Collaborating Academic Visitors Policy

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Lehigh faculty and staff often collaborate with faculty and students from other universities, as well as researchers, scholars, and practitioners from industry, government or other non-profit institutions. Such collaborations may involve a visitor coming to Lehigh for a period of time and are important to our research and educational missions. To accommodate this type of relationship, the University has established the role of Collaborating Academic Visitor (CAV). The appointment of a Collaborating Academic Visitor can be of various types: Undergraduate Fellow, Graduate Fellow, Research Fellow, Senior Research Fellow, Distinguished Research Fellow, _________ in Residence. These are defined in greater detail below.

Before inviting a Collaborating Academic Visitor to visit Lehigh, the University must confirm that the activities of this person will be in accord with applicable laws, regulations, institutional policies, contractual commitments to sponsors, and the University’s tax-exempt non-profit status. We must have documentation of the proposed activities and duration of the visit because Lehigh may be affected by the actions of these individuals. In furtherance of these objectives, we have implemented a process requiring that before a visitor comes to campus, the sponsoring faculty/staff host and the sponsoring department must assure that the Collaborating Academic Visitors' process has been followed.

Collaborating Academic Visitors may fall into one of three categories:

  • Category 1: Short-term, non-laboratory visits lasting less than 14 business days;
  • Category 2: Long-term, non-laboratory visits lasting 14 business days or more; or
  • Category 3: Visits of any length that involve laboratory or clinically based research.

What is a "Collaborating Academic Visitor"?

A Collaborating Academic Visitor is an individual who visits Lehigh to collaborate with University personnel on research and/or to access the University’s facilities in ways that are not available to the general public. Such activity on the part of the CAV should substantially benefit Lehigh and further its research, educational or service missions. 

Collaborating Academic Visitors may include, but are not limited to: 

  • Faculty members employed by another academic institution.
  • Researchers from not-for-profit or for-profit institutions engaged in collaborations with Lehigh faculty.
  • Any individuals whose access to University property is governed by a separate written agreement approved by an authorized University official or by the terms of an applicable University policy, when such individuals’ activities are also part of the activities described in this policy.
  • Students from other institutions and unpaid interns. 

For purposes of the guidelines, a Collaborating Academic Visitor is NOT one of the following:

  • Paid Lehigh employees (faculty, staff or students) and paid interns of Lehigh.
  • Students who are, or will be, enrolled in classes at Lehigh during the time of the collaboration.
  • Individuals visiting Lehigh as, or on behalf of, a contractor; subcontractor or consultant where the work being performed is covered by a written agreement with Lehigh. 
  • Individuals coming to Lehigh for purposes such as attending an academic conference, participating in a thesis/dissertation review panel, participating in an interview, appearing as a speaker or conference panelist, and touring public areas.
  • Emeriti faculty members.

Titles for Collaborating Academic Visitor appointments may include, but are not limited to, the following:

Undergraduate Fellow - a student from another baccalaureate-degree granting institution who has not completed their degree and wishes to gain experience and benefit from mentoring by a member of Lehigh’s faculty. 

Graduate Fellow - a pre-doctoral researcher who is a graduate student at another institution and wishes to gain experience and benefit from mentoring by a member of Lehigh’s faculty.

Scholar/practitioner/clinician/performer/________ (artist/executive, etc.) in residence – a faculty member, practitioner, or similar professional who wishes to collaborate with a member or members of the Lehigh community on curricular, practical, clinical, or creative projects. 

Research Fellow - A post-doctoral researcher wishing to gain experience and benefit from mentoring by or collaborating with a member of Lehigh’s faculty.

Senior Research Fellow - Faculty member or other researcher affiliated with another institution within the U.S. or international wishing to collaborate with one or more Lehigh faculty.

Distinguished Research Fellow - highly accomplished engineer, scholar or scientist, for example a member of a national academy or learned society, from another university, an industrial research organization, or a national laboratory, who wishes to continue her or his research agenda in collaboration with colleagues at Lehigh.

Rules and Policies that Govern Collaborating Academic Visitors:

A common feature to all Collaborating Academic Visitor appointments is that they do not provide compensation to the holder in the form of either monetary remuneration or credit toward an academic degree or certification. While this affiliation is without compensation, the formal nature of this relationship mandates that Collaborating Academic Visitors will, in all capacities and on all occasions, understand and comply with the rules and policies that govern their activities at Lehigh, and that by accepting an Academic Collaborating Visitor appointment agree to do so. 

