff and students to the potential for conflicts of interest and commitment and to establish procedures whereby such conflicts may be avoided or properly managed.
In order to ensure effective administration and adherence to this policy, faculty members and academic research staff are urged to read the document in its entirety, in order to fully understand the spirit of this policy and must annually submit a brief statement acknowledging in writing, their knowledge of the policy and disclosing their outside activities and interests, including financial interests, that might give rise to conflicts.
For the sake of clarification and elimination of misunderstandings in the future, the definitions of conflicts of commitment and interest as perceived by the University and its administration are as follows:
Conflict of Commitment: Conflicts of commitment usually involve issues of time allocation. Attempts of faculty to balance University responsibilities with external activities – such as consulting, public service or pro bono work – can result in conflicts regarding allocation of time and energies. Whenever an individual’s outside consulting activities exceed the permitted limits (normally one day per week), or whenever a full-time faculty member’s primary professional loyalty is not to Koç University, a conflict of commitment exists.
Conflict of Interest: A conflict of interest occurs when there is a divergence between the private interests of an individual and his/her professional obligations to the University, such that an independent observer might reasonably question whether the professional actions or decisions of the individual are or may be determined by considerations of personal gain, financial or otherwise. Conflicts of interest can arise naturally from the engagement of an individual with the world outside the University, and the mere existence of a conflict of interest does not necessarily imply wrongdoing on the part of anyone. When conflicts of interest do arise, however, they must be recognized, disclosed and either eliminated or properly managed.