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    October 2019

    Resiliency in the Face of a Crisis

    Efforts to safeguard your community college from crises can help prevent — or at least minimize — certain incidents from occurring. But regardless of the work you put into emergency preparedness, there’s always a chance that crises will occur. The ability to bounce back is critical when it comes to reducing the impact of an incident and perhaps even improving your college’s reputation.

    During a recent podcast with the Association of Community College Trustees, Justin Kollinger, a risk management consultant with United Educators, discussed strategies colleges can take to improve their resilience.


    Evaluate Your Leadership Team

    To ensure resilience in the face of a crisis, ensure that senior administration leaders are flexible, able to handle ambiguity, and understand how to communicate in a crisis. These key baseline elements will ease the process of building communication and crisis management plans.


    Communication Is Vital

    Board members must understand their role in crises and that too many oversight voices may complicate already complicated problems. Set up clear lines of communication among school leadership, the board, and among public safety directors or police directors.


    Build Your Reputational Capital

    Take steps in advance to build up reputational capital to ensure that the community supports your ability to bounce back from a crisis. Several universities have survived — and even thrived — despite scandals because they had strong reputations within their communities. A college with a poor reputation will have a more challenging recovery.

    Reputational capital is held separately by each stakeholder group, such as students, community members, parents, alumni, and staff. For instance, to earn reputational capital, colleges could hold community meetings when a new program or building is being planned. To earn capital with alumni, provide details about school information and events; also offer career development services. To earn capital with students, ensure school leaders are present figures on campus.

    Since each college is different, capital might be gained in different ways at different schools.


    Understand It Takes a Village

    Colleges with truly effective risk management plans don’t just rely on one employee’s insights; it’s crucial to understand that risk management is a “culture,” Kollinger said.

    Effective risk management requires college leadership to consider uncertainty and ambiguity in order to protect students and the school.

    “That means bringing together people from across campus and it means getting them on the same page and not overcomplicating it,” Kollinger said. 


    Resources

    Podcast: What Trustees & Presidents Need to Know About Risk Management Part 1

    Podcast: What Trustees & Presidents Need to Know About Risk Management Part 2

    Safeguarding Our Communities from Sexual Predators: What College Presidents and Trustees Should Ask

    Crisis Response Planning: A Guide for Conducting Tabletop Exercises

    Reputational Risk Toolkit

    2019 Large Loss Report


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