Collaborating visitors must abide by all applicable University policies, rules and procedures, including but not limited to those that govern topics as diverse as University ownership of intellectual property, human and animal research subjects protections, lab safety, building access, prohibition of harassment and discrimination, and insurance coverage. In addition, Lehigh property is tax-exempt and usage of University property, laboratories, equipment, and materials must be in compliance with the University’s tax-exempt non-profit status.  Some visitors may also need to abide by policies linked to grants or contracts that support the work being performed or conform their activities to the requirements of applicable federal, state, and local laws and ordinances. It is the responsibility of the Visitor’s sponsor and the Visitor to understand and comply with all such applicable policies, contractual obligations, and laws and ordinances. 

Term of Appointment:

All University Academic Collaborator appointments are for a fixed term at a maximum period of one year, but are renewable for fixed terms not to exceed one year. The typical minimum period for a University Academic Collaborator appointment is two weeks (14 business days) and any faculty or research staff member hosting an individual visiting the university for the purpose of engaging in collaboration for two weeks or longer should initiate the Collaborating Academic Visitor appointment process. There may, however, be instances in which a Collaborating Academic Visitor appointment for less than a two-week period is appropriate. 

Approval and Documentation:

The authority to make these appointments can be granted or revoked by the Provost. Initially, the authority to make Collaborating Academic Visitor appointments is given to the Deans of the Colleges and the Vice President/Vice Provost for the Office of International Affairs (VP/VP OIA). 

Appointments made by the Dean of a College should include notification to the faculty host, Department Chair, Provost’s Office, Office of the General Counsel, Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, and (if the visitor is not a US Citizen or permanent resident) the Office of International Affairs and the Office of Research Integrity. Lehigh faculty members who wish to host a Collaborating Academic Visitor of any type must take responsibility for their activities, including confirmation that their Visitor has been informed of all applicable University Policies and that they have submitted all the necessary preapprovals to conduct their work at Lehigh and the faculty host must obtain endorsement from the Department Chair/Program Director/ Center or Institute Director who will certify that the university resources needed to support the proposed activities are available in the department/ program/center or institute.  Such may include a University ID card, access to appropriate buildings and facilities, office and/or laboratory space, any applicable regulatory preapproval (e.g. IRB, IACUC, Export Control, etc.) and a computing and e-mail account. 

Appointments made by the Vice President/Vice Provost for the Office of International Affairs (OIA) should include notification to the Provost’s Office, Office of the General Counsel, and the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs. Additionally, if the visitor is not a US Citizen or permanent resident the Office of Research Integrity must also be informed. OIA must take responsibility for their activities including confirmation that their Visitor has been informed of all applicable University Policies and that they have submitted all the necessary preapprovals to conduct their work at Lehigh, and must confirm that University resources (people and/or financial) needed to support the proposed activities have been discussed. Such may include a University ID card, access to appropriate buildings and facilities, offices, any applicable regulatory preapproval (e.g. IRB, IACUC, Export Control, etc.) and a computing and e-mail account. 

To issue the Collaborating Academic Visitor appointment letter, using the University approved appointment letter template and visitor information form, the College Dean/OIA will need a letter from the Lehigh host(s)/faculty host(s) describing the nature of the Collaborating Academic Visitor’s planned activities, a letter of endorsement from the Department Chair/Program, Center, Institute Director, or VP/VP OIA, and documentation of sources of funding to support the Collaborating Academic Visitor’s appointment at Lehigh, for example a paid sabbatical leave from the Collaborating Academic Visitor’s home institution, extramural foundation or governmental funding, or verifiable self-support.  Appropriate documentation of the Collaborating Academic Visitor’s appointment will be entered into and maintained in Lehigh’s record keeping system (currently Banner) by the Office of the Provost at the time of appointment.  

Background Checks:

Collaborating Academic Visitor appointments are conditional on verification that the individual has successfully completed all background checks that the university requires of new university employees.  The host department, program, center or institute is responsible for ensuring that such background checks are completed as well as covering any costs involved and providing written notification of this to the Office of the Provost.  Academic Collaborators are also expected to complete all on-line training programs that must be completed by Lehigh University faculty and staff.

Termination: 

A visitor’s access to university property and buildings may be terminated at any time by a department chair, Dean or by the Provost, without explanation. Visitors do not have any rights to access University space or resources. 

 

7/21/2021