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Since its approval in 2003, the University's Policy on Conflict of Interest and Conflict of Commitment has specified that each faculty and exempt staff member must complete the OPA survey on an annual basis. The purpose of the annual OPA report is to maintain a continuing picture of employees' outside professional activities and to identify situations that could lead to potential conflicts of interest and/or commitment. With recent increased scrutiny of conflicts of interest and new funding agency policies related to foreign influence, faculty and exempt staff members with less than full-time employment were included for the 2020 reporting year, supported by the aforementioned policy.

The "cohort" or set of people who must complete an OPA survey is determined each January, shortly before the system opens. It includes individuals who meet both of the following criteria:

  • Held a paid faculty or exempt staff appointment anytime in the prior calendar year. This includes all of the following PHR Category Status groups:
    • Tenured Faculty
    • Tenure Track Faculty
    • Non-Tenured, Term Contract Faculty
    • Non-Tenured, Continuing Contract Faculty
    • Trainee
    • Post-Doctoral Scholar
    • Exempt Regular
    • Exempt Contingent I
    • Exempt Contingent II
    • Hourly Faculty
    • Non-Tenured, Non-Regular Faculty
  • Holds any type of active, paid appointment when the cohort is determined. Those who only hold non-paid or emeritus appointments are excluded.

Example: In January 2021, the Report Year 2020 cohort was defined as anyone who held a faculty or exempt staff position anytime between January 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020, and who had an active, paid appointment when the cohort was generated.

Once the cohort is determined, it cannot be changed.  Even if someone is no longer in a faculty or exempt staff position but is still being paid (i.e. taking a Non-Exempt or Graduate Assistant position), they will still need to complete an OPA survey about their prior year's activities. If someone leaves the university after the cohort is created without completing their survey, the approver will need to mark their survey as Not Submitted.


Institutional Research, Planning and Assessment | University of Maryland