Definition of terms

Community Interaction is described in the broadest sense as interaction between the University and the community. This includes the concept service-learning and other academic and/or non-academic service-related activities.

Community is described as the specific grouping in society with whom the interaction occurs at a given moment.

SU defines service learning (SL) or “community service learning” as “an educational approach involving curriculum-based, credit-bearing learning experiences in which students (a) participate in contextualised, well-structured and organised service activities aimed at addressing identified service needs in a community, and (b) reflect on the service experiences in order to gain a deeper understanding of the linkage between curriculum content and community dynamics, as well as achieve personal growth and a sense of social responsibility. It requires a collaborative partnership context that enhances mutual, reciprocal teaching and learning among all members of the partnership (lecturers and students, members of the communities and representatives of the service sector)”. The above definition serves as the basis for discussions regarding risk management matters in this document.

In order to further refine the SL risk-management focus, the following basic terms need to be defined (cf. Service-Learning in the Curriculum, pp. 112-113): Risk management is formally defined as the process whereby an organisation (HEI) establishes its risk management goals and objectives, identifies and analyses its risks, and selects and implements measures to address its risks in an organised fashion. The goal of risk management is to improve performance by acknowledging and controlling risk, which improves the HEI's ability to avoid unpleasant surprises that can occur during the implementation of a service-learning module or project. This helps the organisation (HEI) to take control of the risks that cannot be avoided.

Risks can be categorised into different types and levels (people, property, income and goodwill). The simplest definition, however, is “the possibility of loss, injury, disadvantage or destruction”.

Liability in general includes almost every type of duty, obligation, debt, responsibility or hazard. More specifically legal liability indicates under which circumstances a person is obliged to bear the damage he or she has caused another. To found liability as a matter of course certain requirements must be met, namely the act of a person, wrongfulness, fault, harm and causation.

Liability prevention involves the systematic identification, analysis, measurement and reduction of risks. It encompasses both service learning products (e.g. poster, pamphlet, diet plan) and experiences and also includes the service or community agency. Liability could pertain, for example, to incidents such as slipping on a wet stairway or being involved in a motor vehicle accident, and in worker's compensation cases, among others.

Agreement and contracting refer to an arrangement made between two or more parties whereby they signify their assent, whether in writing or otherwise, to a course of action, or to a distinct intention, that affect the parties.

Insurance involves a contractual agreement that calls for one party, in exchange for a consideration, to reimburse another party for certain specified losses2

Risk Management Guideline for Service-Learning, (Draft 8), April 2008 University of Freestate2