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Service Learning Risk Management

With any assigned out-of-classroom experience, the university is exposed to liability issues. As the person who is assigning students to work in the community, it is important that you are proactive in risk management. Risk management is the process we undertake to minimize risks and ensure, to the best of our ability, a safe environment in which to live and work. Community partner sites may pose certain manageable risks.

Whether the service experience is required or optional, liability waiver forms should be used to inform students of the risks, collect emergency contact information, and to protect the university and faculty member.

Guiding Principles of Risk Management for Service-Learning Faculty

  • Do provide an orientation to students that includes an overview of service learning and the policies, procedures, and risks involved in the specific service activities they will be providing to the community.
  • Do discuss the course syllabus with students so they fully understand their responsibilities, learning objectives, and service objectives, and are informed of the risks associated with their service-learning placements. Written service learning agreements are recommended.
  • Do conduct site visits with all service sites to ensure their safety and suitability.
  • Do offer alternative placements and/or opportunities for students in service-learning courses to avoid potential risks and meet the special safety needs of any student.
  • Do collect students’ emergency contact information and know the emergency procedures at the university and the service site.
  • Don't arrange travel for students! Liability is greatly reduced if students are responsible for their own transportation to and from the service site.
  • Out-of-state travel may require additional considerations; contact UNLV Risk Management and Safety.