Carnegie Mellon University

Special Service Payments for Internal Consulting Activities

POLICY TITLE: Carnegie Mellon University Policy on Special Service Payments for Internal Consulting Activities
DATE OF ISSUANCE: This policy, adopted by Faculty Senate, was approved by the President's Council on November 15, 1995.
ACCOUNTABLE DEPARTMENT/UNIT: Office of the Provost. Questions on policy content should be directed to the Office of the Provost at 412-268-3260.
ABSTRACT: Policy provides guidelines for determining when internal consulting, with compensation in addition to one's annual salary, is and is not allowable and appropriate.


Policy Statement

It is the goal of the university to establish a climate that encourages voluntary joint efforts on the campus and mutual support across and within units and discourages the negotiation and selling of services within the university.

It is the policy of Carnegie Mellon that individuals employed by the university be compensated at a level commensurate with the total services they provide to the university and that this compensation be fully reflected in their annual salary. The principles and policies set forth in this document are to be used as guidelines in determining when internal consulting, with compensation in addition to one's annual salary, is and is not allowable and appropriate.

Who Should Read This Policy

This policy concerns all faculty and exempt university employees.


  • Base Pay: The level of compensation for full-time employment at the university.
  • Commitment Period: The period of time during which an employee is obligated to provide full-time service in exchange for a base pay. For instance, an academic year for an academic year's salary, even though this salary may be received over a twelve-month period.
  • Consultant: The individual who is the candidate for performing the internal consulting.
  • Department or Unit: The generic term for an academic or administrative unit. It can refer to a college, department, research center or an administrative unit.
  • Department or Unit Head: The administrative supervisor of a unit, whose actual title may be dean, chair or director, depending on the function of the unit.
  • Executive Education, Continuing Education, Pre-college Education: Short, specialized courses organized by various units within the university.
  • Faculty and Exempt Staff: The population of Carnegie Mellon employees who are exempt from the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act and to whom this policy applies; generally, full-time faculty (regular research, special, teaching track appointees and professional librarians), research staff members and administrators of the university.
  • Internal Consulting: Activities involving service to others in the Carnegie Mellon community for compensation in addition to one's base pay and in exchange for some consideration. Such activities could include, but are not limited to, consulting on another's research project (whether or not that research is supported by external research contracts), consulting on management issues or teaching classes in addition to one's normal teaching load (in another academic unit).
  • Primary Unit or Home Department: The unit that controls an individual's DRIVE transactions; normally where the individual's primary appointment resides. 
  • Semi-Autonomous Unit (SAU): This refers to the Carnegie Mellon Research Institute (CMRI) and the Software Engineering Institute (SEI).


  1. Internal consulting may be inappropriate at Carnegie Mellon because:
    1. It may be an impediment to the free and open interchange that is a central and necessary feature of the university environment.
    2. It may come at the expense of the individual's obligations to the primary unit.
    3. It may conflict with the individual's presumed full-time obligation to the university, and it would be undesirable to introduce procedures to account precisely for those time obligations.
    4. It may run counter to grant restrictions for individuals supported by some external grants.
    5. It may be used to bypass normal salary review procedures and thus lead to inequities in income from Carnegie Mellon University.
  2. The SAUs were established to benefit from their special access to Carnegie Mellon faculty and exempt staff as consultants, and thus SAUs are allowed to engage Carnegie Mellon faculty and exempt staff as internal consultants. Any such arrangement, however, must have the prior agreement of the head of the consultant's primary unit.
  3. Executive education, continuing education and pre-college education are important activities undertaken by the university. In these programs, regular faculty and administrators may participate alongside external lecturers for additional compensation when it is clearly an addition to the normal teaching or administrative workload.


  1. Payment for internal consulting is not generally acceptable during a commitment period except in two cases:
    1. Payments may be made to a faculty member or exempt staff member for teaching in executive education, pre-college or continuing education programs at a rate consistent with that paid to comparable outside lecturers.
    2. A SAU may hire as a consultant a faculty member or exempt staff who is not currently an employee of a SAU. Any such consulting arrangements must have the prior approval of the primary unit head.
  2. Payment may not be made for teaching classes in addition to one's normal teaching load in another unit during a commitment period. This does not prohibit teaching classes for payment outside the commitment period and such teaching is not internal consulting.
  3. Internal consulting in cases not covered by A or B above is allowable when its benefits to the university community outweigh the costs to collegiality. All these situations must be reviewed by the intended consultant's unit head and dean, the provost and the vice president for business, and the result of this review recorded.
  4. The internal consulting must be consistent with the Faculty Policy on Consulting, particularly the requirement that the faculty member will devote the appropriate amount of time to activities connected with the primary appointment and not sell more than 100% of the consultant's time.
  5. Where time spent on internal consulting may be of sufficient magnitude as to cut into the consultant's primary obligation to the home unit, both the consultant and the consultant's primary unit should: 1) agree that it is appropriate for the consultant to participate in the activity; and 2) determine the appropriate reduction in effort to the home unit. The unit receiving the consulting should reimburse the primary unit for the percent of effort spent on the consulting activity.
  6. In order to ensure that internal consulting is not used to bypass normal salary review policies, all cases of internal consulting must be approved by the consultant's unit head, the consultant's dean, the provost and the vice president for business.
  7. It is inappropriate to subvert these policies by arranging internal consulting through an intermediary, whether that intermediary be a private corporation in which the intended consultant is a principal or one which hires the Carnegie Mellon person as a consultant to be assigned to Carnegie Mellon.