As fears of active shooters and terrorism incidents on campus grow, these goals of a safe and prepared campus gain increased prominence. However, this increased focus doesn't come without its challenges. And some of these challenges are intrinsically tied to the nature of higher education. For example, according to Bill one of the great challenges faced in higher education is the constant change in population. "Every four years, a majority of the student population is new. This presents a variety of problems, new individuals to train in response protocols (thousands of people), updating information in the emergency alerting systems, and new expectations from the students (including new social media channels and other technology)," he says.
For Tamara, one of these challenges was getting faculty, who value class time and research above all else, to invest time in emergency preparedness."Staff at higher education institutions generally feel a responsibility to be prepared," she says. "But attempting to inject emergency preparedness messaging and activities requires coordinating around the academic schedule and fighting an uphill battle against a faculty culture that believes their role at the College was to teach, as opposed to emergency preparedness being everyone's responsibility."
As evident in the news and current events, major research universities are also frequent targets activists and hackers.
"There is a wealth of knowledge to steal, along with a variety of issues and projects to protest. This creates a dynamic situation that requires a watchful eye in identifying the threat, and creativity in how to respond," says Bill.
Despite these challenges, there are also plenty of opportunities for creativity and collaboration in emergency management on college campuses. This collaboration manifests in multiple ways.