Deliverable OneResearch TopicThe research topic I am selecting is effectiveemergency preparation for response to active shooter events in higher educationinstitutions.
I belong to a member institution of the Council for ChristianColleges and Universities (CCCU). In my review of literature, I have not foundresearch which is specific to this higher education association and the uniqueculture and belief system of its membership. I will specifically focus on CCCU memberinstitutions in North America in the states of California, Oregon, Washington,Idaho, Montana, Utah, Alaska, and Hawaii.Statement of the ProblemAccording to the Department of Education’s NationalCenter for Education Statistics (NCES, 2017) there are more than 7200 postsecondaryTitle IV institutions of higher learning operating in the United States.
Theseinstitutions are home to over 20.2million young men and women whomake up America’s future leaders (NCES, 2017). These young men and women makeup best and brightest and are arguably the United States’ most valuablecommodity and need to be kept safe.Maslow (1954) presented people are motivated toachieve certain needs, and that some needs take precedence over others. The mostbasic need is physical survival, and this will be the first thing that motivatesa person. Once that level is fulfilled the next level up is what motivates us. Maslow’stheory plays heavily into the higher education environment because safety andsecurity needs as paramount after physiological needs are met.
If a student is occupiedwith thoughts relating to being unsafe, they will not be able to learn (Snyder,2014). In institutions of higher learning there arecampus safety departments. The mission of many university campus safetydepartments is to provide for a safe and secure environment allowing theinstitutional goal of educating minds to flourish. To keep the learningenvironment safe, many institutions prohibit students, staff, and faculty frompossessing weapons on campus (Gunter, 2016).
The thinking behind this policy isthat a weapon free campus gives the perception of safety (Gunter, 2016). However, with the active shooter incident atVirginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 2007, it became clearthat campuses are vulnerable targets of opportunity for the active shooter(Kelly, 2015). Vulnerabilities of campus life include access to weapons, diminishedresources for intervention and prevention, lack of perceived and actualtraining by staff and campus safety, and campuses considered safe and insulatedfrom violent crimes (Kelly, 2015). All these factors lead to campuses beingvulnerable 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 ofcampus safety departments and 1 in 4 reported that they were not equipped andlacked training to be able to effectively respond to and active shooters oncampus. According to federal agency data, only 52% of institutions of higherlearning had drills for emergency response plans (Federal Emergency ManagementAgency, 2013). Wang & Hutchins (2010) found that most of those plans weremultipurpose and lacked significant depth for security incidents.
Regardless ofthe fact awareness increased since Virginia Tech, the lack of overall crisismanagement plans is a major problem that impacts institutional operations,technology, and infrastructure (Wang & Hutchins, 2010). This disconnect between what happens during anactive shooter even and the steps necessary to effectively prepare forresponding to that emergency is evident (Gunter, 2016). Administrators, staffand faculty are sometimes unable to comprehend that such events could takeplace on their respective campuses. This contributes to a lack support foradequate preparation by campus safety departments by the community they dependon to support them (Gunter, 2016).
Because of conditions on campuses includingattitudes and beliefs, it is a continual challenge to effectively prepare torespond to active shooter events. Preparation requires adequate budget,personnel, equipment and training (Gunter, 2016). For those things to bepresent there must be support from all levels of the institutional community. Agoal with this study will be to examine what things make for effectivepreparation for active shooter incidents specifically as it relates to campussafety departments and their ability to respond to active shooter emergenciesin the CCCU. For the purposes of this investigation, the following researchquestions will be examined:Research Questions1) What makes for effectivepreparation for responding to active shooter emergencies at member institutionsof Council for Christian Colleges and Universities?2) What can institutions doto prepare to effectively prepare for an active shooter situation?Literature Search Terms / Study Concepts, Variables, andAttributes Active shooter; Emergency preparation; Emergencyresponse; Higher education.