• A Quantitative Study Examining Perceptions of Preparedness Among Entry-Level Student Affairs Professionals for an Active Shooter Event on Campus

      Ingoldsby, Carrie; Tift College of Education
      This quantitative, exploratory study examined perceptions of preparedness among entry-level student affairs professionals for an active shooter event (ASE) on campus. Institutions of higher education (IHE) have experienced an uptick of deadly and destructive ASEs in the last two decades. Colleges and universities vary on whether they provide consistent active shooter training to faculty, staff and/or students at all, as well as what level of training and type of training is provided, despite personal safety concerns. A total of 173 entry-level student affairs professionals completed the Entry-Level Student Affairs Professional Active Shooter Preparedness Survey (ELASPS). Spearman’s rank order correlation, t-tests, and ANOVA were utilized to examine perceptions of preparedness and level of efficacy to respond to an ASE in relation to individual and institutional demographics, as well as frequency, type, and content of active shooter training provided to entry-level student affairs professionals. Participants also provided open-ended data on perceptions of preparedness for an ASE, which was examined in relation to quantitative findings. Results indicated that entry-level student affairs professionals who received any amount or type of active shooter training had significantly higher perceived preparedness for an ASE and significantly higher levels of efficacy to respond to an ASE than did entry-level professionals who had no active shooter training. Thus, IHE should provide active, regular, and in-depth training such as drills, exercises, and simulations to allow ELSAP to feel more prepared and experience higher levels of efficacy to respond to an ASE. This study supports current research on active shooter preparedness and presents a strong case to administrators at IHE for the development and implementation of consistent and interactive active shooter training for entry-level student affairs professionals. Future research should focus on a specific area among entry-level student affairs professionals, such as residence life professionals, who are more often involved in direct student training of safety policies and procedures. Additionally, future studies might consider historically and underrepresented populations to better understand connections of ethnicity and perceived preparedness for an ASE.