ERIC Identifier: ED284521
Publication Date: 1986-00-00
Author: Boyer, Carol M. - Lewis, Darrell R.
Association for the Study of Higher Education.| ERIC
Clearinghouse on Higher Education Washington DC.
Faculty Consulting and Supplemental Income. ERIC Digest.
Faculty consulting has long been recognized as a legitimate expression
of the traditional faculty role and mission of most academic institutions.
Recently, however, concern about the appropriateness of faculty consulting and
other activities producing supplemental income has increased as (1) such
activity reportedly has increased, (2) public sentiment toward postsecondary
education has changed, and (3) greater accountability has been called for. The
central concern appears to be whether faculty consulting and other supplemental
income activities result in "shirking. . . (other) university responsibilities.
. ." The basis for such concern is not with the earning of supplemental income
per se, but with the earning of supplemental income on university time--what
some observers perceive as "double dipping."
On one side are those who argue that faculty consulting might result in
neglect of students and other university responsibilities, abuses of academic
freedom, conflicts of interest, and illegitimate use of institutional resources.
On the other side are those who argue that faculty consulting enhances both
research and teaching, that conflicts of interest and other abuses are very
uncommon, and that faculty consulting benefits both the institution and society
as well as the individual.
Until recently, much of the argument both for and against outside
professional consulting has been inconclusive because of the anecdotal or
speculative nature of evidence that could be brought to bear on the nature, the
intent, or the extent of such activity. To complicate matters further, faculty
consulting often has been grouped with "other moonlighting activities." To
address public and institutional concern about faculty consulting and to inform
policy deliberations on such activity, it is important to discriminate between
consulting and all other activities that generate supplemental income.
SIX BASIC ISSUES
In view of current economic and demographic conditions as well as forecasts
for higher education, the debate and policy concerns about faculty consulting
and other supplemental income activities are likely to intensify. Basically, the
debate involves six important issues:
--Who are the faculty who consult? --Is faculty consulting increasing? --Are
faculty who consult shirking their responsibilities on campus? --Are faculty
exploiting their consulting opportunities to substantially increase their total
earnings? --Are faculty motivated to consult primarily for economic reasons?
--Are most institutional policies and procedures adequate for governing faculty
consulting and other activities producing supplemental income?
In addressing these issues, this report has three additional, related
objectives: first, to extend existing knowledge about outside professional
consulting as a faculty activity--where it is done, how much of it, by whom, and
with what benefits and costs; second, to contribute further to our understanding
of the role of supplemental income vis-a-vis the division of academic labor both
among and within institutions; and third, to contribute to more informed policy
development and decision making concerning these matters within colleges and
Who are the faculty who consult? The evidence presented in this report shows
that, compared to their faculty colleagues who do not consult, faculty who
consult for pay are more likely to be employed in universities than in colleges,
to hold higher academic rank, to have higher base saleries, to be among the more
distinguished faculty, and to be from one of the professional fields or the
Is faculty consulting increasing? Data from a number of institutional and
national surveys indicate that, contrary to conventional wisdom, faculty
consulting does not appear to be increasing appreciably, even though real
faculty salaries have significantly declined in the past decade or so. From the
research literature, it appears that approximately 35 to 50 percent of all
faculty devote some portion of their time to professional consulting over the
course of any two-year period, with only 15 to 20 percent consulting during a
given academic year. Further, it appears that these proportions have remained
relatively constant during the past decade.
Are faculty who consult shirking their responsibilities on campus? The
available evidence clearly suggests that those faculty who do consult are, on
average, at least as active in their other faculty roles as their peers who do
not consult. Faculty who consult, compared to their peers who do not, teach as
many courses and devote as much of their professional work time to teaching and
research, pay more attention to issues of national importance, publish more,
subscribe to more professional journals, are more satisfied with their careers
and their institutions, and are at least as active in departmental and
institutional governance. only about 5 to 6 percent of all faculty report
consulting more than one day per week. In short, it seems that faculty who do
consult do so not at the expense of their other institutional governance.
