Policy and Risk Management

Policy for Service Learning

All SJSU designated service learning courses must incorporate a minimum of ten hours of community-based service throughout the term. Service learning must be integrated in course curriculum; therefore, students must complete one or more assignments (e.g. research papers, journals, public presentations) that integrate the service experience with course content and learning outcomes.

The CSU requires SJSU to assess sites for risk management purposes and to secure a University Organization Agreement (UOA) prior to placement with all community-based organizations (e.g. non-profit, social service, and government agencies). In addition, students must complete a waiver of liability, participation guidelines, learning plan, and provide emergency contact information.

Oversight Responsibilities

  1. Deans oversee compliance of programs in their colleges. They are responsible for ensuring faculty members in their colleges comply with risk management policies and best practices.
  2. Department Chairs are responsible for informing their department faculty of the service learning policy and implementation requirements. Department faculty should be informed at or by the first department meeting of the term in person or via email.
  3. The Center for Community Learning and Leadership works in cooperation with the colleges and departments to ensure campus compliance.

Best Practices for Risk Management

A University Organization Agreement is established between the SJSU and community organization/placement site regarding student service activities and liability. Students are made aware of any risks so they can provide informed consent prior to engaging in service activities. 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 members monitor students' service experiences and address risk issues quickly if they arise.

Risk management tools are required by the Chancellor's Office. They were created by a group of CSU community learning practitioners and risk managers for practical and legal reasons to:

  1. Help protect the instructor, the university, the community partner, and the students from taking unnecessary legal and physical risks;
  2. Track student placements and service hours as well as clarify student commitment and accountability;
  3. Encourage the community placement site to establish plans for training, orientation and supervision - critical elements for reducing risk to students;
  4. Establish agreements between the university and community agency, protecting both in the event of an accident or incident and;
  5. 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.

SJSU's risk documentation is now embedded in SJS4 - Supporting Students & Service Sites.