2022 DRU National Higher Education Program Survey Results

About the Survey

Why we did the survey

The past two years have been historic for institutions of higher education (IHEs) across the country. The COVID-19 pandemic has tested IHEs in ways we are still trying to understand. We have an opportunity to capture key learnings and continue advancing our shared mission of cultivating disaster resilience on our campuses.

We can build on the 2016 National Emergency Management Needs Assessment. The 2016 survey, done in partnership with the National Center for Campus Public Safety and our professional association partners, is now six years old. Now is a good time to resurvey practitioners and develop a cornerstone for future DRU activities.

The DRU is in a unique position to highlight shared issues around IHE emergency management, risk, and resilience. The DRU can evolve its core competencies to advance interdisciplinary partnership and disaster resilience in IHEs. Information from surveys such as this one can inform when and how DRU moves to the next level.

Survey Overview

Survey metadata

388 Total Respondents

48 Total Questions

76 Days (May 9-July 23, 2022)

Our Sponsors

University of Oregon Safety and Risk Services

iAEM USA Council Universities & Colleges Caucus

University Risk Management and Insurance Association

DRU survey sponsor logos for UO SRS, iAEM, URMIA

About the Survey Respondents

Total Student Enrollment

Student enrollment Percentage of respondents
50,000 or more 8%
25,000-49,999 15%
15,000-24,999 14%
5,000-14,999 29%
2,000-4,999 19%
<2,000 15%
    Pie chart showing student enrollment at survey respondents' IHEs.

    Highest Degree Offered

    Degree Type Percentage of respondents
    Doctoral Degree 62%
    Master's Degree 16%
    Bachelor's Degree 7%
    Associate Degree 13%
    Other (e.g. professional certificate, GED, etc.) 2%
    Pie chart of highest degrees at survey responents' institutions

    Total Faculty and Staff

    Number of Faculty and Staff Percentage of Respondents
    7,500-9,999 or more 16%
    5,000-7,499 5%
    3,000-4,999 13%
    2,000-2,999 14%
    1,000-1,999 11%
    400-999 24%
    100-399 16%
    <100 1%
    Pie chart of total faculty and staff at survey respondents IHEs.


    Geographic Distribution

    • Oregon - 19
    • California - 17
    • Texas - 14
    • Illinois - 13
    • Kansas - 9
    • Florida - 8
    • New York - 8
    • North Carolina - 8
    • Washington - 8
    • Ohio - 6
    • Tennessee - 5
    • Wisconsin - 5
    • Indiana - 4
    • Iowa - 4
    • Massachusetts - 4
    • Nebraska - 4
    • Arizona - 3
    • Georgia - 3
    • Maryland - 3
    • Montana - 3
    • Oklahoma - 3
    • Pennsylvania - 3
    • Vermont - 3
    • Virginia - 3
    • Alabama - 2
    • Arkansas - 2
    • Louisiana - 2
    • Minnesota - 2
    • Missouri - 2
    • Nevada - 2
    • New Jersey - 2
    • Utah - 2
    • Colorado - 1
    • Hawaii - 1
    • Maine - 1
    • Michigan - 1
    • North Dakota - 1
    • Rhode Island - 1
    • South Carolina - 1
    • South Dakota - 1
    Geographic distribution of survey respondents across US map. Highest concentrations are in Oregon, California, Texas, and Illinois.

    Additional information on our respondents

    • 61% are public institutions
    • 17% have a medical center and/or teaching hospital
    • 51% are R1
    • 21% are R2
    • 28% are R3
    • 83% are residential institutions

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    Key Takeaways

    Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) Programs

    Key Data

    55% of respondents’ have ERM Programs and of those who have ERM Programs:

    • 49% do not know what ERM framework they utilize
    • 35% report to the VP/CFO
    • 47% have more than 1.5 Full Time Equivalents (FTEs) dedicated to ERM
    • 31% of respondents’ do not have an ERM program, but many maintain key ERM program elements


    Respondents mentioned the following tasks to enhance their ERM program:

    • Enhance risk training and education
    • Utilize Risk Appetite, Risk Tolerance, and Key Risk Indicators
    • Enhance current ERM processes
    • Obtain leadership buy-in and participation

