Risk Management for Recreation Professionals: Course Outline

The Risk Management for Recreation Professionals online course introduces participants to key legal concepts such as negligence, liability, and standard of care. After learning key concepts, participants use this new knowledge to construct and conduct a risk management audit and write a risk management plan specific to their job responsibilities. 

Week 1: What is Negligence?

To create a sound risk management plan, it is crucial to start by understanding what constitutes negligence in the context of sports and recreation. In Week 1, we will explore: 

  • Why negligence has become a critical issue for recreation professionals
  • The key elements of negligence 
  • The legal process used to establish negligence in the courts

Week 1 Learning Objectives

  • Explain the key concepts in the area of negligence and liability
  • Describe how the courts establish negligence
  • Understand the importance of establishing minimum standards

Week 2: Standard of Care

Week 2 explores the various elements of the standard of care, focusing on the five key risk areas:

  • Supervision and Instruction
  • Training
  • Facilities and Equipment
  • Documentation
  • Emergency Response Plan

Participants will also evaluate a negligence liability case from the perspectives of the plaintiff, defendant, and jury.

Week 2 Learning Objectives

  • Explain what the standard of care means in the sports and recreation setting
  • Understand the importance of establishing minimum standards
  • Understand how the courts determine if you are operating above or below the standard.

Week 3: Risk Management Planning Process

In Week 3, participants apply their knowledge of Key Risk Areas to develop an Audit – the first stage in creating the risk management plan.

Week 3 Learning Objectives

  • Explain the importance of Risk Management planning
  • Understand the Risk Management planning process
  • Understand how to construct a customized audit
  • Conduct a simple audit

Week 4: Developing a Risk Management Plan

During Week 4, participants develop a Risk Management plan relevant to their individual work situation. 

Week 4 Learning Objectives

  • Develop a risk management plan for your work situation
  • Understand the importance of a strategic approach to risk management
  • Recommend to the department an overall structure for managing risk.

The Risk Management Best Practice program provides institutionally-specific feedback allowing our University Recreation department to prioritize areas for improvement to enhance the safety and well-being of our participants.  The thorough analysis by areas of operations provides our staff tangible information to determine our next steps and most effective course of action.  This feedback would take much longer and be less objective if we attempted to undertake the reviews on our own. The comparative data is good for learning trends in best practices of other institutions.

George M. Brown

Assistant Vice Provost,
Director of University Recreation and Wellness
The University of Minnesota

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