By the middle of May, more than 4,600 faculty and staff members at the University of Connecticut’s campuses will have had a refresher course in everything from consulting policies to student privacy laws, travel policies, and conflicts of interest.
The UConn Office of Audit, Compliance, and Ethics has launched this year’s mandatory Annual Compliance Training courses for new and existing employees, offering them at various locations on UConn’s campuses and through an online portal.
Employees have a May 17 deadline to complete the training, which the UConn Board of Trustees has adopted as an annual requirement.
The training was launched during the 2006-07 academic year, initially covering the standards in the University’s Code of Conduct and the state Code of Ethics. It has evolved over the years to include other timely compliance and policy topics.
“As public employees, we have an obligation to uphold the highest level of integrity as we carry out our responsibilities,” President Susan Herbst says. “Our Annual Compliance Training provides an opportunity for faculty and staff to learn about and discuss the rules, regulations, and policies that apply to all of us, and helps to demonstrate that these are issues we take very seriously.”
The training not only provides an overview of compliance topics but, equally importantly, provides contact information for the UConn offices responsible for guiding employees through the complexities of the various laws, regulations, and policies.
“One of the best things about UConn is the culture created by our collegial, dedicated faculty and staff,” says Kim Fearney, UConn’s director of compliance. “It is clear that the annual training contributes to this culture by providing an overview of important and updated policies and by informing our community of who they can call for help with any compliance or policy-related issues.”
Employees can take the training by attending a training session or watching a 30-minute video online, then completing a 10-question quiz to ensure they fully grasp the concepts. A worker who completes the training online does not need to visit an in-person session, and vice versa.
Some of the topics covered in the training include:
- Guidance on the University’s policy on providing reasonable accommodations to help employees who have a disability that may impede their ability to do a job function.
- An overview of the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), which regulates the type and amount of information that can be released publicly about students. This year’s training includes updates such as changes to the content of UConn’s directory information, and the increased focus on data security.
- Discussion of what constitutes a “public record,” the University’s procedures for retaining these records and providing them when requested, guidelines on who to contact when uncertain, and related information regulated by Freedom of Information laws and UConn policies.
- A review of state and University travel and reimbursement policies, including specifics on calculating mileage, the applicable caps on business meals and lodging costs, and related topics.
- Reminders about conflicts of interest, rules that regulate faculty members’ outside consulting activities, prohibitions on accepting gifts or using a position as a state employee for personal financial benefit, and reminders about safety in the workplace.
The mandatory Annual Compliance Training is required of all UConn employees. However, the UConn Health Center administers its own version for its approximately 5,200 full- and part-time employees, and does so each autumn with a late December deadline.
The Annual Compliance Training is also conducted separately from the state-mandated Diversity Training and University-mandated Sexual Harassment Prevention Training, both of which are administered by the UConn Office of Diversity and Equity.