Academic Field Trips :: Northern Virginia Community College

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Academic Field Trips

Policy Number: 223

Categorized: Academic Policies

Responsible Office: Provosts and VP for Workforce

Subject: Field trips for credit and non-credit classes

Related Policies: International Travel, Student Life Travel

Forms: Field Trip/Course Request for Approval Form 125-081; Student Travel Expenditure Request/Report Form 125-084; Assumption of Risk 125-152

Additional Information:

Effective Date: 05/20/2019

Last Reviewed Date: 03/26/2019


1.0 Scope

This policy applies to field trips and field courses in the contiguous 48 states for credit and non-credit classes. It does not apply to trips sponsored by Student Life or recognized student organizations.

2.0 Policy Statement

Field trips related to classroom instruction and field courses are encouraged and should be used to provide more enriching experiences than the normal classroom activity can provide. Field trips may be required or optional. Where such a trip is a required part of a course, the Schedule of Classes will provide an appropriate notation that such a field trip is required, and, if there is a cost to the student, what that cost will be.

Field trips and courses should be planned to avoid conflict with student attendance in other classes. If the trip will cause any student to miss classes in any other course, the student is responsible for obtaining prior approval of the other faculty member(s).

Field trips are College sponsored events and, as such, all relevant College policies and procedures, state, and federal laws apply to trip participants. All participants are individually responsible for their personal conduct while on field trips.

No guests will be allowed to attend field trips or courses. Participants must be registered as credit, non-credit, or audit students.

Individuals participating in field trips do so at their own risk. Participants who violate College policies and procedures while on the field trip may be subject to appropriate disciplinary action.

3.0 Definitions

Field Trip: an educational excursion involving travel away from the College that is part of a credit-bearing or non-credit course.

Field Courses: a course that depends upon learning experiences at a site or sites different from the College as essential and integral educational components. The course may be noncredit, credit, or a component of a credit/noncredit course.

4.0 Procedures

4.1. Approval

  1. The faculty member completes Form 125-081, Field Trip/Course Request for Approval form for submission to the supervising dean or designated Workforce official.
  2. If the students are to pay fees to cover expenses, Form 125-084, Student Travel Expenditure Request/Report form is to be completed.
  3. If the academic dean or designated Workforce official approves the trip, the faculty member will forward the Field Trip/Course Request form to the provost or VP for Workforce for approval.

4.2. Transportation for field trips or courses may take one of four forms:

  1. Faculty members may tell their students that the group will meet at the site of the activity. Students will then be responsible for arranging their own transportation. Faculty members must not transport students in their personal vehicles, nor be involved in arranging transportation in other private vehicles.
  2. Common carrier (bus, plane): Proper purchasing procedures must be followed if using a common carrier.
  3. A state vehicle may be used. Arrangements can be made through the designated Point of Contact for the campus. Students must not drive state vehicles, except in an emergency.
  4. Rented vehicle. Proper purchasing procedures must be followed if renting a vehicle. Students must not drive rented vehicles, except in an emergency

If the services of a travel agent are needed, proper purchasing procedures must be followed.

4.3. Notice to Student

In announcing a field trip or course, appropriate notice will be given to all students as to whether they are expected to pay expenses out of their own funds. If there is a cost to the student for a required field trip other than their personal transportation costs, the cost must be indicated in the Schedule of Classes.

4.4 Provide Accommodations

  1. Field trips must reasonably accommodate students with disabilities. Faculty members are encouraged to consult with students and Disability Support Services regarding accommodations. In the event that a reasonable accommodation is not feasible, students must be given the opportunity to complete an alternative activity.
  2. Students who cannot participate in field trips due to financial hardship, work, family, or religious obligations should be given an opportunity to complete an alternative activity.

4.5 Assumption of Risk Form

Faculty should refer to the instructions on the Assumption of Risk Form 125-152 to determine whether the form is required, and if so, will complete the form according to the instructions. If the trip is mandatory for completion of the course, risks must be identified at the beginning of the course. Copies of this form will be filed in the division office or in the Office of Workforce, and retained on record in accordance with the Commonwealth of Virginia records retention schedules. Faculty members are reminded that liability remains, and a trip leader is not released from the responsibility for using good judgment in all actions connected with the travel.

5.0 Authority

VCCS Policy 4.3.1.1 Fees Paid to a Third Party

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