Office of the President

Policy on Risk Management Issues Related to Service Learning; Supersedes EM 05-018; Superseded by EM 19-025

Executive Memorandum 11-046 April 18, 2011

This Executive Memorandum has been superseded by 19-025 .

From: Paul J. Zingg, President

Subject: Policy on Risk Management Issues Related to Service Learning; Supercedes EM 05-018

Upon the recommendation of the Academic Senate and with the concurrence of the Provost, I approve the Policy on Risk Management Issues Related to Service Learning.


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 a policy document, Executive Memorandum 05-18 informed by the Chancellor’s Office Executive Order 715 and the associated best practices manual. The overall intent of the Executive Order 715 and Executive Memorandum 05-18 was 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.

In recent years, changes in the conceptualization and the practice of service learning have occurred, creating a need to revise the substantive provisions and language of EM 05-18. Accordingly, this policy supersedes the policy set forth in EM 05-18.


NOTE: For purposes of this policy, “off-campus” means “occurring at a geographical location or within a physical facility not owned, leased, or managed by California State University, Chico.

Civic Engagement, also known as Community Engagement, is “…the collaboration between higher education institutions and their larger communities (local, regional/state, national, global) for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership and reciprocity.”

1.1 Community Service is “any work provided by individuals that contributes to the quality of life in the community. Community service work can be provided in several ways and for different purposes. Students may be involved in community service on their own, with a group or club, or through academic course work. When the community service is part of the academic course work, and when the service relates directly to the course content, it is considered service learning.”

1.1.1 Service Learning is “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.” Civic Learning is a form of service learning that emphasizes active participation in efforts by members of a community to work together to make public decisions and establish public policies.

NOTE: The activities defined in the Appendix – “internship,” “field trip,” “field experience,” “observation,” “practicum,” “preceptorships,” and “student teaching” – are not governed by this policy; they are covered under other University policies and procedures. See below, “Service Learning and Risk Management,” paragraph 3: “Exemptions.”


1. Purposes. The primary need addressed by this policy is to provide for the safety of CSU, Chico students and the persons with whom they interact when, as a requirement of their coursework, students participate in service learning activities, as these are defined here. Hence the chief purpose of this policy is to indicate that certain actions are required when CSU, Chico students interact with agencies and individuals outside of the university as part of a service learning course (requirement).

A second purpose of this policy is to create an advisory committee to develop and monitor additional procedures that will strengthen and improve (1) risk management, (2) programmatic efficiency and effectiveness, and (3) the quality of educational experience when students participate in service learning activities.

2. Policy Statement. Whenever a CSU, Chico student interacts with a non-university person, group, or organization off-campus as part of a service learning activity a Student Placement Agreement covering such interaction is required with the non-university entity (e.g., a public or private school, not-for-profit organization, government agency, neighborhood association, etc.) before any interaction can take place. This agreement may include (a) duties for each party; (b) requirements for background screening, liability, and workers compensation insurance; and (c) requirements regarding supervision of CSU Chico students.

University parties that have not yet negotiated Student Placement Agreements with non-university agencies or individuals must consult the Office of Civic Engagement about issuing agreements that meet current requirements as specified by the Committee University parties that have previous negotiated Student Placement Agreements with non-university agencies or individuals consult the Office of Engagement about issuing new agreements as existing agreements expire.

3. Exemptions. Student placements that do not meet the definition of service learning (see Appendix) are not governed by this policy; they are covered under other University policies and procedures.

The advisory committee established pursuant to this policy (hereafter, the “Service Learning Advisory Committee”) may issue exemptions from the requirement of a Student Placement Agreement. Any faculty member or administrator may apply to the Committee for an exemption.


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

In order to carry out its responsibility for implementation of this policy’s requirements and the establishment and monitoring of related procedures, the Service Learning Advisory Committee will establish guidelines to be followed by faculty and students when the latter participate in service learning activities. All planned service learning experiences, as herein defined, must be submitted to the Committee for review.

The committee will consist of the following persons or their designees:

The Dean of Undergraduate Education, who will serve as the committee chair

  • The CSU, Chico Risk Manager
  • The Director of Civic Engagements
  • The Program Administrator of CAVE
  • 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.
  • Two additional faculty members, to be nominated and selected through a procedure established by the Committee.
  • At least two community partners, selected annually by the Committee, to be nominated and selected through a procedure established by the Committee.
  • One student appointed annually by the Associated Students President


The actions expected of faculty members teaching courses requiring service learning will be determined by the Service Learning Advisory Committee, which shall establish the necessary procedures to advance the purposes of this policy and communicate these broadly to university faculty, students, and staff, as well as to community-based organizations. These procedures will include clear and efficient means for establishing student placement agreements before students engage in off-campus activities.


An internship is university-sanctioned academic or career-related work experience. Internships are arranged so that participating students can get a state of the work actually performed by persons in the field for which they are preparing academically. Students may or may not receive academic credit.

A field trip is an excursion off-campus usually arranged and supervised by faculty for the purpose of viewing, hearing about, or experiencing a phenomenon, situation, or source of information relevant to the content of an academic course.

A field experience is a faculty-supervised off-campus activity designed to enhance the student’s knowledge, know-how (skill in using or applying knowledge), or gathering of data or information relevant to these.

Observation is experience intended to enhance the skill of students in using observational methods or techniques for research.

A practicum is a course or segment of a course intended to afford students a supervised practical experience and the chance to apply knowledge in a “real-world” setting. Similar to a field experience, but may be more structured and more formalized.

A preceptorships is roughly the same as an internship, but briefer, more likely to involve work of a substantial nature, and more likely to be closely supervised on site.

Student teaching is a supervised school site-based classroom experience in a professional preparation program that exposes credential candidates to a variety of instructional activities, including classrooms, resource rooms, and other settings where instructional activities occur.