As with any form of experiential learning in which students leave campus, service-learning can entail different risks than classroom learning. Faculty should consider the specific risks involved in academic service-learning, and respond appropriately in course and project design. This information supplements information from UVM's department of Risk Management, which may also be useful.
Guiding Principles of Risk Management for Academic Service-Learning
- Provide an orientation to students that includes an overview of service-learning and the policies, expectations and guidelines involved in the specific service activities, projects or research in which they will be engaging.
- Discuss the syllabus and/or assignments with students so that they fully understand their responsibilities, partners' expectations, the learning objectives, and the context for the service, project or research. Written agreements or memoranda of understanding (MOU's) are strongly encouraged.
- Conduct visits, if appropriate, with service sites to ensure safety and suitability.
- Collect students' emergency contact information, and familiarize yourself with the emergency procedures in the site, if appropriate.
Ways We Can Help
SL-TAs can be requested in advance. These teaching assistants can help manage the service-learning project, conduct site visits, orient students to service sites, gather emergency contact information if appropriate, and/or function as a liaison to a community partner.
As with any topic, CUPS staff are happy to consult on risk management practices in your particular course.
Our Resource Library has many publications highlighting the range of academic service-learning, with examples and materials from many disciplines.
For more extensive information, please review the Department of Risk Management & Safety's “Field Trip Guidelines”. The Vehicle Safety section of their website is also an indispensable resource for transportation risk management information.
Best Transportation Practices — Bus and University-Owned Vehicles
Use of personal vehicles is discouraged. Ideally, students will travel by bus or in University-owned or leased behicles. CCTA buses are free for UVM students.
University-owned vehicles are available in some departments.
The Student Government Association rents six 12-passenger vans and a pick-up truck. Academic departments can reserve them 10 days in advance of the rental and student groups can reserve up to 4 weeks, so on weekends can be difficulty to secure SGA vans. During the summer, however, the vans are almost never used by clubs and become more available. The vans cost $100/van/day and are parked at the Gutterson Parking Garage. This includes insurance through the University. If anything were to happen, it is covered except for a deductible, for which the renting department is responsible. Vans come with a full tank of gas, and renters are responsible for returning them full. The renters must have drivers who are certified through Risk Management. This means they have taken a class on driver safety and need to follow all of the policies that Risk Management issues. Contact Sarah Fletcher at the SGA to reserve the van.
To be able to drive University-owned vans, you must be certified through the driver safety program offered by Risk Management. Note that this includes a DMV check of your driving background (which can take up to 10 days) and a 2-hour driver safety lesson. For more information, see their Driver Safety Program webpage.
If University-owned vehicles are not available, vans or cars may be rented. UVM maintains a rental agreement with Hertz. Travelers should visit the Hertz Direct Booking Tool at: www.hertz.com or call the local Shelburne Road Office: (802) 859-3601. The UVM corporate discount number is 1814044. Those renting vehicles should review UVM's policies concerning auto rental.
Use of Personal Vehicles
Student driving is also discouraged. If students or faculty must drive personal vehicles, they must show proof of a valid driver's license, insurance and sign the alternative transportation waiver. When students are travelling on their own for service-learning and community projects, it is best to arrange a university vehicle. But if that is not feasible, collect all drivers' liscense and insurance information, and have them all sign the waivers. NOTE: Those driving personal vehicles will not be covered by UVM's insurance policy in case of an accident.
Review the appropriate UVM policies for auto rental and use of University-owned vehicles. These are quite specific; consider bringing a copy of the policy with you.
Last modified October 30 2013 09:03 AM