Student Field Trip Policy

1.00 Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to establish guidelines for educationally enriching field trip experiences for CSU Monterey Bay students that mitigate potential risk to students, staff, faculty, and the University, in compliance with EO 1062.

This policy is intended to reflect the University's commitment to the principles, goals, and ideals described in the CSUMB Vision Statement and to its core values.

2.00 Definitions

A field trip is defined as a CSUMB course-related, off-campus activity led by a CSUMB faculty or staff member which is designed to serve educational purposes. A field trip may include the gathering of data for research (such as at a geological or archaeological site), museum visits, participation in a conference or competition, or visits to an event or place of interest. The duration of a field trip may be independent of a class period or may be a class period or longer, and could extend over multiple days. This is not a policy governing:

  1. Field-based or field intensive courses
  2. Teacher preparation program
  3. Intercollegiate sports
  4. Service-learning placements
  5. Internship placements, or
  6. Independent student research not under direct supervision of CSUMB faculty or staff member.

Travel related to the cases listed above are governed under separate policy.

A Release of Liability Form is a document provided by the Chancellor’s Office, which, when signed, authorizes a student to participate in a CSUMB field trip.

A site evaluation refers to a written assessment by a CSUMB staff or faculty member (heretofore, “evaluator”), which is based on that staff or faculty member’s current knowledge of the site intended for a field trip activity. Knowledge of the site may be based on online reviews and other published materials, and/or direct contact with the site.

A site review refers to a comprehensive evaluation of a field trip site, which is usually based on a site visit by a CSUMB staff or faculty member. The review results in a recommendation to the Department Chair for either continued use, suspension, or termination of the field trip site.

3.00 Administrative Responsibilities

3.10 Field Trip Inventory

The Department shall maintain an inventory of all courses that offer field trip activities.

Any course offering field trips shall indicate the nature of the field trip activity as part of the course syllabus and/or course description.

For unplanned field trip opportunities, CSUMB staff or faculty members shall adhere to the guidelines established in section 4.00 of this policy, and shall notify the Department Chair of the field trip, so that this course may be included in the inventory.

3.20 Periodic Site Review

The faculty shall conduct periodic site reviews of field trip locations. Potential criteria for triggering site review may include, but are not limited to the following:

  1. Change in risk factors
  2. Site sensitivity to visitor impact (may be environmental, cultural, or other)
  3. Change in access or availability, or
  4. Inactive use of site.

4.00 Faculty/Staff Responsibilities

4.10 Pre-trip Site Evaluation

The use of field trips as a course learning activity requires a pre-trip site evaluation. The written site evaluation shall be sent to the Department Chair and retained by the Department prior to the field trip.

4.20 Instructional Agenda & Itinerary

Faculty shall include field trips in the course description and syllabus when possible. Some students may use this knowledge in course selection.

Additionally, faculty shall provide to students an instructional agenda and itinerary in advance of the field trip. The agenda and itinerary shall include the time and location of the field trip, as well as a detailed description of the activity to occur. Faculty are encouraged to provide a level of detail in the description that will enable participants to understand any potential risks involved.

The instructional agenda should also provide:

  1. Any special equipment training necessary to engage in the field trip activity, and a means for participants to receive such training;
  2. A means to accommodate any special needs of the participants;
  3. An alternative assignment for those unwilling to accept the risk of participation;
  4. Health and safety information relevant to the field trip (a check-list might be provided of what students should bring);
  5. Emergency procedures; and
  6. A code of conduct if specific behavior is expected or required for cultural, environmental, or safety reasons.

4.30 Transportation

Staff and faculty coordinating field trips are strongly encouraged NOT to organize transportation to the field trip site for students, but rather, to encourage students to self-organize.

In cases where CSUMB staff or faculty members organize transportation on behalf of students, they shall do so in compliance with the California State University Use of University and Private Vehicles Policy Guidelines and the California State University Student Travel Policy.

4.40 Documentation

Prior to the time of the field trip, the faculty member needs to have collected the following documents:

  1. A list of field trip participants and their designated emergency contacts; and,
  2. Medical Consent Forms, if applicable.

Copies of the above documents, in addition to the signed and approved Release of Liability Form for each participant, should also be in file in the Departmental Office and available to University Police Department prior to the field trip. Students who have not submitted the documents listed above may not participate in the field trip activity.

5.00 Student Responsibilities

Students who wish to participate in field trip activities sign and submit the Release of Liability Form to the faculty conducting the field trip, preferably not less than 24 hours prior to the date the field trip is planned to occur. Students under the age of 18 must secure and submit the signature of their legal guardian before being approved to participate in the field trip activity. Students must also include emergency contact information, and a signed medical consent form, if so requested.

Students unable to participate in a field trip due to medical concerns and potential risks will be able to complete an alternative assignment as described on the course syllabus or provided in the instructional agenda and itinerary provided by the faculty in the case of a field trip that is an unplanned opportunity during the course.

Students who fail to submit the documents as specified above may not participate in the field trip activity.

6.00 Document Retention

Departments or units who sponsor a field trip shall retain the signed Release of Liability Form for each student participant, together with any related documents for at least one year after the conclusion of the term during which the field trip took place. In the case of minors, the Department or unit shall retain the documents for two years after the end of the term.

Documents may be stored electronically.

7.00 Continuous Renewal

This policy shall be reviewed in five years to determine its effectiveness. It may be revised, as necessary to reflect University, CSU system, and/or state changes.

s/ Eduardo M. Ochoa


Effective Date: March 27, 2013

Certification of Process:

Reviewed by: Policy Facilitation Team, Academic Senate Executive Committee, Academic Senate, Post Graduate Studies and Research Committee, Educational Policy and Programs Committee, Academic Affairs Council, Deans and Provost, Enrollment Services and Student Affairs Leadership Team, Associated Students, Provost, and President.