Conducting community learning activities in the community can involve risk. Risk management provides tools to identify areas of potential difficulty. This information and these tools can be used to reduce risk by educating and preparing stakeholders (the university, students, and community partners). Identifying risk in advance reduces concerns about liability that may undermine a program or project.
Best practices for risk management
- A Community Learning Agreement is established between the SJSU Center for Community Learning & Leadership and the community organization/placement site regarding student service activities and liability.
- Students assess and understand any risk such that they can provide informed consent prior to engaging in service activities, that is, by completing a Student Community Learning Plan.
- Students understand their roles and have the training, knowledge, skills and tools to perform their service duties safely and effectively.
- All stakeholders (students, faculty, community site supervisors) are encouraged to report problems, potential hazards or feelings of being physically or emotionally at risk.
- Faculty member monitors students' service experiences and addresses risk issues quickly if they arise.
Risk management tools and forms are provided below by the Center for Community Learning & Leadership. They have been created by a group of CSU community learning practitioners and risk managers for practical and legal reasons to:
- Help protect the instructor, the university, the community partner, and the students from taking unnecessary legal and physical risks;
- Track student placements and service hours as well as clarify student commitment and accountability;
- Encourage the community placement site to establish plans for training, orientation and supervision - critical elements for reducing risk to students;
- Establish agreements between the university and community agency, protecting both in the event of an accident or incident and;
- Prompt the exchange of important information such that all participants are informed of and prepared to accept the risks of engaging in the community learning activities.
Advise your students to visit this website, particularly the students section, for an orientation to Community Learning and Risk Management. Faculty might familiarize themselves with Student and Community Partner forms as well. Student leaders from the CCLL can also help introduce, distribute and collect student forms in a community learning class. Please contact the Center if you would like advice or in-class help related to the forms.