The purpose of this paper is to examine how an academic institution may more effectively respond to a disaster. In this particular situation the issues are being investigated in the context of a hurricane event. From 2005 to 2008 two hurricanes directly hit Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas. This paper examines the impact Hurricane Ike, the latter of these hurricanes, had on this academic institution. This research shares valuable insight into the vulnerabilities confronting academic institutions during natural disasters and highlights the lessons learned.
This is a practitioner paper which applies survey data and qualitative interviews of key decision makers.
Success in the aftermath of this disaster required serious consideration and forethought in institutional preparedness and continuity planning. Specifically, success relied on adequately prioritizing the recovery effort, effectively addressing communication and financial concerns, fostering administrative empowerment in the decision process, and devoting sufficient consideration to the development of alternative academic calendars.
The paper identifies issues of practical significance which academic institutions should consider when developing emergency plans related to natural disasters.
This paper contains new information about the impact of a natural disaster on an academic institution. The issues addressed are of value to comparable institutions in the process of developing their response and recovery plans.
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