Academic Affairs

CSU Off-Campus Academic Activities - Frequently Asked Questions

This collection of frequently asked questions (FAQ) provides brief answers to commonly asked questions pertaining to CSU off-campus academic activities. The FAQs are designed to be continually updated.

Submission of new questions and responses are welcomed and encouraged. New questions and/or answers should be sent to: offcampusactivities@calstate.edu.

GENERAL:

Q: What was the impetus for Executive Order 1062 - Field Trip Policy and Procedures and Executive Order 1064 - Internships?

A: Both Executive Order 1062 - Field Trip Policy and Procedures and Executive Order 1064 – Internships resulted directly from recommendations put forth in the Off-Campus Activities Systemwide Audit (09-54). Previously there was no field trip or internship policy in existence. Auditors required that a policy at the system level be established. The timeline for releasing both policies was based on the requirements set forth in the audit.


Q: Is there a timeline for implementation of Executive Orders 1062 and 1064?

A: While both executive orders do not contain explicit deadlines for compliance, campuses are strongly encouraged to promptly assess current campus policies and procedures regarding both field trips and student internships to ensure compliance moving forward and well in-place for when auditors return. Campuses are to use this as an opportunity to:

  1. Review existing policies regarding field trips and internships;
  2. Determine what adjustments need to be made to bring campus policies in line with EO 1062 and EO 1064;
  3. Make the necessary policy changes; and
  4. Implement the revised policies.

Q: Is there an expectation that the written agreement between the campus and the hosting agency contains insurance requirements and indemnification language?

A: Yes. At a minimum there should be indemnification language in the agreement and in most circumstances this would be supplemented by insurance requirements. The indemnification language is the “promise" of indemnifying and the insurance provides some assurance the indemnifier can follow-through on the "promise."


Q: It is my understanding that SAFECLIP and/or SPLIP will apply for any student placement with a community agency/business provided the placement is for academic credit and there is a written agreement in place. Is this accurate?

A:Yes, if a written agreement is in place and the placement is for academic credit, SAFECLIP and SPLIP would apply.

A learning site would only be afforded coverage to whom the University is obligated by written agreement to provide such coverage as is afforded by these policies.

Students enrolled in Nursing, Allied Health, Social Work, or Education credential programs of the CSU who also perform community service or volunteer work for academic credit are covered by the Student Professional Liability Insurance Program (SPLIP).

Other CSU students performing community service or volunteer work for academic credit and students enrolled in radio, television or film academic programs of the CSU are separately covered by the Student Academic Field Experience for Credit Liability Insurance Program (SAFECLIP).


Q: What if there is a placement and there is not a completed written agreement, does SAFECLIP cover in the event of a loss or a claim?

A: In order to guarantee coverage under SAFECLIP, a written agreement must be in place.


Q: If allied health students enrolled in a clinical or professional program normally covered by SPLIP are placed in a non-clinical site, will there still be a need for an allied health agreement? Is it the placement or the program that determines the agreement and whether it is SPLIP or SAFECLIP?

A: The type of agreement and CSU insurance policy are determined by the program not the placement site. For example, a dietician student is placed at a food bank or an audiologist major is at an elementary school as their clinical placement, then SPLIP and the need for an allied health agreement would be applicable.

If an allied health major is at a site and it is not part of their clinical placement or required for the major (i.e., they are taking a service-learning class), the program is what still determines the type of agreement and insurance coverage. In this situation SAFECLIP would apply and the need for a service-learning university-agency agreement is needed.


Q: Is a learning site covered by SAFECLIP

A: Only if required by the written agreement.


Q: Are international service-learning and internship experiences/trips covered by SAFECLIP?

A: Yes, SAFECLIP would provide coverage with international placements but would only respond to lawsuits brought in the United States.


Q: What is the maximum number of years placement documentation needs to be retained (e.g., learning plan, university-agency agreement, site assessment, etc.)

A: Please see the CSU record retention website as well as your campus retention policy.


Q: Service learning is included in Section II Terms and Conditions of Executive Order 1064: "It [Internships] is an off-campus activity designed to serve educational purposes by offering experience in a service learning1, business, non-profit, or government setting." Does this mean service-learning is an internship?

1See "Managing Risk in Service Learning"

A: No, service learning is not an internship. The Center for Community Engagement in the Chancellor's Office defines service learning as:

"A teaching method that promotes student learning through active participation in meaningful and planned service experiences in the community that are substantially related to course content. Through reflective activities, students enhance their understanding of course content, general knowledge, sense of civic responsibility, self-awareness and commitment to the community." 2011 CSU Resource Guide for Managing Risk in Service Learning (page 4)

The resource guide provides forms and templates that outline recommended standards for campuses to follow. These guidelines have been designed so that there is a consistent approach within the CSU regarding several key risk management components. The standards outlined below meet the standards found in EO 1064; therefore, for this purpose service-learning was included in section III of the EO.

