February 28, 2018

NCSSLE logo.

The National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments (NCSSLE) is funded by the Department of Education's (ED's) Office of Safe and Healthy Students. NCSSLE offers information and technical assistance to states, districts, schools, institutions of higher education, and communities focused on improving student supports and academic enrichment. NCSSLE's three main areas of support are:
  • Providing training and support to state administrators, including three (3) grantees funded under the Promoting Student Resilience grant program, twenty-two (22) grantees funded under the Project Prevent grant program, school and district administrators, institutions of higher education, teachers, support staff at schools, communities and families, and students. 
  • Seeking to improve schools' conditions for learning through measurement and program implementation, so that all students have the opportunity to realize academic success in safe and supportive environments.
  • Promoting and managing the ED Climate Surveys (EDSCLS) maintenance and help desk hotline.
Specific to the field of higher education, NCSSLE provides data, lessons learned, events, and products to help inform college and university administrators about existing and emerging issues. NCSSLE both shares resource and develops higher education products that provide evidence-based approaches and best practices to successfully address campus prevention issues and implement strategies that improve student success. These include webinars bringing together experts in the field to provide information on town-gown collaboration, campus safety, and preventing high-risk drinking; case studies that explore how colleges across the U.S. are operationalizing current research and best practices to foster safe, healthy, and welcoming campuses for diverse student populations; and prevention updates that take a look at current and emerging concerns among campus administrators, and offer strategies and best practices to cultivate safe, supportive environments that promote student success.
To aid in the improvement of learning conditions, NCSSLE offers customized technical assistance, or direct assistance, and training to stakeholders including state administrators, personnel in institutions of higher education, district and school administrators, teachers, school support staff, communities and families, and students. NCSSLE primarily assists with the measurement or assessment of conditions for learning and the implementation of evidence -based programmatic interventions. They can also help address disruptive behaviors such as bullying, harassment, violence, and substance use.
In addition to the higher education products and customized technical assistance, the NCSSLE website includes events, NCSSLE products and tools, and information on school climate measurement, physical and emotional health and safety, bullying and cyberbullying, substance abuse, emergency readiness and management, and more. Sign up to receive the bi-weekly NCSSLE Higher Ed e-Digest to stay informed of new tools, field practice, research findings, upcoming training and events, and other resources related to campus and community health and wellness, safety and security, and campus climate.

GAO Emergency Management Report
Download the GAO report.
Emergency Management: Federal Agencies Could Improve Dissemination of Resources to Colleges
Professionals in emergency management recognize the criticality of information sharing and effective communication in the ability to successfully implement emergency management programs. The absence of these facets of emergency management can result in an increased loss in life or property during a critical incident. Campus emergency management programs frequently struggle with the same challenges as municipal programs as well as additional challenges that come from having transient populations, open campuses, and less access to funding streams that are accessible to municipal programs. These challenges require that institutions of higher education (IHEs) have knowledge of and streamlined access to comprehensive information and resources.  While there are local, state, and federal agencies that offer these resources, three federal agencies-----including their sub-agencies, agency-specific initiatives, and funded organizations-----play a key role in emergency preparedness resources for colleges: the Departments of Homeland Security (DHS), Justice (DOJ), and Education (ED).  The Government Accountability Office (GAO) was asked to review higher education officials' awareness of these resources and make recommendations on how to improve (PDF).
Working with 18 colleges and universities, the GAO reviewed how some IHEs prepare for emergencies and how federal agencies currently support preparedness efforts. GAO also reviewed federal emergency preparedness resources, agency written responses, applicable federal laws, and federal internal control standards, and interviewed federal officials and representatives from several associations recommended by agency officials. The overarching recommendation from the GAO review is "... DHS, DOJ, and Education work together to identify opportunities to more effectively publicize emergency preparedness resources to colleges. All three agencies concurred with the recommendations or described actions to implement them."
The three primary recommendations from the recently released report are:
  • The Secretary of Education, in collaboration with other agencies through the planned interagency working group or another mechanism, should identify further opportunities to more effectively publicize resources to reach additional colleges.
    • Agency Affected: Department of Education
  • The Secretary of Homeland Security, in collaboration with other agencies, through the planned interagency working group or another mechanism, should identify further opportunities to more effectively publicize resources to reach additional colleges.
    • Agency Affected: Department of Homeland Security
  • The Attorney General, in collaboration with other agencies through the planned interagency working group or another mechanism, should identify further opportunities to more effectively publicize resources to reach additional colleges.
    • Agency Affected: Department of Justice
Key resources available to assist institutions of higher education mentioned in this report include the National Center for Campus Public Safety (NCCPS), National Incident Management System (NIMS), and Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools (REMS). Additional resources are listed on pages 17-18 of the report.
In 2016, the NCCPS sponsored the National Higher Education Emergency Management Program Needs Assessment (PDF). The findings are based on information collected from a survey of emergency management practitioners at IHEs, targeted interviews, case studies, discussions at a summit of representatives from Oregon IHEs, and input from a project advisory committee. The assessment focuses on the spectrum of hazards and events that cause emergencies and considers how campus emergency management programs plan for, respond to, and recover from these incidents. A research team from the University of Oregon Community Service Center conducted the research, analyzed the results, and provided key findings as part of the study.
The NCCPS is looking forward to working with these agencies to help college and university public safety programs access this information. Please consider sharing this information with other officials on your campus and within your peer network.

Professional Development Opportunities

Title: Engaging & Supporting Families in Suicide Prevention
Organization: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the Suicide Prevention Resource Center
Date: March 5, 2018 at 2:00PM ET
Location: Online
Fee: Free
Title: What Cops Need to Know about Drug Users to Stay Safe - An Overview
Organization: Justice Clearinghouse
Date: March 15, 2018 at 1:00PM ET
Location: Online
Fee: Free
Title: 2018 National DRU Network Summit
Organization: University of Oregon
Dates: April 4-5, 2018
Location: Eugene, OR
Fee: Registration fee

For additional trainings and events, access our searchable online calendar

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This project was supported by Grant No. 2013-MU-BX-K011 awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance. The Bureau of Justice Assistance is a component of the Office of Justice Programs, which also includes the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the Office for Victims of Crime, and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking. Points of view or opinions in this document are those of author and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the US Department of Justice.