Department of Conflict Resolution Studies Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences – Department of Conflict Resolution Studies

First Advisor

Robin Cooper

Second Advisor

Gay Holliday

Third Advisor

Elena Bastidas


campus safety, crisis, emergency management, higher education, student affairs, university


This dissertation examined chief student affairs officers’ perceptions of institutional crisis management, preparedness, and response. A goal of this study was to uncover findings that can benefit crisis management protocols or best practices regarding crisis management team training, plan communications, and emergency management personnel on campus, as well as, learn if size of enrollment impacts crisis preparedness and response. Research questions assessed if a significant relationship exists between preparedness in responding to crisis with the number of training topics covered with a crisis management team, the number of modes used to communicate the crisis management plan, size of enrollment and the impact of a director of emergency management position on campus. Next, the study assessed if significant relationships exist between size of enrollment with adequacy team training and perceived manner of crisis response. The sample comprised of Chief Student Affairs Officers from either institutions that previously participated in a similar study in 2001 and 2007, or are NASPA domestic member institutions that are four-year, public or private with an enrollment of 5,000 students or more. It was discovered that four to five training topics delivered and between three to six modes used to communicate the crisis management plan were optimal frequencies for this population. Institutions with a director of emergency management perceived themselves as more prepared, and institutions with 10,000-20,000 students enrolled perceived themselves as the most prepared and proactive. In contribution to the field of conflict resolution studies, this research study connected crisis management to conflict management through a systems design approach

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