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Business and Policy Areas
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Role of IT in Emergency Management Examined

October 23, 2008

The state of emergency management at colleges and universities came into sharp focus at a recent summit held by EDUCAUSE. "A comprehensive new agenda for emergency management must leverage both the possibilities of new technologies and the critical components of institutional collaboration, planning, and research," agreed participants. A 17-page white paper summarizes the discussion and shares an action agenda that colleges and universities--or the higher education community--might take to move forward.

Key findings addressed the need for campuses to engage in ongoing, cross-departmental, strategic conversations to develop emergency management plans. The traits of a well-planned and executed disaster response plan were identified, as were some of the challenges facing institutions as they seek to be better prepared.

Information technology tools that offer significant opportunities for innovation in emergency management include:

  • Emergency communication systems
  • Geospatial mapping tools
  • GPS technology
  • Business continuity planning tools
  • Learning management systems and virtual worlds
  • Social networking tools
  • Virtual emergency operations centers
  • Intelligent monitoring
  • Data mining and database tracking
  • Information sharing

The report concludes with a listing of proactive steps that might be taken to move emergency management forward for higher education institutions individually and collectively. Cooperation and collaboration--both within and among institutions--are repeated themes. Recommendations range from establishment of a multi-campus information-sharing mechanism to using Web 2.0 tools to educate campus communities.

Four members of the steering committee for the multi-association National Campus Safety and Security Project participated in the summit, including project director James A. Hyatt representing NACUBO.

NACUBO ContactAnne Gross, vice president, regulatory affairs, 202.861.2544