If a faculty member is planning to lead a field trip as part of a course, the faculty member should fill out the field trip request form (available in the Academic Affairs office) and submit it to their division head for approval prior to taking the trip. The form asks for a copy of the itinerary, emergency contact information (phone numbers), and a breakdown of the costs of the trip, including any student expenses. Immediately before the trip, the faculty member should provide a final list of the students who will be participating in the field trip.
This form should be submitted to the division head for review and approval, as soon as is possible, but no later than two weeks prior to the trip. A copy of the form should be forwarded to the Finance Office. The divisional office will keep copies on file for at least three years.
The following guidelines apply to College-sponsored field trips:
- The purpose of the trip must be relevant to the College’s academic mission and any College employee in charge of or helping to supervise the field trip must be acting within the scope of their employment.
- A College employee is required to accompany a group if the field trip is sponsored by the College. Staff who are asked to attend or supervise the field trip must have the approval of their supervisor.
- The faculty member should submit a list of students traveling on the field trip and an itinerary to the divisional office. A contact person, who remains on campus, should be identified in the event of an emergency.
- Emergency communications should be available at all times. A working cell phone would be sufficient for this purpose. If the field trip is in a remote location, emergency transportation should be available at all times during the field trip.
- Personal vehicles should not be used to transport students to the field trip location. The College should provide transportation if the event is sponsored by the College. A list of approved charter bus companies is available from Risk Management.
- For lengthy field trips in distant locations within the United States or its territories, the Risk Management international travel checklist form should be completed and followed. Unlike international travel, this form does not require Dean or CEO approval. It also does not need to be forwarded to the Risk Management Office. However, it provides a good format to follow for lengthy out-of-state visits.
- The following individuals are permitted to attend University-sponsored trips: Any Penn State faculty or staff member; Any Penn State students regardless of campus location; Spouses of Penn State students, faculty or staff. Depending on the trip circumstances it may be possible for the dependent children of the students, faculty or staff to attend as long as the parent is traveling with the child. If the child's parent is a faculty or staff member then the question should be posed if the parent or child were to become sick and needed to leave the trip, would the trip be able to continue with the appropriate University oversight and achieve the trip's original intention. For faculty or staff leaders who wish to bring their children on a field trip, this issue can be addressed by having a second faculty or staff sponsor on the field, who can take the lead should the first faculty or staff member need to deal with an illness or injury.
- The following individuals are discouraged from being able to attend University sponsored trips, unless the Campus/College is willing to take the financial risk: Relatives other than the spouse or child of Penn State students, faculty or staff (including parents of students); Students from other non-Penn State campuses; Any children under 18 unless their parent or legal guardian is on the bus trip as well; Community members.
- Note: Non-student participants (faculty, staff, spouses, children, or students from other Penn State campuses) on field trips are responsible for paying their own expenses for the trip.