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Planning Field Experiences for Gordon Students

Some of the most important educational experiences for our students are experiences that do not occur within the walls of a classroom or laboratory. This is certainly true for field-based biology courses but also for courses in any discipline with a service learning component.  It is the purpose of this document to provide guidance on the due diligence that must be completed by a faculty member when planning to take a student or a group of students to a field experience that involves travel and/or a visit to a non-campus location.


  • If the field experience is a required or recommended part of your class, please mention that fact within the syllabus distributed at the beginning of class. 
    • If the field experience is required, it must either take place within the time set aside for the class period or there must be an alternative assignment for those who cannot attend the field experience.*
    • Here is a model syllabus entry from a syllabus by Dr. Michael Bender who conducts required field experiences inside the time frame provided for his laboratory: 
      • "Labs may be conducted outside and/or off campus. You should dress appropriately and safely for the weather and field conditions. You are required to sign a release waiver, if you are unable or unwilling to sign the waiver you must drop the course immediately." 
  • If the field experience requires travel off campus, each student who participates must sign a release waiver
  • If the field experience takes place on private property, the instructor must obtain written permission from the landowner that authorizes the students to come onto the property and each student must sign a form assuming risk for any accidents that occur on the property.
  • Before travel begins, call all students together for a brief safety briefing.
  • Though not required, it is recommended that college vehicles be used to transport student groups from campus to the site. 
    • Each van used must have a trained employee of the college driving the van.

*Note: For some courses the "out of class service learning/field experience" is so central to the learning goals that all students must participate even when scheduled outside of normal class hours. If that is the case, the required service learning/field experiences should be mentioned in the catalog description.