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Crisis Response in Higher Ed Study Abroad: A Guide for Conducting Tabletop Exercises

March 2017

About This Resource

United Educators (UE) recently conducted a 10-year claims study to assess the most common risks of international travel by students and staff. The study showed that a college’s response to a serious incident — such as sexual assault, severe injury, suicide, or fatality — was critical in determining whether the institution faced legal action.

Most institutions have a crisis management plan for each study abroad program. That plan is most effective when faculty and staff who oversee international programs, particularly campus study abroad offices, practice the plan. All travelers and administrators must understand their roles and responsibilities in the event of a crisis. UE created this tabletop exercise guide to facilitate emergency and crisis planning instruction for administrators, study abroad directors, and trip leaders. We have included scenarios based on three of the most common study abroad claims reported to UE.

All institutions will face crises. UE recommends a Cool Head, Warm Heart® approach based on decades of compassionate claims handling. Show a warm heart through concern for people first and liability second; keep a cool head and protect your institution’s reputation and financial stability.


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