Field trips

Policies, Procedures and FAQ for Domestic, Undergraduate Academic Field Trips

What is a field trip?
A field trip is an off-campus tour or learning activity students participate in to enhance their knowledge and skills for academic purposes. Field trips are part of a course syllabus, are required for class credit and are coordinated by faculty in consultation with department staff.  Field trips can include travel to factories, museums, studios, businesses, theaters, etc.  

What is NOT a field trip?
Off-campus meetings, exhibitions, or events that would be appropriate enhancements for learning, where attendance is voluntary, and students attend on their own time and at their own expense; Rhode Island School of Design is not responsible for travel or supervision for trips of this nature.

Off-campus activities or trips undertaken as part of a club or a Center for Student Involvement event are a “student activity” and not a “field trip.”

Field trips should take place during the regular meeting time for the course. Although a field trip may be scheduled, with the permission of the department head and coordination with other faculty members as necessary, for a weekend, students cannot be required to attend a weekend field trip or one that takes place outside of the course’s regular scheduled meeting time unless the course description notes “This course includes a Saturday or evening field trip”. Specific locations, dates, and times of field trips must be included in the course syllabus.

Faculty responsibilities
A faculty member must accompany all academic field trips, including travel to/from the location.  If a faculty member cannot travel with the trip, the department head must be notified and approve a RISD staff member to travel with the course. Contact information for that person must be submitted to Risk Management (see following field trip approval process).

The faculty member(s) traveling with the students must have a cell phone number for each student participating and provide the students with a way to reach them as well.  It is advised that faculty leave a list of all participants (those registered in the course and non-registered) with cell phone contact information with the course’s department as well, so that if the faculty member suffers an emergency all students can be notified.

Faculty and staff may not transport students in personally owned vehicles on academic field trips. 

What is the student’s responsibility during a field trip?
Students participating in academic field trips are expected to conform to the same standards of behavior as outlined in the RISD Student Code of Conduct Any violation of a RISD policy or local, state or federal law may result in disciplinary action by RISD.

Students, who plan to travel to the site of a field trip early, remain at the site after the planned activity is completed, or separate from the group do so at their own risk and are responsible for their own travel arrangements, expenses and behavior.  The student is required to complete a waiver prior to departure.  Anyone who chooses to take alternative transportation does so at their own risk. 

The field trip approval process
Field trips are funded by course fees published prior to registration. The faculty member must collaborate with the course’s department coordinator for advice about and execution of logistical needs and considerations, and to develop a detailed budget on the Course Fee Worksheet for all trips which are part of the course syllabus.  The Course Fee Worksheet must be approved by the Dean.

After a course fee has been approved, the faculty member will receive an emailed google form that is used to provide Risk Management trip details (date(s) of travel, location, mode of transportation).  Completion of the form must take place no later than the first day of class.  The faculty contact information requested will be used only in the event of an emergency. 

All course fees and field trips supported by course fees need to be reviewed annually by faculty and their departments during the Course Table planning process.

Additional review is required for an overnight field trip
The Office of Risk Management will review information provided via the google form (see above) and contact faculty with follow up questions for overnight field trips.  The Risk Manager can assist with waivers, insurance documents, and emergency planning, if needed.

What are the transportation options?
Chartered buses, professionally driven vehicles, or College-owned vehicles should be used for transportation on academic field trips.  Public transportation (e.g. regularly scheduled trains or buses) and rental vehicles (including Zip Cars) are also an appropriate means of transportation.  You may not rent a vehicle larger than a 12 passenger van (i.e. no 15 passenger vans). All drivers must meet the driver requirements outlined in the Fleet Safety Policy which appears as a document attached to the Risk Management page

NOTE: Paying for rental vehicles with the RISD Procurement Card affords faculty/departments the option to waive the insurance offered by the rental company. RISD Procurement Card purchases are covered by the general insurance policy covering RISD. 

What if one of the participating students has a disability?
The Office of Disability Support Services can assist with information and accommodation requests for students with disabilities.  401-709-8460

What do I do if something happens during the field trip?
In the event of an emergency, contact Public Safety at 401-454-6666 to report the incident and receive assistance.