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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter November 8, 2016

Rethinking Crisis Communications on Campus: An Evaluation of Faculty and Staff Perceptions about Emergency Notification Systems

H. Jaymi Elsass, Joseph M. McKenna and Jaclyn Schildkraut


The use of emergency notification systems on college and university campuses nationwide have been a focus since the 2007 shooting at Virginia Tech. In the aftermath, many of these institutions sought to install new emergency notification systems, or overhaul existing systems, to alert students in the event a similar incident took place on their campus. Researchers also began to focus on these systems by exploring their implementation and effectiveness; despite such advances in the literature, however, a noticeable gap persists. Specifically, much of the research focuses on the technology rather than the users themselves. Conducted at a large southwestern university, the present study sought to narrow this void by examining the perceptions and employment of the system by a key group of users – faculty and staff members – who often are considered the first line of defense in emergencies on campus. The findings not only highlight the continued need for multimodal notification systems, but also better education and training with relation to their use to increase user engagement and improve overall operations. Limitations of the study, directions for future research, and related policy implications for universities also are discussed.


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Published Online: 2016-11-8
Published in Print: 2016-9-1

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