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FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

For information and instructions on 2020-21 Annual Certification of Outside Professional Activities visit the OATS Resources and Training page. 

Please visit the Policy page for an overview of the University's policy on Conflict of Commitment and Outside Activities of Faculty Members (APM 025).

 

OATS FAQs 
Using OATS
Entering an Activity in OATS
Category I Form
Student Involvement Form
 

 

USING OATS

How do I know I have an account in OATS?
If you are a senate faculty member, including those in the Lecturer with Security of Employment and Adjunct Professor series, with a current appointment of at least 50%, you should already have an account. If you are not able to login with your UCMNETID and Password, send an email to ucm-oats@ucmerced.edu for assistance.

When I get to the OATS login page, which login button should I use?
You can access your OATS account by clicking the green “Log in to OATS” button or the “LOG IN” text in the upper right corner. 

What is the purpose of the help text? Can I turn it off?
Help text is provided on all of the forms in OATS. The help text provides additional information and details on a particular field or description in the form. 
You can turn the help text off and on by clicking on “Turn help text OFF” button located on the bottom left side of the page. 

Does the system timeout? 
OATS is configured to timeout when there has been no activity for 15 minutes. If, due to inactivity, the system logs you out before you have completed an “enter an activity” or “student involvement” form, you will lose that information. You can save a Category I form and return to complete it at a later time. However, the system will not automatically save a Category I form if a user gets logged out due to inactivity. 
User Tip: Have your information prepared and at hand before you start. The ability to cut and paste 
pre-typed information into the form will save time. 

Where is the submit button on my form? 
The green submit button is located at the bottom of your form. Your browser may hide the scroll bar. Mousing over the right side of the form will make the scrollbar appear and allow you to navigate to the top or bottom of your form. 

 

ENTERING AN ACTIVITY IN OATS

In my Category I form, why am I required to indicate if the organization, company, university, etc. is “For Profit” or “Non Profit”?
The profit/non profit status of an organization, company, university, etc. is not relevant to APM 025 Activities for senate faculty. However, it is relevant to Deans and Full-time Faculty Administrators who are required to comply with additional conflict of commitment policies. 

OATS uses the same Category I form for all faculty types. It requires all faculty to choose the profit status of the outside entity associated with their request. For senate faculty, the type chosen does not affect the way the request is handled, the way hours/effort is reported for the activity, or the Annual Report. 

I have the opportunity to engage in outside employment that will also benefit my research portfolio. What boxes should I check on the form? 
You will check “Employment outside the University” and might also check “Developing scholarly or creative works.” Outside employment will prompt the Category I form where you will be able to provide more details about the beneficial outcomes to areas of research, industry, and public service.

When an activity falls into more than one category, it should be assigned to the category which requires more stringent reporting and prior approval, as applicable. Examples might include a professor in Arts whose approved employment with a professional dance company (Category I) will benefit their creative practice and standing in the field (Category III) or a professor in Engineering whose approved employment with a company (Category I) will provide them with access to data that will benefit their research portfolio (Category III). Both of these examples would require prior approval to engage in outside employment, an APM 025 Category I activity. 

I am entering an activity that will extend beyond the fiscal year (beyond June 30). Why do I get an error message when I choose an end date that is after June 30 of the current year?
The purpose of the first “enter an activity” form is to capture the general details of your request and determine the APM 025 activity category. The dates entered on the "enter an activity" form are limited to the the reporting period (July 1 through June 30). If the “Activity Type(s) / Role(s)” chosen determines a Category I activity, you will be prompted to complete a Category I form in which you will be able to enter an end date beyond the current fiscal year. (At UCSC, approvals are generally for one fiscal year but may be granted for a longer term, not to exceed five years.)

I plan to involve a student in my outside activity. What should I know before clicking ‘yes’ on the "enter an activity" form?
You should only click ‘yes’ on the activity form if the student(s) you plan to involve are current UCM students who you have, or expect to have, academic responsibility (instructional, evaluative, or supervisory). If you answer yes to this question, you will be prompted to complete the Student Involvement form. Once you submit the form, your request will route through your department and then to the Dean’s office for review and decision.

Why are there Category III activities, such as, "reviewing manuscripts" and "acting in an editorial capacity" listed on the "enter an activity" form?
Faculty are not required to report their Category III activities. The Category III choices are included to help faculty members determine the category of their activity and also to support a request to involve a student in a Category III activity. 
If a faculty member enters a Category III activity, the following alert will appear "Category 3: Activity Reporting Exemption-You are exempt from having to report this activity." The activity will be documented in the current reporting period but the system will not record time engaged in the activity. 

 

Category I Form

What should I include in the “Description of the nature of your participation in this activity, including, if you wish, possible beneficial outcomes to areas of research, industry, and public service” field?
Reviewers and approvers are looking for the details about what you will be doing and producing in your Category I outside activity. Faculty are advised to type up this description and have it ready to paste into the field when they are ready to complete their Category I request.

 

Student Involvement Form

I am entering a Category II or III activity that does not require prior approval but will require a request for prior approval to involve a student. How will OATS manage my request?
If you answer “yes” to student involvement question on the “enter an activity” form, OATS will generate the Student Involvement form, even for Category II and III activities. 

I have an outside professional activity (OPA) in OATS that is active for the current reporting period. Do I have to enter the activity again if I want to request prior approval to involve a student?
No, you can return to OATS and “edit the activity” to request student involvement on any OPA that is active during the current reporting period. 

I am entering an activity in OATS. Can I request prior approval to involve a student at a later time?
Yes, you can return to OATS and “edit the activity” to request student involvement. As long as the OPA is active in the current reporting period, you can “edit the activity” and request prior approval for new or additional student participation in that activity.