Guidance for Instructors

Guidance for Instructors Concerning the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Selection, Approval and Implementation of Experiential Learning Experiences

1. The Ad Hoc Academic Continuity Committee (ACC) has considered the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the ability of the university to continue to offer experiential learning experiences for our students. As an important component of the curriculum at Kent State University, experiential learning experiences for our students should continue in these challenging times in environments that respect the health and safety of our instructors, students and community partners.

2. Given the foregoing, this document provides the following guidelines for offering experiential learning experiences for our students in academic year 2020/2021 and possibly beyond:

a. Flexibility is essential in our approach to the selection, approval and implementation of experiential learning experiences for our students. Experiential learning experiences include but are not limited to student participation in clinicals, service learning, student teaching, capstone projects, internships, practicums and volunteerism. All experiential learning experiences must be approved through applicable university policies and procedures.

b. Instructors and administrators who are involved in selecting, approving and implementing experiential learning experiences for our students should share information about the university’s policies and procedures concerning COVID-19 with our community partners. Instructors should select, approve or implement experiential learning experiences only at locations that have adopted health and safety policies and procedures to manage the impact of COVID-19 that are, at a minimum, consistent with the university’s policies and procedures in this regard.       

c. Healthcare-related experiential learning experiences often create unique challenges for our students and community partners. These challenges are especially evident during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Instructors and administrators must review the document: Protocols for On-Campus Skills Labs and Clinical Experiences (e.g. College of Podiatric Medicine, College of Nursing, College of Applied and Technical Studies) when selecting, approving and implementing experiential learning experiences of this type. 

d. Instructors should develop a plan to transition experiential learning experiences to an alternative, approved experience for the student(s) in the event the event the university and/or our community partners can no longer offer the experiences in person or a student chooses not to continue to engage in the experience.

3. Given the unique challenges created by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the ACC recommends that academic administrators and instructors communicate regularly and openly with our students about the challenges of continuing experiential learning experiences in these difficult times. All students who are engaged in experiential learning experiences should receive a copy of the document: Guidance for Students Participating in Experiential Learning. Moreover, administrators and instructors should communicate regularly with students about options and consequences as they select, approve and implement meaningful experiential learning experiences that will fulfill students’ curricular needs as they make progress toward a degree in their selected programs.