Managing the Unthinkable: Crisis Preparation and Response for Campus Leaders
Crises are no strangers on campuses"whether the deaths of students, severe weather events, athletic wrongdoing, crime, or student or employee malfeasance. How leaders respond can save lives, strengthen the institution, and comfort the community"or compromise reputations and result in scandal. Risk management and readiness are not often at the top of the list of what presidents and their boards must do, but in a time of ongoing change, instantaneous communication, and media scrutiny, they risk their jobs and their institutional reputation if they do not heed the messages conveyed in this book. Gretchen Bataille and Diana Cordova, with extensive and varied experiences that include a university presidency, directing senior leadership programs, and counseling presidents and senior administrators faced with critical campus events " together with 22 presidents, seasoned leaders in higher education, and media experts " provide forthright, firsthand advice on preparing for and managing a crisis, as well on handling the emotional, and often long-term, toll that can result from dramatic events on campus. Through the examples of those who have successfully managed crises, this book provides expert insights and guidance on preparedness, assigning roles and responsibilities, and planning for contingencies ahead of time so that, in the moment, when there is pressure for immediate response that will be scrutinized by the media, by the public, and by the local constituencies, leaders can act with confidence. The contributors emphasize the crucial importance of ethical behavior, the need for clear protocols for how all employees should handle problematic issues, and the need for mechanisms that allow employees and students to report problems without fear of retribution. Creating an atmosphere of transparency, accountability, and ethical behavior isn’t something a leader does when a scandal strikes to protect a reputation; it’s what leaders must do to reinforce their good name every day. For senior leaders and board members not in the throes of managing a crisis, this book outlines what needs to be done to be prepared and offers extensive resources for further reading.
Cordova, Diana. 2014. Managing the Unthinkable: Crisis Preparation and Response for Campus Leaders. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing, First.