6 Key Areas That Maximize Investment in Campus Inclusion, Prevention, and Safety Programs

6 Key Areas That Maximize Investment in Campus Inclusion, Prevention, and Safety Programs

"Don’t tell me what you value. Show me your budget, and I’ll tell you what you value."

Joe Biden

President of the United States

Whether it’s the size of your budget or how it gets allocated, the investment your institution makes in campus inclusion, prevention, and safety speaks volumes about the importance of these issues. And these issues could not be more important than they are right now. Here’s why:

  • Current college-bound students report socially conscious expectations of their future campus, and make enrollment decisions based on safety and social justice values. Recent Vector Solutions (formerly Everfi's Campus Prevention Network) data show that 82% of high school seniors feel that safety, well-being, and inclusion are as important as academic rigor when selecting a college. Over one-third of respondents said they would be more likely to attend an institution that achieved the Campus Prevention Network Seal of Prevention.   
  • Preventable harms and high-risk behaviors derail student success and persistence. Sexual assault survivors are more likely to get behind in schoolwork, miss class, perform poorly on assignments, and consider transferring or dropping out. As frequency and amount of alcohol use increases, likelihood of a student getting an A or A- GPA goes down.
  • These challenges incur enormous costs to institutions, their brands, and applicant volume. High-profile incidents and mismanaged crises can result in up to a 10% drop in applications - this is equivalent to a 10-ranking drop in the US News & World Report.
  • Modest improvements in effective prevention strategies yield material gains in retention and graduation rates. A 3-point score increase in Vector's Sexual Assault Diagnostic Inventory corresponds to a 1% increase in year-one-to-two retention rates and a 2.5% increase in four-year graduation rates.

Despite tremendous fiscal pressures to cut costs and reduce staffing, the strategic impact of campus safety, prevention, and inclusion programs on enrollment, student success, and retention make these initiatives not just the right thing to do to protect your students but the smart thing to do to protect your institution.

Put another way...

Campus Inclusion, Prevention, and Safety Programs are Investments, Not Expenses

Making the right choice on digital safety, well-being, and inclusion programs can maximize your institution’s investment. Below are six key focus areas, supported by guiding questions for vendors and a clear rationale for choosing Vector Solutions.

  1. Compliance
  2. Content
  3. Design
  4. Administration
  5. Data
  6. Reputation

1. Maintaining Compliance with Local, State, and Federal Laws

Compliance with state/federal laws is an important checkbox to minimize institutional liabilities. This is the floor and not the ceiling when it comes to creating safer, more inclusive campuses. Producing compliant content is table stakes for technology vendors, not a differentiator. Ask for specifics and transparency on how they monitor changes to legislation and reflect these in the courses you rely on to meet the letter and spirit of the law.

Questions for Vendors:

  • Does your training development team include experienced legal experts on staff?
  • How do you provide customization options for courses to reflect nuances in our campus policies?
  • Is your Title IX and Clery Act Training content informed by evidence and/or assessed for impact? 
  • Does your catalogue have courses that address ongoing training requirements?

2. Proven-Effective Content that Drives Impact

Every vendor offers fully compliant online courses, so your primary decision should focus on whether their courses will actually make your community safer or more inclusive. Providers must be able to tell you how they incorporate research, theory, and prevention best practices, plus share rigorous data demonstrating their impact. If you’re not convinced that you’re getting best-in-class content that will drive significant improvements in campus inclusion, prevention, or safety outcomes, you must consider if their programs reflect the importance of this investment.

Questions for Vendors:

  • Does your development team include highly regarded prevention experts on staff?
  • What is your approach to prevention? What social and behavioral science theories are your courses based on?
  • How does your catalogue address the interconnections across multiple safety, well-being, and inclusion issues?
  • Do you have any rigorous studies demonstrating impact on learning and behavioral objectives? 

3. Accessible and Engaging Design

It is critical for online learners to have an experience that is inclusive, accessible, and engaging. Utilizing multiple learning modalities while ensuring full accessibility is a challenge that prevents many institutions from going it alone, yet many vendors only offer limited mechanisms for driving the kind of engagement you want from your students. Enormous catalogues of rapid-built trainings with singular formats (like video) can be a red flag that the provider is not fully invested in meeting the many and unique learning styles of today’s diverse students.

Questions for Vendors:

  • How do your courses utilize varied teaching modalities and interactive formats?
  • What opportunities exist to add customizations to your training content?
  • How are diverse learner identities and experiences reflected in your course design?
  • Do your courses meet WCAG 2.0 standards of accessibility?

4. Training Deployment and Administration

Your time is precious. Make sure that you’re able to easily launch, monitor, and report on your inclusion, prevention, and safety programs with a strong, tech-forward provider. An online prevention program can help you provide a standardized educational experience that addresses safety, well-being, and inclusion issues at scale. The ability to reach and track participation of all your students, staff, and faculty is critical, and having this data in real-time allows for immediate reporting when the need arises. Your training solution should also fit seamlessly with your prevention strategy and IT infrastructure, creating efficiencies and driving results that often aren’t achievable with in-person programs alone. The cost of online solutions is more than just the training, and often reflects whether the administrative platform has the functionality required to meet your needs.

Questions for Vendors:

  • How does your technology align with our campus IT requirements?
  • Do you offer LMS integration and single sign-on functionality?
  • Will we have dedicated customer support and 24-hour technical assistance?
  • Can we automate deployment, course assignments, and email reminders through your platform?
  • Are training completion and survey data available in real-time dashboards?

5. Meaningful Data Insights

As the saying goes, “What gets measured gets managed.” Meaningful training data insights are key to demonstrate ROI and put in place ongoing strategies to protect your community and mitigate risk. Most training providers measure course-related learning objectives through some form of assessment, but few utilize in-depth pre- and post-course surveys to provide actionable insights on learner experiences, beliefs, and behaviors and overall campus climate.  

Questions for Vendors:

  • Do you have assessments in place to evaluate training impact? Do these have passing score requirements?
  • Do you have pre- and post-course surveys? What do they measure?
  • Will real-time survey and assessment data be available? Can the data be benchmarked?
  • How easily can the data be accessed? Can raw data be downloaded for additional analysis?

6. Organizational Reputation and Experience

Expanding legislation, increased accountability, and growing public pressure have led to a crowded market of technology vendors. But the stakes are too high for you to just look for a digital training provider; you should be seeking a strategic technology partner. Prevention issues impact your mission and business, so if they’re not also helping you drive results on institutional outcomes like enrollment, student success, and retention then you’re not getting the most out of what you paid for.

Questions for Vendors:

  • How long have you been serving higher education? How many campuses do you work with, and what kind of institutions?
  • How would you describe the mission and reputation of your organization?
  • What sets you apart from other technology companies that provide this training?
  • How do your technology solutions and services address larger strategic priorities beyond safety, well-being, and inclusion?

Getting ahead of safety, well-being, and inclusion challenges is no longer just a legal or moral requirement, it’s a strategic imperative. The stakes are high when selecting a prevention and compliance training solution, and making the right choice means thinking differently about what you’re trying to achieve.

Your budget and investments are a reflection of what you value. Whether your priorities focus on safety, well-being, and inclusion or enrollment, student success, and retention, online prevention programs should be a cornerstone of your strategy. And at the end of the day, you’ll get what you pay for.

Contact us for more information