Office of the President

Policy on Risk Management Issues Related to Service Learning

Executive Memorandum 05-018 (Superceded by EM 11-046) November 10, 2005

From: Paul J. Zingg, President

Subject: Policy on Risk Management Issues Related to Service Learning; Superceded by EM 11-046

On the recommendation of the Academic Senate, I approve this policy for immediate implementation.



Under the direction of the Executive Committee of the CSU, Chico Academic Senate, an ad hoc Task Force for Service Learning Risk Management has prepared this policy document, informed by the Chancellor's Office Executive Order 715 and the associated best practices manual. The overall intent of Executive Order 715 and this policy is to establish a means whereby risk can be managed relative to service learning placements in the community without impeding the academic mission of CSU, Chico.


The purpose of this policy is to 1) specify the required actions when CSU, Chico students interact with agencies and individuals outside of the University as part of a university requirement and 2) create a committee to develop further procedures for risk management in service learning. The CSU defines service learning as "a teaching method that promotes student learning through active participation in meaningful and planned service experiences in the community that are directly related to course content. Through reflective activities, students enhance their understanding of course content, general knowledge, sense of civic responsibility, self awareness, and commitment to the community." The uppermost goals of this policy are to provide for the safety of the students and the clients with whom they interact.

Policy Statement

When a CSU, Chico student interacts with non-university agencies or individuals off campus as part of a university requirement, an agreement covering such interaction normally is required with the non-university entity before any interaction can take place. These agreements may include duties for each party, as well as requirements for background screening, liability and workers compensation insurance, and supervision of CSU, Chico students. Examples of non-university agencies include public schools, not-for-profit organizations, public agencies, and neighborhood associations. All planned service learning experiences, as earlier defined, must be submitted to the Service Learning Placement Committee for review.

Governing Authority

The Service Learning Placement Committee shall be responsible for implementation of this policy's requirements and the establishment and monitoring of related procedures and will give an annual report to the Academic Senate. The committee will consist of

  • The Dean of Undergraduate Education, who will serve as the committee chair
  • The CSU, Chico Risk Manager
  • The Associated Students Risk Manager
  • The Co-Coordinators of Service-Learning
  • The Director of Procurement and Contract Services
  • One faculty member appointed annually by the Executive Committee of the Academic Senate, in consultation with the Provost. This faculty member should be well-versed in the practice of service learning.
  • One student appointed annually by the Associated Students President
  • One community partner, selected annually by the committee

University parties who have already negotiated agreements with non-university agencies or individuals must submit their agreements to the Committee for formal approval, within one year of this policy's issuance. (See also "exemptions" below.)


Internships, student teaching, and class field trips are exempt from this policy, as they are covered under other university policies and procedures. The Service Learning Placement Committee may also issue statements of exemptions, ruling that any particular assignment type is exempt from the requirements of this policy.

Any faculty member or administrator may apply to the committee for an exemption from the requirement that his/her student(s) engage in a formal agreement with the non-CSU, Chico agency.

Examples of interactions that would probably not be exempt:

  • Any work with public school children, unless it is part of a credential program
  • Work with a member or members of a vulnerable population (e.g. , children, developmentally disabled, elderly) associated with a not-for-profit, public agency, or community organization.
Examples of interactions that would probably be ruled exempt:
  • Supervised practicum
  • Observation assignments (unless with children)
  • Interviews with adult members of the community
Faculty Responsibilities

Whenever a service learning experience is required as part of a course, the faculty member should

  • Submit planned service learning experiences to the Service-Learning Placement Committee for review
  • State the assignment requirement in the course syllabus, including any need for students to follow a formal agreement and/or be screened prior to undertaking the assignment
  • Discuss the assignment and related requirements early in the course
  • Provide any necessary and appropriate orientation to the students regarding the outside agency or individuals
  • Receive any required Assignment of Risk forms before allowing each student to participate in the assignment
  • Provide an alternative assignment or site for students who cannot pass the screening process or are unwilling or unable to comply with the process
  • Direct students to the "Student Handbook for Service Learning" as created by the Co-Coordinators of Service Learning