(In-unit faculty refer to BOT-UFF Agreement, Article 10; Reference UNF Policy 4.0200P, Academic Freedom)
Statement of Policy
Academic freedom and responsibility apply to teaching, research, and creative activity, and assigned service.
A. Non-unit Faculty shall be free to:
B. Non-unit Faculty shall have the responsibility to:
It is the expectation of the University community that individuals involved in research, scholarship, and creative activities (hereinafter simply referred to as “research”) will maintain the highest ethical standard in the conduct and reporting of those activities. The purpose of the procedures outlined below is to provide a mechanism for expeditious investigation of allegations that misconduct has occurred. These procedures are intended to govern all research activity, regardless of funding source, conducted at the University of North Florida. Nothing contained herein shall be construed to abridge the rights of faculty under applicable state and federal law and/or the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
This policy is limited to addressing misconduct related to the conduct and reporting of research, as distinct from misconduct occurring in the research setting but not affecting the integrity of the research record, such as misallocation of funds, sexual harassment, and discrimination. This policy does not limit the University from addressing these other issues under appropriate policies, rules, regulations, or laws. In addition, should the behavior associated with research misconduct also trigger the applicability of other laws (including criminal law) regulations, policies, etc, this policy is not intended to limit the University from pursuing these matters under separate authorities.
Research misconduct does not include honest error or differences of opinion. For the purpose of the procedures outlined below, misconduct in proposing, performing, or reviewing research, or in reporting research results is defined as:
A finding of misconduct in research, scholarship, and creative activities requires:
It is recognized that accusations of research misconduct may be extremely damaging to an individual's reputation and standing, even when those accusations are unsubstantiated. To the extent possible consistent with a fair and thorough investigation and as allowed by law, discussion of allegations of misconduct including the identity of subjects and informants shall be limited to those who need to know.
In an effort to maintain confidentiality during the course of an investigation, documents and records will be converted to Adobe Acrobat PDF format and password protected prior to electronic transmission.
Further, pursuant to Section 1012.91(1)(b), Florida Statutes, the records of any investigation of employee misconduct shall be confidential until the investigation ceases to be active or until the University provides written notice to the faculty member that the University has either:
Should any person involved in the handling of misconduct cases be at risk of conflict of interest (e.g., personal or close professional relationship with one of the parties involved), he/she will recuse themselves from the proceedings, or may be asked to do so.
The Faculty Association's Faculty Affairs Committee is the designated entity to receive allegations of misconduct and administer the procedures for investigation of such allegations.
To comply with regulations of government funding agencies, the six-step procedure outlined below is modeled after the multi-phased process outlined in the Federal Register, Vol. 65, No. 235, December 2000.
Faculty and staff of the University of North Florida who have reason to believe a member(s) of the University of North Florida community has engaged in research misconduct shall report that act to the Chairperson of the Faculty Affairs Committee. Any other person(s) who has reason to believe a member(s) of the University of North Florida community has engaged in research misconduct should report that act to the Chairperson of the Faculty Affairs Committee. Allegations must be made in writing and should include all information relevant to the case as well as copies of any and all supporting or corroborating evidence.
Upon receipt of an allegation, the Chairperson of the Faculty Affairs Committee (or designee) shall within five (5) working days notify the person(s) accused and his/her immediate supervisor and provide them with a copy of the complaint. The supervisor(s) of the person(s) accused, the Chairperson of the Faculty Affairs Committee (or designee), and the Past-President of the Faculty Association will conduct a preliminary fact-finding inquiry.
The purpose of the preliminary inquiry is to assess whether the allegation of misconduct has substance and if a formal investigation is warranted. The Chairperson of the Faculty Affairs Committee (or designee), the immediate supervisor(s) of the person(s) accused, and a Past-President of the Faculty Association shall convene to review the complaint, all information relevant to the case, and any and all supporting or corroborating evidence provided by the complainant(s). They shall, at a minimum, interview both the complainant(s) and the person(s) accused to provide both with an opportunity to present their cases and to provide any clarifying information and/or evidence. The preliminary inquiry will be completed within 20 working days of receipt of the initial complaint. If there is not a consensus that sufficient evidence exists to substantiate the allegation, the Chairperson of the Faculty Affairs Committee (or designee) will notify all involved parties in writing that the matter will not be pursued any further. At the option of the person(s) accused, a record of both the accusation and the decision not to pursue a formal investigation shall be put in the personnel file(s) of the person(s) accused.
