International Educator - Risk Management Supplement - S8
says. "It was sort of the perfect storm of communication
Much of the team happened to be traveling at the
time: Hope was in Bahrain and his supervisor was in
India. The crisis happened in a popular study abroad
country, on a weekend when students typically travel, and
at a concert likely to draw young people.
"That was a watershed moment for us in terms of
making sure that our process worked, that we were able
to get in touch with folks, and then after the fact debrief
on campus about changes that we needed to make," he
says. "We did have so many students in France at the
time, and it caused so much anxiety on campus."
All students and staff were accounted for. Because the
incident was so large, the team ended up requiring all
students in France to get in touch with the study abroad
office, and it sent a message about the attacks to all Kentucky students studying in Western Europe.
Moving from Anecdotes to Data
Of course, for all the attention terrorist attacks and
natural disasters receive, even these days they're not the
incidents risk managers are most often handling. As Bill
Bull at CIEE puts it, "Bad things happen at 3 a.m. when
you're drunk in a nightclub anywhere in the world."
The last few years CIEE has tracked 10,000 studentreported incidents for its partner universities. By far, the
vast majority involve students wanting to see a doctor,
but they've catalogued students being pickpocketed,
getting into car accidents, and more. They compare the
information year to year to look for trends to help determine mitigation strategies going forward.
"The challenge is always getting out of the anecdotal and into the factual," Bull says. "The goal is to
make it as granular and detailed as possible to inform
For example, when analyzing a Peace Corps-associated program, Bull had assumed the data would show
that evening drinking presented the greatest number
of incidents. Instead, he says, "We saw this startling
fact: The highest volume of petty thefts was occurring
between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. on Friday mornings-pickpocketing at the bus stations-which led us to look more
into it. In this case, the volunteers were traveling to visit
friends throughout the country, and they were at the bus
stations early in the morning, and they were sleepy and
groggy. Pickpockets were targeting them."
Bull's team analyzed more incident data and found that
the number one contributing factor to being a victim of a
crime in 2016 was walking alone at night. "We spent a lot
INTERNATIONAL EDUCATOR J A N.+ F E B .18 * R I S K M A N AG E M E N T
of education last year on working with students about being very careful about walking alone at night," he says.
They promoted something as simple as the buddy
system. Bull says the latest data suggests the predeparture education seemed to have had an effect.
The basics of handling risk as more students travel to
new places hasn't changed much, risk managers say.
Study abroad offices are emphasizing prevetting programs and on-the-ground partners through both early
research by using information such as travel warnings,
security analysis, news reports, and site visits. Some
smaller universities, such as Campbell University in
North Carolina, use larger universities as a bellwether.
If, for example, several state universities have programs
in a certain region of a country, the area is likely wellvetted and safe for smaller schools.
Campbell vets its programs by committee. After state
department travel warnings in October raised questions
about the safety of hotels in Cuba, the campus's committee nixed a planned business school trip to Cuba that
would have included students staying in major hotels.
At the same time, the committee withheld judgment on
an annual spring break trip that involves students staying in the homes of Cuban families. "We've built in a lot
of checks and balances," Donna Waldron says.
The level of detail in prevetting trips and walking
through predeparture orientations can be minute, running
through potential healthcare options as well as what-if
scenarios with students and faculty. "If they're going to
Mexico, it'll be 'you should travel by this highway, you
should stay off that highway,'" says Morgan Morris from the
University of South Carolina. "You can get pretty narrow."
One of the largest issues on risk managers' minds,
several said, is providing mental health support for
international students and, in some cases, providing
deeper predeparture orientations on the subject. Morris
has worked to make sure students can receive similar
treatment abroad as they do in the United States.
"We've been trying to drum in to students that
mental health is treated just like physical health," she
says. "We have lots of resources at our disposal to handle
it abroad. We don't want students to ever feel like they
can't go." In some cases, that can mean having a counselor on the ground ready for students when they arrive.
Still, no matter how prepared any risk manager is,
things happen and crises develop. "No matter how
much you train, there will always be kids that get hurt,"
says Kathy Hargis, who directs risk management at Lip-
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of International Educator - Risk Management Supplement
From the Desk of
Global Spotlight: Malaysia
Feature: Recruiting Farther Upstream: U.S. Institutions Are Exploring New Opportunities Among International High School Students
Feature: CASE STUDY: The Business of Global Engagement
Feature: Middle Class Rising: As the Number of Families with Discretionary Income Grows, So Do Prospects for More International Students
International Student Affairs
International Education Leadership
Feature: Minimizing Risk, Maximizing Results
Advertiser Listings & Index
International Educator - Risk Management Supplement - SCover1
International Educator - Risk Management Supplement - SCover2
International Educator - Risk Management Supplement - S3
International Educator - Risk Management Supplement - Feature: Minimizing Risk, Maximizing Results
International Educator - Risk Management Supplement - S5
International Educator - Risk Management Supplement - S6
International Educator - Risk Management Supplement - S7
International Educator - Risk Management Supplement - S8
International Educator - Risk Management Supplement - S9
International Educator - Risk Management Supplement - Advertiser Listings & Index
International Educator - Risk Management Supplement - SCover3
International Educator - Risk Management Supplement - SCover4