    Emergency Management and Continuity of Operations Plans

    Key Data

    • 30% of respondents’ Emergency Management functions reside in the Public Safety Department
    • 82% of respondents have Emergency Operations Plans (EOPs)
    • 87% of respondents said they have Incident Management Teams (IMT)


    Respondents Continuity of Operations Plans (COOP), Disaster Recovery Plans, and IMT Teams all had the same top 2 needs:

    1. Plan Maintenance and Support
    2. Training and Exercises

    Leadership Response to COVID-19

    Key Data

    • 53% of respondents’ COVID Response leaders reported directly to the President/Chancellor
    • 20% of respondents’ Emergency Management departments managed COVID response
    • 14% of respondents’ noted that they did not have a Pandemic/disease plan


    Respondents mentioned the following lessons from the COVID pandemic:

    • Planning and ERM are needed
    • Collaboration is necessary
    • Communication is critical
    • Assign roles and responsibilities

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    Key Theme and Findings: Enterprise Risk Management Programs

    Key Takeaway

    While most institutions have ERM programs, institutions leverage a variety of ERM frameworks, governance structures, and staffing levels.

    ERM Program Age

    Age of Program Percentage
    5+ years 46%
    3-5 years 28%
    1-2 years 10%
    < 1 year 7%
    Don't Know 9%
    Square graph of ERM program age from survey respondents at institutions with ERM programs.

    ERM Framework

    Framework Percentage
    COSO 5%
    ISO31000 7%
    Other 16%
    Hybrid 23%
    Unsure/Don't Know 49%
    Pie graph of ERM frameworks from respondents at institutions with an ERM program

    Who ERM Reports to:

    Who Percentage
    VP/CFO 33%
    Other 21%
    CRO 17%
    President/Chancellor 16%
    Board of Trustees 11%
    Don't Know 1%
    Provost 1%
    Bar graph of who ERM reports to.

    FTEs per ERM Program

    Amount of FTE Number of People
    0, 0.75 9
    0.75, 1.5 31
    1.5,2.25 20
    2.25, 3 5
    >3 11
    Bar graph showing number of FTEs per erm from survey respondents.

    67% of institutions that offer Doctoral Degrees have ERM Programs

    77% of Institutions that have R1 or R2 classifications have ERM Programs

    56% of public institutions have ERM programs

    Key Takeaway

    In institutions that do not have ERM programs, they do have some common ERM program elements.

    ERM elements in institutions without ERM programs

    ERM Element Percentage
    Other .79%
    Clearly defined roles and responsibilities 9.13%
    Monitoring and call to action 11.11%
    Enterprise response and mitigation 12.30%
    Information and communication 20.24%
    Risk assessments and categorization 22.22%
    Identification of risks and opportunities 24.21%
    Bar graph of ERM elements at institutions without ERM programs.

      Enterprise Risk Management Challenges and Projects

      Key Challenges

      • Difficulty obtaining buy-in or participation
      • Lack of unified philosophy about risk
      • Lack of funding
      • Difficulty obtaining qualified staff
      • Tying ERM to strategy and budget allocation

      Key Projects

      • Risk training and education
      • Utilizing Risk Appetite, Risk Tolerance, and Key Risk Indicators
      • Enhancing ERM processes
      • Obtaining buy-in and participation

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      Key Theme and Findings: Campus Emergency Management

      Campus Emergency Management Reporting Structure

      Almost half of the IHEs respondents report that emergency management reports to campus police and public safety departments.

      Within which department does the emergency management function reside at your institution?

      Department Percentage
      Public Safety 30%
      Police 12%
      Environmental Health and Safety 11%
      Standalone Emergency Management 8%
      Facilities/Operations 7%
      Other 6%
      Administration (Chancellor or President's Office) 6%
      Business Office 5%
      Office of Student Life/Affairs 5%
      Enterprise Risk Management 1%
      Don't Know 1%
      Pie chart of emergency management functions at survey respondents' institutions.

      Common EM Program Elements

      Most respondents have EOPs, crisis communication plans, hazard assessment plans, and leadership succession plans.

