Staff Policy D-506.01
Institutional Effectiveness Criterion: Operations

Conflict of Interest

It is the policy of Northwestern Michigan College to establish appropriate, credible, and ethical relationships between and among faculty and staff and all of those with whom the College has an academic, business, or professional relationship. All employees of NMC shall act in a manner that is consistent with the objectives of this policy.

The Vice President for Educational Services, the Vice President for Lifelong and Professional Learning, the Executive Director of Human Resources, and the Vice President of Finance and Administration, in conjunction with the appropriate faculty and staff, will be responsible for the development and publication of any procedures or guidelines that may be necessary to administer this policy area effectively.

All employees of NMC shall act in a manner which is consistent with the objectives of this policy.


  1. Family member (or familial relationship) includes any one of the following:
    1. the spouse or child of the employee;
    2. the brother, sister, step-son and step-daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law or parent/step-parent of the employee or of the employee's spouse; or
    3. any person living in the employee’s household or in a financially dependent or co-dependent relationship with the employee; or
    4. any person involved in a consensual romantic or sexual relationship with the employee.
  2. Service area includes: Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Leelanau, Wexford and Missaukee counties.

    1. Sale and Development of Products and Services
      An employee of Northwestern Michigan College shall not:
      1. ​Participate in the selection or award of any College contract or purchase where the employee or employee’s family members would monetarily benefit as a result of the transaction.
      2. Solicit or accept anything of value from a person or firm conducting business with the College (except for natural and ordinary social courtesies), which could reasonably be expected to influence the manner in which the employee performs work or makes decisions.
      3. Participate for monetary or financial benefit in the sale of goods or services to the College or to students or employees of the College. This does not preclude authorized personnel of the College from purchasing materials authored by employees. 
      4. Receive financial or other remuneration for providing any service to the public within NMC’s service area which is provided for a fee by the College or for which the employee is contracted (this section applies only to faculty and staff on full time regular appointments). If it is not clear whether the College is engaged in the sale of a service for which an individual may be remunerated, the faculty or staff member will consult with his/her supervisor and/or the Vice President of Finance and Administration for determination as to whether the proposed activity represents a conflict of interest.
      5. Use NMC facilities, equipment, supplies, or other resources, for income-generating activities for monetary or financial benefit. In many disciplines and professions, distinguishing oneself in an area is a desirable enhancement of the College’s image. In such instances, an individual desiring to embark on a special activity which may result in a sale of such a product shall consult with his/her supervisor to determine the appropriateness of the proposed action. The Executive Director of Human Resources must approve of the sale of a product, determine if the work will be above the normal expected activities of the faculty or staff member and/or the sale would bring distinction to the College. All such exceptions will need prior approval by the Executive Director of Human Resources.

        If NMC facilities, equipment, supplies, or other resources are used in the development of products which result in a sale for monetary or financial benefit (such as art pieces and course materials), the individual faculty or staff member must first obtain advance written permission from the Vice President of Finance and Administration and must reimburse the institution for the value of the use and/or materials. Rates will be established between the department and the Business Office. A written agreement with established rates will be signed by the employee and the Executive Director of Human Resources.

        It is recognized that any employee who, outside of the normal contract responsibilities, on his/her own time and at his/her own expense, develops or produces educational material or media for publication, maintains the full rights for patent or copyright and any royalties resulting from said publication.

        It is the obligation of any employee to discuss with his/her supervisor any activities in which he/she may be about to engage that may be considered a conflict of interest under the above provisions. Exceptions on the basis of extenuating circumstances may be granted by the Executive Director of Human Resources.
    2. Joint Ventures
      Any individual or group may apply for financial and/or resource support from the College in the development of special products or services. Unless otherwise agreed to or approved by the Executive Director of Human Resources in writing, such an application will require the applicant to enter into a contract with the College and to negotiate pertinent factors. Patents and copyrights should be applied for and issued as provided in the agreement.

      All agreements shall be reviewed by the Vice President of Finance and Administration’s office for appropriateness and consistency. Factors for consideration as agreements are reached regarding the sale of materials or services which are in any way supported by the College may include, but will not be limited to:
      1. How the dollars generated will be distributed
      2. How costs will be determined
      3. How revenues accruing to NMC will be designated (for what purposes)
      4. Who is paid first and how
      5. What the marketing/sales strategies will be
      6. Fair costs for services provided or equipment utilized
      7. Relative access that community members at large have to the same service, such as use of library, computer labs, Internet, etc.

    3. Supplemental Employment and Outside Consulting, Speaking or other personal engagements:

      NMC recognizes the right of employees to engage in activities outside their employment which are of a private nature and unrelated to NMC’s business, and shall not exercise control of personal activities except those deemed a conflict of interest within the employee’s respective assignment, provided such supplemental activities or employment does not conflict with their duties as an employee of NMC and provided the work conforms to the following provisions:

      1. The supplemental employment is performed outside of the employee’s regular hours of work and does not interfere or conflict with the employee’s assigned duties and responsibilities.
      2. No promotion or solicitation of students or College staff with respect to any outside activities or employment shall be permitted.
      3. No promotion or solicitation of students or College staff with respect to any outside activities or employment shall be permitted.
      4. The Supervisor, Employee and Executive Director of Human Resources should document the agreement of supplemental employment or outside consulting arrangements.
    4. Confidential Information
      The revelation or use of any confidential or proprietary information, data on decisions, plans, or any other information which might be contrary to the interests of the College without prior authorization is prohibited.  The misuse, unauthorized access to, or mishandling of proprietary or confidential information, particularly student or personnel information, is strictly prohibited and will be subject to discipline up to and including termination.  Refer to HIPAA and FERPA guidelines.

    5. Nepotism and Personal Relationships in the Workplace:
      1. NMC believes that an environment where employees maintain clear boundaries between employee personal and business interactions is most effective for conducting business. Individuals in supervisory relationships or other influential roles are subject to more stringent requirements under this policy due to their status as role models, their access to sensitive information, and their ability to influence employment decisions.
      2. Family members of current NMC employees may become employees of the College. To determine whether any conflict of interest exists because of the relative positions of the individuals involved, the appointment must be approved by the Executive Director of Human Resources in consultation with the appropriate Vice President. Student employees may be approved for employment by the Executive Director of Human Resources.
      3. Except as otherwise stated in this policy, an employee’s family member may not occupy a position in the same department as, work directly for, or supervise the employee. NMC reserves the right to take prompt action if this policy is violated.  Student employees may be employed in the same department as a family member but may not be supervised by a family member.
      4. If a family member is considered for work in the same department, the supervisor must demonstrate business necessity based on consideration of the following factors:
        1. Lack of available workers;
        2. Need within the applicable program; and
        3. Potential negative impact on the applicable program
      5. The Executive Director of Human Resources will review the demonstrated business necessity and make a determination for final assignment. 

    6. Relationships with Students
      No employee shall participate in a romantic or sexual relationship with a student about whom the employee makes academic, employment, or other decisions.

    7. Nepotism in the Classroom

      When the family member of an instructor is enrolled in the instructor’s class, the instructor must notify his/her immediate supervisor and ask for collaboration in the evaluation of that family member.

      The College is committed to monitoring situations in which such relationships exist, and in the case of actual or potential problems, prompt action will be taken.


If any provision(s) of this policy or set of bylaws conflicts with laws applicable to Northwestern Michigan College, including the Community College Act of 1966, the Freedom of Information Act, or the Open Meetings Act, as each may be amended from time to time, such laws shall control and supersede such provision(s).

Initially adopted as D-1119.01 December 12, 1996
Revised February 18, 2005
Revised August 31, 2018