Share your voice to shape your MC
Share your voice to shape your MC

Compliance Matters

Insights from the Office of Compliance, Risk, and Ethics
February 2021

Your Voice, Your MC: Survey Opens February 15

Beginning February 15, 2021, you’re invited to participate in MC’s first comprehensive employee experience and culture survey. 
The “Your Voice, Your MC” survey combines the three formerly separate surveys regarding employee engagement, ethical workplace culture, and equity and inclusion. 
  • The survey will be available online from February 15 through March 1, 2021.
  • The survey will be administered by Modern Think, an independent firm specializing in workplace culture assessment.
  • You will receive an email from Modern Think with a link to the survey.
  • Responses will be anonymous. Modern Think will send you a unique username and password to access the survey. No names or other identifiable information will be provided to the College.
  • After the survey closes, Modern Think will host a series of feedback sessions with College stakeholder groups in May 2021 to share the survey findings.
  • Building on the data and findings from the survey, a proposed action plan will be shared with the College community in the fall.
Please set aside 20-25 minutes to complete the survey. This is a chance to make your voice heard, and a high response rate helps ensure an accurate representation of our community. Through prior years' survey responses, employee voices have been a catalyst for change. Even with this solid foundation, we know there is still more work to be done.
Your candid feedback is invaluable in charting a path forward. Share Your Voice, to shape Your MC! 
Image of a megaphone, with text reading Your Voice, Your MC

Simplifying Compliance: CJIS Background Screening for Faculty Teaching in MCPS Partnership Programs

If you plan to work or teach in one of the many exciting MCPS partnership programs (Early or Middle College, Dual Enrollment) be sure to begin the youth protection compliance process as early as possible.
Employees working in these programs must complete CJIS background screening (fingerprinting), which differs from the universal screening conducted upon hire. The process is simple but requires time. Deans and Chairs are encouraged to notify the youth protection coordinator, Kristen Roe, as soon as an instructor is assigned to a course affiliated with one of the MCPS programs mentioned above. Acting early will shift an administrative task from the busy weeks leading up to the start of the semester, when faculty are focused on other administrative obligations.
Faculty teaching in these programs also must complete the online course “Protecting Youth,” available through WorkDay. For current employees assigned to teach in these programs for the summer term, it’s not too early to contact the youth protection coordinator to initiate the process. For new hires, notify the HRSTM hiring manager to initiate the process.
Image with text reading: The reputation of a thousand years may be determined by the conduct of one hour.

Do You Know How to Disclose a Conflict of Interest?

Questions about conflicts of interest are one of the most frequent inquiries submitted to the Office of Compliance, Risk, and Ethics (OCRE). A conflict of interest (COI) occurs when personal interests affect or appear to affect an employee’s professional judgment in performing any College duty or responsibility. As stewards of the public trust, MC employees have an obligation to act in the College’s best interest when making decisions on the job. Increased public scrutiny in recent years puts a greater premium on public institutions taking a thoughtful and systematic approach to identifying and addressing COIs.
With this in mind, the College updated its Conflicts of Interest procedure, 31003CP, in December 2020. The updates:
  • clarify the College’s expectations by adding definitions for actual, perceived, and potential conflicts of interest;
  • provide a new mechanism for disclosing conflicts, in order to facilitate proactive and transparent handling of conflicts;
  • streamline language regarding endorsements, use of College property, and financial interests; and
  • define conflicts of commitment, and provide guidelines for disclosure.
The College’s new COI training provides additional information about how to recognize a COI (see below).
Sometimes it is difficult for us to recognize our own conflicts of interest. We feel confident that we are acting with good intentions and with the College’s best interest at heart, without pausing to think critically about how our actions might appear to those around us. That’s why it’s so important for all of us to be alert to potential or even perceived conflicts of interest that might crop up. We all must take steps to avoid situations that compromise—or appear to compromise—our ability to do our jobs and make impartial decisions.
When such a situation arises, the best course of action is to disclose it promptly. Doing so promotes transparency, allows the College to objectively evaluate competing interests, and provides an opportunity to proactively manage a COI before it blossoms into an ethical violation. After reviewing a disclosure, OCRE will work with the employee to eliminate or manage the conflict (where one exists). Where no conflict of interest is found, OCRE will provide the employee written approval to proceed without further restrictions.
Protect yourself and the College: stay alert to conflicts of interest.

Required Ethics Training Now Available: Conflicts of Interest

Our new Conflicts of Interest course—a FY21 required training—is now available in MC Learns through Workday.
This course provides information about how the College’s recently updated Conflict of Interest procedure – 31003CP might apply to you. Learn how to recognize a conflict of interest, and what to do if you spot one. Interactive modules highlight situations where conflicts commonly arise, such as gifts and entertainment, outside activities, and personal relationships. This training will leave you better equipped to identify conflicts of interest—actual, perceived, or potential—on the job.
The conflicts of interest training is required for employees in all divisions. Visit the ethics training website for more details. The course takes about 30 minutes, and must be completed by September 30, 2021. Contact for assistance or questions.

November 2020 Pulse Survey Results

OCRE conducted its first pulse survey during Compliance and Ethics Awareness Week in November 2020. We are pleased to share the results with you below.
What is a pulse survey? Pulse surveys are short surveys designed to gather timely employee feedback. Because they consist of only a few questions, pulse surveys can supplement comprehensive annual or biennial surveys by capturing more frequent data on changes in the workplace and employee perceptions.1 This method of “taking the temperature” can help OCRE be more agile by showing us where improvements have taken root, and where our efforts should be focused going forward.
In viewing OCRE’s pulse survey results, note that a pulse survey does not displace the College’s employee experience survey. The pulse is a much smaller sample size—here, a total of 77 employee respondents. The value of the pulse survey lies not in making generalizations about the College as a whole from such a limited data set, but in understanding the pulse responses as one data point in a larger constellation of employee feedback.
Here are the four questions presented in OCRE’s November 2020 pulse survey, along with the response data:
Q1: I use MC’s policies and procedures to guide my actions as an employee. 57% strongly agree. 42% agree. 1% strongly disagree.
Q2: My unit or department conducts fraud risk assessments: 26% regularly. 22% occasionally. 16% seldom. 36% never.
Note that in an ongoing effort to understand fraud risks at MC, the College’s internal auditor incorporates fraud risk assessments into audits performed throughout the College. Some pertinent questions in a fraud risk assessment include:
  • Do any key employees appear to have a close association with vendors?
  • Do any key employees have outside business interests that might conflict with their job duties?
  • Does the College educate employees about the importance of ethics and anti-fraud programs?
Contact the Office of Compliance, Risk, and Ethics to schedule a live, virtual Fraud Awareness Training for your unit. You can also contact internal audit and advisory services director Goli Trump to assess fraud risks in your department or program.
Q3: I am confident that wrongdoing reported through the confidential reporting line (EthicsPoint) is objectively investigated. 25% strongly agree. 51% agree. 22% disagree. 3% strongly disagree.
Q4: I have a clear understanding of conflicts of interest. 48% strongly agree. 52% agree.
Because pulse surveys are intended to track changes over time (or identify where changes have been slow), you can expect to see some—or all—of these questions again. Keep an eye out for future OCRE pulse surveys. Your participation gives us a more accurate picture of MC’s culture. 
1 Essential Guide to Conducting Pulse Surveys. Work Institute (last accessed Feb. 4, 2021).
Report a concern via EthicsPoint
Subscribe to our email list.