  • Develop a Risk Assessment Plan
  • Pre-placement Risk Assessment (this may or may not include
  • Service Learning Agreement
  • Student Orientation
  • Learning Plan

While some of the information in the resource guide will apply to other types of experiential education programs, such as internships, it is not intended to cover the intricacies that exist in each of the different types of experiential education; however, it may serve as a valuable resource to other experiential education programs. Campuses are encouraged to have a conversation with their campus risk manager and contracts and procurement officer about whether certain recommendations for service learning in the resource guide can accommodate the recommended standards for internships outlined in EO 1064.


Q: So, what exactly are service-learning internships? Does this fall under the category of service learning or internships?

A: To muddy the waters a bit, service-learning internships are beginning to crop up on many CSU campuses, particularly within the STEM disciplines. This type of experiential education program would fall under the category of internship which may or may not be tied to a course. With these types of placements, students may receive financial compensation while working with a non-profit or government agency; therefore, EO 1064 would apply to this type of off-campus activity.

By contrast, a service-learning course as defined by the CSU Center for Community Engagement is, "an academic course (in any discipline) that provides students opportunities to participate in organized service activities that meet community needs while linking the community service experience to the course content." In a service-learning course, students do not receive financial compensation and the service-learning placement is a critical component of the course material, but does not embody the entirety of the course. In a service-learning internship, students may receive financial compensation and the vast majority of the course time is focused on the community placement and resulting projects.

Campus Example

At CSU San Bernardino, service-learning internships are tied to a specific course. For example, chemistry students take CHEM 575 Internship, and they complete the vast majority of course requirements (typically represented by a specific number of hours per credit awarded) at the nonprofit service learning placement site. A final reflective paper is often the only non-placement based work that is required of the student. Students who meet financial eligibility requirements receive a student support payment at the end of the internship experience.


Q: Are short-term university-agency agreements a viable option?

A: Yes, when used for the specific intention of addressing one-time or limited academic internship placements. It should not be used in place of a university agreement where multiple student placements occur or with a long-term partner.

Some existing challenges campus face in using short term agreements include tracking, departments not communicating and skirting a potentially larger risk. Short term University-Agency agreements should not be used to circumvent the more robust long-term agreements. Short-term agreements should essentially be limited to special circumstances/placements.

For campuses currently using short-term placements for one-time or limited academic internship placements, we recommend that campuses consider doing an informal review of their policy and practices.

  • For one-time only, short-term relationships, student found
  • Tracking, used to skirt a larger risk, departments not communicating
  • Have tracking plan in place BEFORE rolling out

FIELD TRIP FAQs:

Q: There is a provision in Executive Order 1062 - Field Trip Policy and Procedures - that states we must "Provide for an alternate assignment for students unwilling to accept the risk of participation." What about cases where the field trip is a requirement for the degree?

A: In a major where the field trip is a part of the degree requirements you may treat this as applying to the specific field trip but not the degree requirement. In practice this means that a student may opt out of a field trip to one site, but the student should know that they must complete the requirement by participating in another field trip(s) either at another site or another time.


INTERNSHIP FAQs:

Q: Does the internship policy apply to social work, nursing, counseling, physical therapy, or occupational therapy and education under the purview of "clinical placements" as referenced in Executive Order 1064, Section III, Terms and Definitions?

A: The provisions outlined in EO 1064 do not include teacher preparation placements or clinical placements such as those for social work, nursing, counseling, physical therapy, or occupational therapy. These placements are under the purview of the Student Professional Liability Insurance Program (SPLIP) which provides general and professional liability coverage as well as educator's errors & omissions liability coverage for students enrolled in nursing, allied health, social work or education credential programs of the CSU who also perform community service or volunteer work for academic credit. See: Description Appendix


Q: Does the internship policy apply if a student coordinates their own external placement independent of their degree program?

A: If a student, as part of a University degree program, enters into an internship for unit and degree credit, then the internship would fall under the purview of the University and therefore must comply with EO 1064 policy. This applies regardless of whether the internship is paid or unpaid.

However, if the placement is independent from any degree program and not for unit and degree credit, the campus may utilize their discretion to determine procedures and protocols given the guidelines of the executive orders to ensure overall campus compliance (see additional Q&A's below for further nuances in this area).


