Student Handbook: A Crucial Higher Education Risk Management Tool

Event ID:17845

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Download (DL)     $349.00 includes recorded presentation, slides, and Q&A
Duration: 90 minutes including question and answer session.
Presenter(s): James Ottavio Castagnera, Ph.D. and attorney at law
Price: $349.00, DL includes full audio presentation, question and answer session, and presentation slides.
Who Should Attend? Administrators, faculty, staff, higher education counsel
Best For: Higher education

The 21st Century has heralded dramatic changes in higher education. Among them is the transformation of students and their parents into savvy consumers. They are buying a product - a diploma, a certification, a license to practice a profession - and they have many more options in the marketplace than ever before. The product you offer is expensive and your consumers demand that you deliver. Otherwise, at best they’ll go to another institution. At worst, they’ll sue you. Somewhere in the middle, your disciplinary actions may just be subject to challenge, but, even in this situation, without a well written and defensible student handbook in place your institution may find it difficult to defend its student disciplinary decisions.

This new business environment colleges and universities find themselves in demands that the institution’s handbook be a carefully crafted document, designed to deal with the multitude of unpredictable, but inevitable, issues that arise within a community comprised of bright but mostly young clientele.

The student handbook is a crucial piece of the contractual relationship between the institution and its students. As such, it can be a trap that ensnares the institution in a costly legal net. Or it can be a shield, protecting the school and its trustees, officers and employees from lawsuits, as well as publicity debacles. It all depends upon how thoughtfully and effectively the document is crafted - how well the institution’s faculty and staff are trained to use it - and how thoroughly it is integrated into the campus culture. Please join Dr. James Ottavio Castagnera for a review of both the risks and protections which student handbooks are intended to provide and a review of the policies which your student handbook should include.


Just a sampling of the many practical tips you’ll take away:

  • Review student disciplinary rules and regulations
  • Understand the role of residence life in enforcing the rules
  • Know the role of security/public safety in enforcing policies
  • Discuss the student judicial process: from initial investigation of the charges to appeal of the discipline imposed
  • Discuss special, highly sensitive topics: harassment, bullying and sexual assault
  • Understand how academic standards and standing come into play
  • Discuss academic integrity and honor systems
  • Consider students’ roles in university governance
  • Find out how student organizations and activities come into play
  • Understand how financial obligations and financial aid issues may be affected


Your conference leader for “Student Handbook: A Crucial Higher Education Risk Management Tool” is Dr. James Castagnera, Esq. Dr. Castagnera holds a JD and a PhD from Case Western Reserve University. He was a labor/employment and IP lawyer with a major Philadelphia law firm for a decade before becoming legal counsel at a New Jersey university. For the past 22 years in that capacity, his duties have included drafting, reviewing and enforcing labor and employment contracts; internship, affiliation and student-exchange agreements; government grants and contracts, and international memorandums of understanding. He also is an adjunct professor of law in the Drexel University School of Law, and the principal consultant/co-owner of Holland Media Services, LLC. He has published 21 books, most recently Riding the Fifth Wave in Higher Education: A Survival Guide for the New Normal (NY: Peter Lang 2017). QUALITY COMMITMENT

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