      About half have a COOP and natural hazard mitigation plans; fewer have EM strategic plans, recovery plans, or training plans.

      Institutional EM Program Plan Components

      Component Percentage
      EOP 82.6%
      Crisis Communication Plan 71.8%
      Hazard identification/risk assessment 71.2%
      Leadership succession plan 52.5%
      COOP 51.5%
      Natural hazard mitigation plan 50.5%
      EM strategic plan 47.3%
      Recovery plan 42.1%
      Training and exercising plan 41.1%
      Bar graph of institutional EM program plan components.

      COOP Plan Needs

      Planning and training are top needs for IHEs' continuity of operations plans, especially for academic instruction continuity plans, business continuity plans, and IT/data continuity plans.

      Areas of Improvement for Continuity of Operations Plans

        Planning Connection to Sr. Leadership Training and Exercises Resource Information Policy Best Practices/ Samples Financial Support
      Executive Succession Plan 18% 17% 17% 9% 14% 15% 9%
      Academic Instruction Continuity Plan 22% 14% 18% 9% 13% 15% 9%
      Business Continuity Plan 21% 15% 18% 9% 13% 14% 11%
      Research Continuity Plan 19% 15% 16% 11% 14% 16% 10%
      IT/Data Continuity Plan 18% 13% 19% 10% 12% 14% 13%
      5 bar graphs showing areas of improvement for continuity of operations plan.

      Disaster Recovery Plan Needs

      IHEs told us they have a variety of competing needs for making their disaster recovery plans successful.

      Operational/Facilities Recovery Plan Needs

      Needs Percentage
      Training and Exercises 20%
      Planning 19%
      Best Practices/Samples 14%
      Connection to Senior Leadership 13%
      Policy 13%
      Financial Support 12%
      Resource Information/Publications 9%
      Pie graph of Operational Recovery Plan Needs. The largest sections are Training and Exercises and Planning.

        IT/Data Recovery Plans Needs

        Needs Percentage
        Training and Exercises 20%
        Planning 18%
        Financial Support 15%
        Best Practices/Samples 13%
        Policy 12%
        Connection to Senior Leadership 12%
        Resource Information/Publications 10%
        IT Recovery Plan Needs Pie Chart

          IMTs and Crisis Response Teams

          About 11% of respondents said they did not have IMTs and Crisis Response Teams. The most popular need for success: Training.

          Does your EM program have IMT Team?

          • 87% Yes
          • 11% No
          • 2% Don’t Know
          Pie Graph of whether EM programs have IMT. The largest section of the graph says yes.

            Top IMT Needs

            • Training/Exercises
            • Plan Maintenance/Support
            • Staffing
            • Funding

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            Key Theme and Findings: Dispersed COVID-19 Pandemic Leadership

            Dispersed COVID Leadership

            Leadership approaches varied during the COVID-19 pandemic, but challenges and lessons learned were more consistent.

            Who did/does the institutional COVID-19 response leader primarily report to on your campus?

            Who Percentage
            President/Chancellor 53%
            VP/CFO 14%
            VP Administration 10%
            Other 10%
            Board of Trustees/Regents 9%
            Provost 3%
            Don't Know 1%
            COVID-19 Response Primary Leaders Pie Chart - President/Chancellor has highest percentage

              COVID Day-to-Day Response Lead

              Only about 1 in 5 respondents said their Emergency Management department handled their IHE’s COVID-19 response.

              Department Lead of COVID-19 Response

              Department Percentage
              Emergency Management and/or Continuity 19.59%
              Other 14.95%
              Environmental Health and Safety 12.37%
              VP/Chancellor for Admin/CFO 11.86%
              VP/Chancellor for Student Life/Affairs 10.82%
              Police/Public Safety 7.22%
              Risk Management 5.37%
              University Health Services 5.67%
              Chancellor or President's Office 5.15%
              Provost/Academic Affairs 5.15%
              Don't Know 1.03%
              Enterprise Risk Management .52%
              Bar graph of department leading COVID-19 response.

                67% of respondents said their IHEs either hired more employees (33%) or redeployed existing employees (34%) to help with COVID-19 response.

