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Greetings Campus Community,

I am delighted to guest-author this week’s Friday Forum and I hope you have been enjoying these updates about our Three Rs (recruitment, retention, and resources) as much as I have.

Some of you have been following Oklahoma City University’s emergency planning process, which is now in full swing. In fact, 40 of you attended the three-day intensive Multi-Hazard Emergency Planning for Higher Education training session from May 15 to 17 and learned how to work in an Emergency Operations Center. The session included a crisis simulation that helped participants work through a mock protest, shooting, and tornado threat. The final day included a simulated press conference. Congratulations to all of the participants, which represented university departments and academic units from across campus.

We have a lot to be proud of as we continue our planning and training. Oklahoma City University is only the third university in the country to sponsor a customized Federal Emergency Management Authority (FEMA) training course like we had last month. We plan to offer the course again for additional faculty and staff who would like to participate and we will offer training for our Resident Assistants.

We can also be very proud of university administrators. The FEMA instructors who conducted our training, Jim Reseburg and Bob McKibben, praised the university’s efforts and emphasized the rare level of support and participation we have received from the administration to develop our emergency operations plan.

While an emergency plan is something we hope we never have to implement, we owe it to our students to be prepared for any type of disaster, whether natural or man-made. When we conduct parent sessions during Stars 101 orientation, parents always ask us questions about safety and emergency preparedness. Providing information about our emergency planning process gives parents confidence in us as a university, and parent confidence is very important to our recruitment efforts.

Emergency preparedness is critical for our retention plan. If we face a disaster tomorrow, next year, in 10 years, or sometime down the road, we must manage it well if we expect to protect and retain students.

Planning such as this is an investment we make in ourselves. It protects our resources moving forward and insures that we continue to do everything in our power to give students a safe and productive learning environment.

The tangential benefits are numerous. This process has united faculty and staff from across campus, some who hardly knew each other prior to getting involved. We are making meaningful and lasting connections with each other in the interest of serving our students and the campus community.

If you are interested in attending a future training session or assisting with our emergency plan, please let me know.

Watch every other Friday for this university update from President Henry or campus leadership. Have a great June!

Liz Donnelly
Associate Vice President of Student Affairs
and Dean of Students