Staying connected during crisis: a look into how universities communicate and notify their campus of emergencies
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Type of Workapplication/pdf
v, 56 pages
DepartmentTowson University. Department of Mass Communication and Communication Studies
RightsCopyright protected, all rights reserved.
There are no restrictions on access to this document. An internet release form signed by the author to display this document online is on file with Towson University Special Collections and Archives.
In recent years, higher education institutions have been overwhelmed by a wide variety of public safety and emergency threats - namely natural disasters and mass violence crises that have warranted mass notification. Emergency text messaging notification systems are emerging as a new form of communication that needs to be integrated into existing crisis communication plans at college and university campuses. This study discusses how text messaging notification systems aids in providing emergency alerts and information to internal stakeholders in order to reduce chaos, mitigate harm, and control crisis situations. A series of in-depth interviews were conducted with 12 faculty and staff members at a comprehensive master-level university on the east coast to obtain information and grasp how emergency text alerts are integrated in the university's overall emergency communications strategy. Using grounded theory, the data obtained offered best practices for integrating emergency text messaging in the overall crisis communication plan. Results indicated the importance of higher educational institutions employing a flexible crisis communication plan that has the capability of responding to unanticipated variables as a crisis or emergency develops. Additionally, it was concluded that using a variety of communication methods to create redundancy with stakeholders is critical to increase the likelihood of successful emergency communication and response.