In cases where the conduct under inquiry is associated with applications or grants involving Federal funding, but a formal investigation is not warranted, the Chairperson (or designee) shall maintain sufficiently detailed documentation of inquiries through the Office of Academic Affairs. This documentation will permit a later assessment, if necessary, of the reasons for determining an investigation was not warranted. Such records shall be maintained in a secure manner for a period of at least three years after the termination of the preliminary inquiry, and, upon request, shall be provided to personnel authorized to have access to personnel records.
If evidence collected during the course of the preliminary inquiry suggests the possibility of misconduct, the Chairperson of the Faculty Affairs Committee (or designee) will initiate a formal investigation within 15 working days of the conclusion of the preliminary inquiry, or as soon thereafter, as is practical. If the preliminary inquiry reveals those accused include a student, the student’s case will be referred to the dean of the student's college for disposition.
Should the preliminary inquiry indicate possible criminal violations, the Chairperson of the Faculty Affairs Committee (or designee) shall notify within 24hours the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. The Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs shall take appropriate action, including notification of external funding agencies, through the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, as required by Federal Statute.
If evidence collected during the course of the preliminary inquiry suggests further investigation is warranted, the Chairperson of the Faculty Affairs Committee (or designee) shall take the following steps within 15 working days of the completion of the preliminary inquiry:
The investigating panel is responsible for conducting a formal investigation. The formal investigation will involve the development of a factual record, the examination of that record, and a determination of either dismissal of the case or a finding of research misconduct. The investigating panel will select its own chairperson and meet in executive session to examine the allegation(s), decide what evidence needs to be collected, and prepare its report. The investigating panel is expected to complete its investigation and submit its final report within 50 working days of being appointed.
If necessary and appropriate, the investigating panel may request the person(s) accused of misconduct submit information relevant to the allegation. Evidence, in electronic and/or hardcopy form, may include, but is not limited to research papers, manuscripts, books, and abstracts, whether published or not; data; computer files; names and contact information for current and former co-workers and/or students; and reports and grant applications submitted to funding agencies. The investigating panel may also solicit written evidence, in electronic and/or hardcopy form, from other individuals both inside and outside the University. Information of a confidential nature shall not be requested by the investigating panel except in a form preserving its confidential character, unless a waiver can be obtained from the parties protected by the promise of confidentiality. Copies of any material obtained by the investigating panel shall be provided to the person(s) accused.
The person(s) accused has the right to appear before the investigating panel (with a representative, if so desired) and respond to the allegations against him or her and will be invited to do so. If the investigating panel deems it appropriate, it may also obtain an oral statement concerning the alleged misconduct from the complainant(s) or other witnesses. The person(s) accused is entitled to be present (with a representative, if so desired) when the investigating panel is taking oral statements from witnesses.
Based on the fact that the panel’s investigation is not a legal proceeding judicial rules including but not limited to those governing the admissibility of evidence, authentication of documents, examination of witnesses, etc., shall not govern the panel’s investigation.
Within 50 working days of being appointed, the investigating panel shall prepare its report and submit it to the Chairperson of the Faculty Affairs Committee (or designee). The final report will summarize the evidence examined and state the investigating panel's conclusion as to whether or not the allegation of misconduct has been substantiated. If the investigating panel is unable to reach a conclusion concerning the validity of the allegation, the report will indicate why not.
Upon receipt of the investigating panel's report, the Chairperson of the Faculty Affairs Committee (or designee) shall within five (5) working days make a copy available to the person(s) and the person(s) who submitted the complaint.
Appeals are separated organizationally from inquiry and investigation. The person(s) accused of misconduct and the person(s) who submitted the complaint have five (5) working days to review the investigating panel’s report and submit a written appeal to the Chairperson of the Faculty Affairs Committee (or designee). Appeals must be based on procedural irregularities, errors in application of the policy or definition of research misconduct, or on findings of fact entirely unreasonable to make on the evidence. New evidence will only be considered on appeal in very rare instances, for example if that material evidence was unavailable to a party for some very significant reason.
