During the planning stages of a community-based learning course, project or activity, faculty and staff should consider five main components: site visits, travel arrangements, research needs, formal written agreements (i.e. affiliation or agency agreements) and the potential risks to students. The diagram below provides a detailed step-by-step process of these five components, considered best practices. The diagram also provides additional information regarding the steps specific to certain types of off-campus activities as well as information about the appropriate UNF offices to contact for more help during each step of the process.
Click on the diagram to enlarge.
A full list of best practices to consider in preparing for a community-based learning course, project or activity can be found here.
Before students head off-campus, it's recommended that the lead faculty or staff person visit the community organization. The main purpose behind this visit is to note any visible safety risks or hindrances to those with disabilities. The visit will also help determine what requirements are needed of the students, how travel should be arranged and what type of agreement will be needed with the organization.
The links below aide faculty and staff in thinking through the site visit and the set-up of their course, project or activity. It's recommended that the faculty or staff member review the forms prior to the visit and note the major concerns while onsite. The information will be helpful to the Office of the General Counsel as they prepare the acknowledgments and/or agreements. The staff of the Center for Community-Based Learning are available to assist with site visits.
Site Visit Checklist - This form is a complete checklist that can be filled out electronically or printed off and brought to the site. The information on the checklist is meant to be helpful and is not required of all experiences. Specifically, this checklist covers community-based learning opportunities, particularly those based on long-term or clinical partnerships.
Risk Evaluation Questionnaire - The Office of Undergraduate Studies and their Transformational Learning Opportunity (TLO) grant program has specific requirements for opportunities that take place off-campus. In conjunction with the Office of the General Counsel, they've created this Risk Evaluation Questionnaire to be used for field trips and community-based learning courses, projects and activities. This information provides a brief look at the potential risks and safety concerns that might be present at the community organization. This form should be filled out first. If clarification or further assessment is needed, please also use the Site Visit Checklist (above).
In order for the community-based component to link to the faculty or staff member's desired learning outcomes, there are some important steps to consider early on in the planning process of a CBTL course, project or activity. For instance, it's important to realize that the relationship with the community partner should begin at least a semester prior to the course or activity. As this is the building block for the off-campus experience, a good relationship should be built early on. Other issues arise during and after the course. The basic timeline below helps faculty and staff plan for all of the logistics involved in a CBTL, course, project or activity. The timeline is for planning, implementing and assessing CBTL experiences. It's meant as a general guideline and may need tweaks based on course/activity content, level of engagement, personal preferences and whether or not the experience has been conducted before.
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The Office of the General Counsel provides several templates and example forms that faculty and staff will often need in planning their community-based course, project or activity. The forms consist of a variety of contracts and releases. The situations that require an affiliation agreement, agency agreement and/or acknowledgement form are covered in this section.
Using the diagram below, faculty and staff should answer the questions to determine which forms to give their community partners and students. If a question is unable to be answered or the off-campus activity requires special considerations, the Office of the General Counsel and the Center for Community-Based Learning are available to answer any questions.
Center for Community-Based Learning - For assistance in planning for community-based learning courses, projects and activities. Staff at the Center is available to help conduct site visits, prepare basic risk management forms, develop community partnerships and assist in syllabi and activity development.
Department of Environmental Health & Safety - For assistance in the areas of environmental health, safety, insurance and risk management. The office can provide compliance consultations, training sessions, monitoring and follow-up for faculty and staff.
Disability Resource Center - For assistance in creating University-sponsored
programs, policies and procedures that provide reasonable accommodations for
individuals with disabilities.
International Center - For information about International travel. They provide travel forms, safety information and legal requirements involved in student, faculty and staff travel outside of the United States. The faculty manual for study abroad courses is available through their website.
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