Further, only about 5 to 6 percent of all faculty report consulting more than
one day per week. In short, it seems that faculty who do consult do not do so at
the expense of their other institutional responsibilities.
WHAT MOTIVATES FACULTY MEMBERS TO CONSULT?
Are faculty exploiting their consulting opportunities to substantially
increase their total earnings? Sixty to 85 percent of all faculty report
receiving some income beyond their base academic salaries. Supplemental income
results from all forms of income-generating activities (for example, research
and teaching during the summer months as well as consulting) and is earned both
within and outside of the institution. The amount represents only about 15
percent of average basic academic salaries. About half of all college and
university faculty report having some form of "outside" supplemental income
during a given year.
As for consulting specifically, it is estimated that half of all college and
university faculty consult for pay at least once over the course of two years,
including summers. Less than 10 percent of college and university faculty
employed in fields allied with science and engineering report supplemental
earnings that represent more than one-third of their base academic salaries. The
comparable figure for faculty employed in the humanities is only 4 percent.
Overall, however, less than half of all supplemental income has been attributed
to professional consulting during the academic year. Moreover, even for those
science, engineering, and humanities faculty who actually report consulting
activities during the academic year, supplemental earnings represent only 20 to
25 percent of their base academic salaries. It seems, then, that most faculty
are not earning large amounts of supplemental income from consulting or other
outside professional activities.
Are faculty motivated to consult primarily for economic reasons? Despite the
significant decline in real faculty salaries over the past decade, increasing
numbers of faculty are not being induced to seek outside professional consulting
opportunities to supplement their base academic salaries, nor are they
substantially increasing their supplemental incomes. Both the steady proportion
of total faculty earnings accounted for by supplemental income and the steady
proportion of faculty who consult are consistent with the additional findings
that, among faculty who do consult, the percentage of professional work time
devoted to consulting is not related to base academic salary. These findings are
particularly important because they challenge much of the current conventional
wisdom about faculty consulting. Recent popular and policy-related literature,
for example, implies that faculty consulting is primarily motivated by economic
concerns. In fact, it appears that most faculty are motivated by other important
factors, such as potential benefits to their instruction and research, and
Are most institutional policies and procedures adequate for governing faculty
consulting and other activities producing supplemental income? In a large number
of academic institutions across the country today, such policies and procedures
often fail to formally address many important considerations. Even in those
institutions where the policies are fairly specific with regard to limitations,
the procedures for implementing the policies and for monitoring the outside
professional activities of individual faculty members often are lacking. On the
other hand, in some institutions the policies and procedures are unnecessarily
restrictive and even unmanageable. In sum, more explicit and carefully developed
institutional policies and procedures governing faculty consulting and other
activities producing supplemental income are in order.
WHAT ARE THE IMPLICATIONS FOR FURTHER RESEARCH?
The literature on faculty consulting and other supplemental income activities
indicated that further research is necessary in at least four important areas.
First, communication and collaboration are lacking among the various national
agencies collecting similar kinds of survey data on faculty, which in turn has
limited the utility and comparability of such data. Second, although the
literature does provide a fairly complete picture of the overall incidence and
extent of faculty consulting for different time periods, little is known about
individual patterns of faculty consulting over time and careers. Third, little
is known about whether the opportunity cost of outside professional activities
is to leisure (and therefore is borne by the individual) or to the institution.
Finally, it is not clear how outside professional consulting influences faculty
behavior and activities in the academic institution. The nature and extent to
which faculty are influenced in their research priorities and academic
objectivity by their outside professional relationships are almost wholly
unexplored in the research literature.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Boyer, Carol M., and Darrell R. Lewis. "Faculty Consulting: Responsibility or
Promiscuity?" JOURNAL OF HIGHER EDUCATION 55 (1984): 637-59
Golomb, Solomon W. "Faculty Consulting: Should It Be Curtailed?" NATIONAL
FORUM: PHI KAPPA PHI JOURNAL 69 (1979): 34-37
Patton, Carl V. "Consulting by Faculty Members." ACADEME: BULLETIN OF THE
AAUP 66 (1980): 181-85