Tim GunterFollow




School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


Ellen L Black


Active Shooter, Exercise, Plans, Preparedness, Security, Targeted, Violence Incident (TVI)


Criminal Law | Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Educational Psychology | Human Resources Management | Organizational Behavior and Theory | Other Education | Risk Analysis | Training and Development


An increase in targeted violence incidents (TVIs), primarily active shooter events, at institutions of higher education (IHEs) has exposed gaps in campus security plan preparation and exercises. The purpose of this qualitative collective case study was to discover barriers to and best practices of universities and colleges conducting security preparedness activities for TVIs. The theory that guided this study was vested interest theory which predicts how attitudes will influence behavior in a commitment to preparedness fundamentals. The setting for this study was two institutions of higher education along the East Coast of the United States. Data collection techniques included site documentation review, observation, and interviews of campus administrators, faculty, emergency managers, and senior campus police officials. The three data types were triangulated and summarized for each of the five research questions (a-e). I identified four themes from the interview data: hindrances, recommendations, best practices, and vested interests. The major barriers to security preparedness were lack of resource funding for dedicated preparedness staff and activities; apathy regarding campus security preparedness by administrators, staff faculty and students; multiple federal security preparedness guides; and the lack of requirements for robust security planning and exercises. Major recommendations identified from this study include increased funding for campus security preparedness, IHE senior leadership must model the way for campus security preparedness, IHEs acquire campus security accreditation, and the transfer of IHE campus security preparedness oversight from the Department of Education (DOE) to Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).