|Abstract or Summary
- The field of threat assessment and management in higher education is in the early stages of development. In particular, little is noted in the research literature about the practices of threat assessment teams in this environment. To fill this knowledge gap, a random national sample of 15% (n = 148) of public community colleges were surveyed as to: (1) threat assessment practices, (2) continuing education needs, and (3) training delivery preferences. Community colleges were randomly selected and the lead threat assessment practitioner for that institution was queried using the gold-standard for survey research: the Tailored Design Method (Dillman, Smyth, & Christian, 2009). A total of 113 participants returned a completed survey. This number represented a return rate of 76%. A post hoc power analysis reported an actual power (i.e., 1-β error probability) of 0.84. Survey respondents were 83 men and 28 women ranging in age from 29 to 70 years (M = 53, SD = 9). Most were non-Hispanic Whites (75%), with 10 Hispanics, 12 African Americans, 2 Native Americans, and 1 Pacific Islander. Almost half of the participants held a master's degree (48%). The professional breakdown of respondents was law enforcement/security (n = 52), college administration (n = 55), and other (n = 6). The professions that comprised the "other" category included: (a) counselor, (b) human resource professional, and (c) attorney. Because of the small number and heterogeneity of persons in the "other" category (n = 6), this category was not used for the inferential statistical analyses. A total of 67% reported fewer than 40 hours of threat assessment training. The average number of new threat assessment cases received each month was 4.13 (SD = 8.61). The vast majority of the community colleges operated with a formalized threat assessment team (73%). The leading types of team composition were: (1) employees only (57%), and (2) mix of employees and outside personnel (32%). Most college threat assessment teams addressed more than just students as threat sources (69%). In rank order, the top 5 continuing education needs reported were: (1) legal implications, (2) confidentiality implications, (3) ethical considerations when conducting threat assessment, (4) basic overview of threat assessment and management, and (5) advanced training of threat assessment and management. Inferential statistical analyses revealed that, in reference to their professional background, threat assessment practitioners similarly rank their: (a) continuing education needs, and (b) training delivery preferences (i.e., in-person v. online). Implications for both research and practice were discussed.