Q: Do we need agreements in place for every student internship placement, even if there are voluminous amounts of internship sites?

A: Yes, university-site agreement must be in place in order to guarantee SAFECLIP/SPLIP coverage and adhere to EO 1064 if a student is participating in an internship for academic credit or as requirement for the major, regardless of whether the student is paid or unpaid. We recognize that getting agreements executed can be burdensome and a lot of work especially if no other students are placed at the same site. The EO has to be adhered to in order to protect the student, site, faculty and university. Some suggestions:

  • Focus your efforts and encourage students to place at sites in which agreements are already in place. For those campuses using CalState S4 for internship placements, approved sites with agreements in place are the only ones visible to students. For campuses not using S4 or working within a decentralized system, campuses should revisit their internship policy to determine where there are opportunities for efficiencies that also meet EO 1064.
  • On those occasions when a student self-places at an internship site, we recommend that students be provided with necessary documents to take to the site. For example, if your campus uses a pre-assessment risk document, the student can bring that along with a template of the approved university-site agreement with them. This process allows the student to take some ownership for their learning experience. It is then the student's responsibility to inform the potential site placement of expectations and provide them with the university contact person responsible for the placement with whom the site needs to communicate to finalize an agreement. The university's involvement in this process helps ensure that the placement would be of academic value consistent with faculty expectations.

     If the placement is truly a one-time, limited placement, please see General section on short term agreements.


Q: Do internships where students participate independently of their degree program for career experience and not used for any degree requirements or unit credit fall under the purview of EO 1064?

A: Internships independent from degree program and/or graduation requirements, where a student may participate in an internship or work study program on his/her own, are not held to the provisions outlined in EO 1064.


Q: If the university (i.e., a department, college, or center) facilitates internships in which the students are NOT enrolled in academic course by posting internship opportunities, helping with placements, vetting internship sites or tracking placements, does EO 1064 apply and is the university liable?

A: If the university office is posting opportunities or assisting students with resumes, etc. (much like job postings), this is not “university-sponsored" and the university is not liable under EO 1064.

If the university office is supporting the placement process (i.e., vetting placements, building partnerships, tracking, etc.) then this is a university-sponsored endeavor and full campus liability self-retention is triggered. SAFECLIP DOES NOT apply because no academic placement, but this is a university-sponsored program and the campus should follow best practices for mitigating risk.


Q: If the student is currently employed and is enrolled in a course which requires an internship, can the student's existing job account for their internship? Does the university have to complete an agreement with the students' employer?

A: This is a rare occurrence. Yes, the student's job can account for the internship with approval by the faculty member. Because the university did not originate the placement, a university-agreement isn't needed. However, we recommend a short written learning plan between the faculty, student and job supervisor indicating that the students' work placement will meet the internship requirement. The employers' workers' compensation/general liability would cover the student in the event of an incident.


Q: If individual departments coordinate off-campus activities independently of a campuswide internship office, are individual department procedures held to provisions of EO 1062 and EO 1064?

A: All campus offices participating in any student internship placement or field trip activity must be in compliance with the policies and procedures as outlined in EO 1062 and 1064. It is at the campuses' discretion to determine how the campus implements, monitors, and reports their off-campus activities.


Q: Regarding item D bullet 2 of EO 1064 – "the student must complete a liability waiver form if the internship placement is not required as part of the student's academic program" –– if the placement is not a part of the student's program, it is highly likely that "the University" will not know of the placement, which would make having the student complete the waiver form problematic at best. To what extent is the University required to try to determine if a student has such an internship placement?

A: There may be occasions where the University provides resources or assistance in placing students in an internship, though it may not be an academic requirement. In this and similar instances, the University needs to obtain the liability waiver. It is understood that on those occasions where a student independently arranges for an internship, that University personnel would not be able to obtain a liability waiver.


Q: Would an internship required as a pre-requisite for a required major course(s), though the internship itself not explicitly designated as a degree program requirement, fall under the purview of EO 1064?

A: Since the internship is required as a pre-requisite to a required course within the degree program, then the campus would have to comply with the provisions of EO 1064 as it relates to the pre-requisite internship.


Q: If the student is enrolled in a course for credit, is the student covered by SAFECLIP if they begin the internship prior to the semester or the internship extends beyond the semester?

A: Enrolled Students mean students who are enrolled and in good standing while completing an internship and registered/enrolled in a course that requires the internship experience, including academic breaks during the policy period. Enrolled Students also include students who have not received a letter grade in a course (e.g., assigned an “Incomplete"), but remain registered for that course until the Incomplete objectives are met, but for no more than one (1) year from the granting of the Incomplete.


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