                COVID Response Gaps

                Lack of a plan, lack of PPE, lack of money, and lack of clarity about who was in charge were the biggest COVID-19 pandemic challenges for the respondents.

                What resources did your institution most lack regarding providing an effective emergency response to COVID-19?

                Resource Percentage
                Access to COVID vaccine 3.60%
                Resource information/publications 3.60%
                Connection to senior leadership 4.27%
                Connection to public health authorities 4.94%
                Emergency Operations Plan 4.94%
                Access to COVID testing 8.99%
                Awareness of best practices 9.44%
                Clarity on who leader is 11.01%
                Financial reserves 11.24%
                Access to emergency response equipment 11.24%
                COOP plan 12.58%
                Pandemic/disease plan 14.16%
                Bar graph showing most lacked resources during COVID-19 response.

                  Challenges and Lessons from COVID

                  Key Challenges

                  • Difficulty incorporating remote work/instruction
                  • Resource shortages/delays
                  • Difficulty obtaining qualified staff
                  • Information shortages/delays
                  • Uncertain/unpredictable/inconsistent mitigation measures/decisions

                  Key Lessons

                  • Importance of Planning
                  • Collaboration is necessary
                  • Communication is critical
                  • Leadership duties are important

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                  DRU Opportunities and Recommendations

                  Key Issues and Opportunities

                  The survey data and interviews highlight six specific issues and opportunities for IHEs and for the DRU.

                  1. IHEs want short, accessible training and research. The survey results indicate high demand for training, but interviewees noted that much of what’s available is time-consuming, overly complex, and impractical for busy risk professionals.
                  2. IHEs need better help creating plans. The survey results suggest that many IHEs lack emergency or risk management plans simply because they don’t have the staff or resources to create them.
                  3. IHEs want more ways to compare notes. Sharing information is crucial to developing best practices. The survey results and interviews indicate that IHEs need more ways to share what they’re doing.
                  4. IHEs need help finding and funding qualified people who are excited about risk and emergency management. The survey results suggest IHEs want to do more to manage risk comprehensively but are struggling to fill positions.
                  5. IHEs want someone to consult with about specific issues. The survey results indicate that emergency management and risk staffs are often small, leaving few internal channels for guidance.
                  6. IHEs might benefit from more comprehensive guidance about emergency and risk management. Several organizations specialize in specific areas of emergency and risk management.

                  From the interviewees: “I wish that there was a centralized organization that just focused on emergency management in higher education.”

                  From the interviewees: “What can we do as the DRU to make sure that there are templates out there, or directions, or sharing best practices in these areas to kind of help some of these schools out…”


                  Here are six potential things the DRU can do to evolve its core competencies, as well as advance interdisciplinary partnerships and disaster resilience in IHEs.

                  1. Create and offer short, simple training products. University leaders don’t have the time for three- day classes; DRU could address the demand for more efficient training.

                  1. Conduct frequent surveys about specific topics and share the findings quickly. This could help quantify and disseminate generally accepted best practices.

                  1. Create and offer short, simple plan templates, how-to checklists, and easy-to- understand best practices. Offering periodic, perhaps automated nudges could remind participants to stay on track or complete key steps.

                  1. Provide a safe space for sharing ideas, wins, and problems. Webinars, videos, interviews, panel participation, roundtables, and the current listserv can help peers connect in a more meaningful, productive way about specific, sensitive topics.

                  1. Become a hub for recruiting and DEI efforts in the emergency and risk management field. Staffing is a significant issue for IHEs, and the DRU could leverage its existing infrastructure to help IHEs find qualified candidates.

                  1. Become a center for matching subject- matter experts with IHEs. The DRU can provide consultant-like services to IHEs that want help with a specific emergency management issue or topic.

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                  About the Authors

                  This document was written and prepared by André Le Duc and Amanda Curler.

                  André is the founder and administrator of the DRU. He is also the Vice President for Safety and Risk Services and Chief Resilience Officer and at the University of Oregon and Director of the Institute for Resilient Organizations, Communities, and Environments.

                  Amanda is the Associate Director, Enterprise Risk Management at the University of Oregon.

                  Funding Support

                  This survey and report were made possible through generous support from Deloitte & Touche LLP 

                  Download a pdf copy of the report.