At the end of the five (5) working days, the Faculty Affairs Committee shall review the investigating panel's report and the appeal(s), if any. The Faculty Affairs Committee is responsible for:
The Faculty Affairs Committee will issue its final report within 15 working days after receiving the investigating panel’s report and any appeal(s). The Committee's final report will include:
The Chairperson of the Faculty Affairs Committee (or designee) will distribute the Committee’s final report to the following:
If extramural funding is involved, the Chairperson of the Faculty Affairs Committee will also furnish a copy of the Committee’s final report to the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs.
Adjudication is separated organizationally from inquiry, investigation, and appeal as set forth in this policy. The Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, heretofore not involved in the procedure, will review the Faculty Affairs Committee’s investigative findings and determine whether sanctions should be imposed against anyone found by the aforementioned procedure to have engaged in research misconduct.
The Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs shall prepare a notice to be sent to extramural funding agencies, if any. The notice will summarize the conclusions reached by the investigating parties, any appeal made by the person(s) accused or the person(s) who filed the complaint, and the final disposition of the case.
Timeline for Dealing with Allegations of Research Misconduct
Faculty Affairs Committee Chair (or designee) and immediate supervisor conduct preliminary inquiry
Faculty Affairs Committee Chair (or designee) initiates formal investigation, if necessary
Faculty Affairs Committee Chair (or designee) distributes panel’s report
Accused or complainant prepares appeal, if he/she wishes
Faculty Affairs Committee reviews investigating panel’s report and any appeal and submits final report
TOTAL working days (23 weeks) from inception of complaint to issue of final report
The Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs will review the Faculty Affairs Committee’s investigative findings and determine whether sanctions should be imposed against anyone found to have engaged in research misconduct.
The President has delegated his authority under Florida Statutes 1004.22 “to negotiate, enter into, and execute research contracts; to solicit and accept research grants and donations” to the Assistant Vice President for Research of the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP) Proposals for support through contract and grants must conform to sponsoring agency and university policy and must have the approval of the Assistant Vice President for Research and other appropriate university officials prior to submission.
The university is the recipient of the award and the responsible party to the related agreement. In accepting a grant or contract, the University assumes legal responsibility for observing the terms and conditions of the agreement and for delivering to the sponsor such assurance of compliance as may be required.
There is a distinction between gifts and grants for purposes of the University's sponsored research program. Generally, if a faculty member receives funding from a donor who does not impose contractual requirements and who provides the funds irrevocably, such funding is termed a gift and is managed through the UNF Foundation. If funding involves provisions for audits by the grantor, or directions to satisfy particular requirements or a detailed report of results or expenditures, or other such characteristics, such funding is generally termed a grant and is managed through the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs.
The University policy sets forth common procedures to assure the continued maintenance of high standards of animal care and use within the University. The policy calls for University compliance with specific Federal standards and requirements. Implementation of the policy is the responsibility of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC).
The University of North Florida is licensed by the State of Florida, Department of Health, Bureau of Radiation Control as an authorized user of radioactive materials. The use of radioactive material at UNF is governed by provisions set forth in the specific radioactive material license issued to UNF by the State of Florida, Department of Health, Bureau of Radiation Control. Enforcement of this policy is the responsibility of the Radiation Safety Officer in the Department of Environmental Health and Safety and the Radiation Safety Review Committee.
Export control laws which restrict the exports of goods and technology from the United States can impact research and other activities conducted by university faculty. These laws apply to the actual export of goods and technology and the disclosure of certain technical data or information to non-citizens while in the United States (deemed exports). All universities are required to comply with these regulations. Individuals and institutions that violate these regulations are subject to civil and criminal sanctions (including fines and/or prison sentences for individuals) as well as administrative sanctions (loss of research funding or export privileges). All faculty members traveling to covered countries or working with non-citizen students are advised to contact the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs for guidance.
The Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) at the University of North Florida reviews and approves research protocols involving biological materials to ensure that investigators adequately address safety issues and regulatory compliance. The IBC also reviews proposals involving any aspect of recombinant DNA (rDNA) technology. The IBC works in conjunction with the Office of Environmental Health and Safety
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