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It’s that time of year again. The days are shorter, people are sporting new wardrobes and hair styles, and busy catching up with friends they haven’t seen in months. Yup, everyone is back to school. Or, as mom and dad refer to it, “tuition time.”
Whether it’s the first or eighth year at an institute of higher learning, tuition is not the only thing concerning loved ones. They are thinking about such things as, is my son/daughter eating healthy, getting enough sleep, spending ample time in the library, and most importantly, is the university doing what it can to keep my child safe?
Thinking back to my days in college and Psychology classes, I couldn’t help but recollect Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. His theory states that everyone is motivated by things that fit into one of five categories (see image) and people attempt to fill them from bottom to top (see graphic).
Most students have the first level covered – they know the mystery meat in the cafeteria is suspect, but let’s face it, it does the job. They have their spot in the dorm, even though the roommate snores and hasn’t showered all week.
The second layer of need is safety. Unfortunately campus safety has become top of mind in recent years due to a number of high profile, violent, and extremely upsetting events on university campuses, including Northern Illinois (2008) and Virginia Tech (2007 and 2011).
Hopefully no one will have to experience situations like these again, but the reality is that most campus’ deal with robbery, burglary, and assault on a regular basis. For instance, there were 235,599 crimes reported on college campuses from 2005-2008 and 75 percent of four-year colleges & universities have campus law enforcement departments.
The U.S. Department of Education also requires all institutions that accept federal funding to submit an annual incident report that must be made available to the public. That means that each campus is already tracking and reporting on crime data on and around campus. Reporting for reporting sake is one thing, but what are these universities actually doing with this data?
This is the point where you should be thinking, “I sure hope that school administrators did their homework this summer!” For instance, is the university:
· Allocating personnel to areas where campus crime is most likely to occur?
· Determining factors or indicators of crime?
· Utilizing predictive models and rules to drive action?
· Developing scorecards and dashboards to monitor and respond to key metrics?
While students are getting their degrees and enjoying their first taste of independence, the university’s primary concerns should be protecting health and well-being and helping support student performance.
Back to Maslow… most students often take the first two levels for granted and skip right up to belonging and esteem. Basically, they are more concerned with trying to catch the eye of that special someone in the quad or rushing Alpha Beta Greek Letter.
Personal safety then becomes the responsibility of the university. Therefore, how can universities be more proactive, predictive, and preventative and do more to protect students on and near campus?
For more information:
· Watch a video to learn more about IBM Decision Management for Campus Security
· Read more about IBM’s education solutions to improve teaching effectiveness and student outcomes, accelerate research discovery and maximize operational efficiency