Deliverable review of literature, I have not found research

Deliverable One

Research Topic

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The research topic I am selecting is effective
emergency preparation for response to active shooter events in higher education
institutions. I belong to a member institution of the Council for Christian
Colleges and Universities (CCCU). In my review of literature, I have not found
research which is specific to this higher education association and the unique
culture and belief system of its membership.  I will specifically focus on CCCU member
institutions in North America in the states of California, Oregon, Washington,
Idaho, Montana, Utah, Alaska, and Hawaii.

Statement of the Problem

According to the Department of Education’s National
Center for Education Statistics (NCES, 2017) there are more than 7200 postsecondary
Title IV institutions of higher learning operating in the United States. These
institutions are home to over 20.2
million young men and women who
make up America’s future leaders (NCES, 2017). These young men and women make
up best and brightest and are arguably the United States’ most valuable
commodity and need to be kept safe.

Maslow (1954) presented people are motivated to
achieve certain needs, and that some needs take precedence over others. The most
basic need is physical survival, and this will be the first thing that motivates
a person. Once that level is fulfilled the next level up is what motivates us. Maslow’s
theory plays heavily into the higher education environment because safety and
security needs as paramount after physiological needs are met. If a student is occupied
with thoughts relating to being unsafe, they will not be able to learn (Snyder,

In institutions of higher learning there are
campus safety departments. The mission of many university campus safety
departments is to provide for a safe and secure environment allowing the
institutional goal of educating minds to flourish. To keep the learning
environment safe, many institutions prohibit students, staff, and faculty from
possessing weapons on campus (Gunter, 2016). The thinking behind this policy is
that a weapon free campus gives the perception of safety (Gunter, 2016).

However, with the active shooter incident at
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 2007, it became clear
that campuses are vulnerable targets of opportunity for the active shooter
(Kelly, 2015). Vulnerabilities of campus life include access to weapons, diminished
resources for intervention and prevention, lack of perceived and actual
training by staff and campus safety, and campuses considered safe and insulated
from violent crimes (Kelly, 2015). All these factors lead to campuses being
vulnerable to an active shooter (Kelly, 2015). With so many vulnerabilities,
students depend on campus safety departments to provide for their security.

Hattersley Gray (2013) conducted a poll of
campus safety departments and 1 in 4 reported that they were not equipped and
lacked training to be able to effectively respond to and active shooters on
campus. According to federal agency data, only 52% of institutions of higher
learning had drills for emergency response plans (Federal Emergency Management
Agency, 2013). Wang & Hutchins (2010) found that most of those plans were
multipurpose and lacked significant depth for security incidents. Regardless of
the fact awareness increased since Virginia Tech, the lack of overall crisis
management plans is a major problem that impacts institutional operations,
technology, and infrastructure (Wang & Hutchins, 2010).

This disconnect between what happens during an
active shooter even and the steps necessary to effectively prepare for
responding to that emergency is evident (Gunter, 2016). Administrators, staff
and faculty are sometimes unable to comprehend that such events could take
place on their respective campuses. This contributes to a lack support for
adequate preparation by campus safety departments by the community they depend
on to support them (Gunter, 2016).

Because of conditions on campuses including
attitudes and beliefs, it is a continual challenge to effectively prepare to
respond to active shooter events. Preparation requires adequate budget,
personnel, equipment and training (Gunter, 2016). For those things to be
present there must be support from all levels of the institutional community. A
goal with this study will be to examine what things make for effective
preparation for active shooter incidents specifically as it relates to campus
safety departments and their ability to respond to active shooter emergencies
in the CCCU. For the purposes of this investigation, the following research
questions will be examined:

Research Questions

1)      What makes for effective
preparation for responding to active shooter emergencies at member institutions
of Council for Christian Colleges and Universities?

2)      What can institutions do
to prepare to effectively prepare for an active shooter situation?

Literature Search Terms / Study Concepts, Variables, and

Active shooter; Emergency preparation; Emergency
response; Higher education.