The Office of Undergraduate Education recognizes that field trips are often an essential part of academic course work, that is why we try to provide our students with learning opportunities outside the classroom. To ensure that all field trips avoid unnecessary liability exposure and promote the greatest amount of safety possible, faculty planning off campus trips should follow the guidelines below. These guidelines serve to centralize the relevant state and University policies and provide best practices for instructors and students.
Field Trip Guidelines
The Office of Undergraduate Education does not allow individuals who are not registered for a course to engage in course activities or participate in the use of equipment/materials during the field trip. All documented students need to complete a Field Trip Consent Form before they are able to participate in course activities and use University equipment.
According to Washington State Ethics Laws, anyone who is not a UW student cannot use any resources paid for by state funds, including tuition, course fees, and other departmental funds. In the case of nonregistered minors, participation in field trips for purpose of child care is strictly forbidden. Further, as a matter of general University policy, children of University students, faculty, and staff members are not authorized to be on field trips. For the purposes of this policy “children” refers to minors under 18 years of age who are not students or employees of the University. In no case can non-registered individuals interfere with the working/learning experience of any students registered for the class. All students must be able to devote their time and attention to the field trip experience, and must be able to remain focused on the work and alert at all times.
Arrangements for field trip transportation can be made by faculty through UW Tacoma Motor Pool Services. Outside agency vehicle rentals can be made through UW Fleet Services (UCAR). For additional information on the use of vehicles including - program policy and guidelines, safety requirements, and operator responsiblities visit: http://www.tacoma.uw.edu/node/39967.
Field trips, with University provided transportation (charter bus or rental van), should begin and end on campus. A field trip that begins and ends on campus is less likely to be questioned as a "field trip" by insurance policy administrators when reviewing a claim.
University of Washington policy states that family, spouses, children, friends, and acquaintances of faculty, staff, and students are not authorized to be drivers or passengers of UW vehicles unless they are employees or contractors of the University or are registered as a volunteer on a University project or program.
If the University cannot not provide group transportation, then the participants must convene at the site off campus, meaning that the field trip will need to begin and end at the off campus location. Individual participants will be personally liable for transportation to/from and during events when the University does not provide transportation. In these instances, faculty or staff should not be involved in planning or supervising the travel arrangements of individuals. In addition, notify student participants that personal transportation arrangements are done so at their own risk. The University is not responsible for students that make their own travel arrangements to and from a field trip meeting site.
- All courses with fieldtrips requiring time outside of the published day-times for regular course meetings must publish the trip requirements in the time schedule and on the course syllabus.
- If the above stated UW policies and College field trip guidelines mean that a student cannot participate in the fieldtrip, it is the instructor’s responsibility to make reasonable efforts to arrange an alternate assignment for the student.
- Communicate codes of conduct for students, addressing such issues as fraternizing, consuming alcohol, etc. Advise participants of the consequences of non-compliance and take appropriate action when participants are in violation.
- Lastly, plan for and accommodate students with certain needs (such as disability accommodations).
Best Practices for Instructors
- Publish field trip information in the course syllabus, including the date and whether the trip is required or optional. The course syllabus should also include duration, location, means of transportation (if applicable) and any unusual requirements particular to the trip (e.g., long duration hikes, work a high altitudes, working in water, possible extreme weather conditions, etc.), and field trip guidelines.
- If an alternative assignment is required for a student unable to participate in a field trip, communicate with the student to determine any time or travel restrictions they have (ex: a student may not be able to participate in anything – field or otherwise – after a certain time of day because of employment or childcare obligations).
- If a field opportunity arises after your syllabus has been finalized, notify the class as soon as possible and make the trip optional.
Make Sure Students
- Review all course requirements in the syllabus.
- Notify you of any potential impediments that may affect their participation in the field trip.
- Communicate any time and/or travel restrictions as early as possible.
- Complete a Field Trip Consent Form.
Use of Course Fee Funds
Course fees are additional charges that are intended to pay for specified course-related costs. These request are aimed to help cover costs specifically associated with certain courses and are not designed to replace general operating costs, which are paid from tuition.
The Office of Undergraduate supports the use of course fee funds because it allows faculty to provide students with high quality hands on learning, adds value to our course offerings, and strengthens the educational experience of our first-year students. To request the use of course fee funds, a form must be submitted to the OUE office (attn: Paul Cigarruista) or scanned and emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Course Fee Funds Covers
Instruction related services such as materials consumed by a student during the progress of the course and consumable expenses directly related to the student’s participation in a course.
Please note: All requests are strictly intended for T CORE and T UNIV classes ONLY.
- Field trips and Travel - Costs pertaining to UW vehicle charges, field trip transportation, and required travel expenses for students to visit locations, events, lecturers, and other required activities off-campus as part of the course.
- Materials and Supplies – Including but not limited to laboratory and field trip “tangibles”. Also, consumable supplies, such as art supplies and non-inventoried instructional materials, used as part of the course.
- Equipment – Used for instructional purposes only with direct use by students.
- Maintenance and Services - Fees assessed to pay for services external to the University, in some cases guest speakers (honoraria), and facilities or equipment the department or University does not control.
Rules governing costs that may be covered by course fees are explicitly covered in Excutive Order No. 44 under Presidential Orders 5.A (Course Fees Charged to Students).
Course Fee Funds DO NOT Cover
- Instructional salary and benefit costs (e.g., services rendered by faculty, staff, and TA's).
- Food purchases for events or activities.
- Transportation outside of field trips or required events and activities.
- Computer and other laboratory equipment usage, primary software maintenance and related supplies.
- Standard equipment and maintenance, such as desks, blackboards, computer projection equipment, or other standard equipment used for instructional purposes.
- Instructional materials distributed to the class, such as syllabi, assignments, or examination materials.
- Health or safety equipment required in carrying out course activities.
- Required books and publications, even if retained by the student at the completion of the course.