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Threat Assessment in Community Colleges

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Threat assessment and management in higher education is still in the early stages of development. Little is noted in the research literature about the practices of threat assessment teams in this environment, particularly in community colleges. To fill this knowledge gap, a random national sample of 15% (n   148) of public community colleges were surveyed as to: (a) threat assessment practices, (b) continuing education needs, and (c) training delivery preferences. Lead threat assessment practitioners were surveyed from those institutions. A total of 113 participants returned a completed survey. This number represented a return rate of 76%. A post hoc power analysis reported an actual power (i.e., 1-  error probability) of 0.84. The professional breakdown of respondents was law enforcement/security (n   52), college administration (n   55) and other (n   6). The vast majority (73%) of the community colleges operated with a formalized threat assessment team, yet 67% of respondents reported fewer than 40 hours of threat assessment training. The leading types of team composition were: (a) employees only (57%), and (b) mix of employees and outside personnel (32%). Most college threat assessment teams addressed more than just students as threat sources (69%). The top continuing education needs reported ranged from legal implications to advanced training of threat assessment and management. Inferential statistical analyses revealed that, in reference to their professional background, threat assessment practitioners similarly rank their: (a) continuing education needs, and (b) training delivery preferences (i.e., in person vs. online). Implications for both research and practice were discussed.

Authors: Rebecca Bolante, Cass Dykeman


Status: Published

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