Best Practices for Health, Safety, Security and Risk Management
Thursday, June 18, 2020
The Forum on Education Abroad’s 11th Standards of Good Practice Institute, Best Practices for Health, Safety, Security and Risk Management, was hosted virtually on June 18.
Best Practices for Health, Safety, Security and Risk Management is education abroad’s signature annual event focusing on the risk management issues faced daily by organizations and institutions. Professionals in a variety of roles who are involved in managing international educational activities and associated risks gather each year at this Standards Institute to debrief, train, improve and learn the latest in best practices in education abroad risk management, including regulatory compliance.
The practical, hands-on approach includes concurrent and plenary sessions that provide participants with a wealth of tools to review, strengthen, and improve institutional and organizational strategies for risk mitigation, incident prevention, and emergency response.
Plenary Speaker: Kelsey Hoppe
Risk assessment will change radically in the next 20 years. As big data becomes more ubiquitous, our ability to individualize and personalize risk assessment will evolve. Young people have already begun to understand themselves and their safety and security in this ‘new risk reality.’ How we understand and communicate about risk will be critical for our duty of care as well as organizational compliance.
Plenary speaker Kelsey Hoppe discussed this new risk paradigm and ways we can facilitate confident and safe student travel based on her experience working with both young people and universities in the UK such as the Universities of Cambridge, Oxford, East Anglia, and Brighton among others.
As Chief Executive of Safer Edge, a risk management company, Kelsey Hoppe specializes in helping good people do great things in difficult places. Safer Edge provides learning and risk management services to organizations that work in challenging environments—whether that is across the street or around the world. Kelsey brings an innovative perspective to the world of security believing that organizational security and the security of the individual are inextricably linked. All safety and security must therefore be people-focused to succeed.
Kelsey has worked internationally for over 20 years in some of the world’s most complex environments with organizations both large and small. She specializes in security for women, young people and children. In her latest book, Staying Safe on Your Gap Year, she empowers students by offering them basic skills and tips they can use to take responsibility for their own safety and security.
Welcome | 8:30 – 9 a.m.
Concurrent Sessions | 9 – 10:30 a.m.
Global Travel Safety and Duty of Care: A Discussion and Comparison of Organizational Commitment and Risk
Chris Cook (Cornell University); Kyle Rausch (University of Illinois, Chicago); Daniel Williams (Uber)
This session provides a rich exploration of institutional duty of care for international travelers by defining it from a legal standpoint and offering case studies by a varied panel representing a small public university with a one-person education abroad office, a private university with full-time travel safety manager, and the global technology company, Uber.
Health & Safety in Virtual Learning Settings
Brooke Galloway (SAPRI Consulting); Rachel Helwig (Amizade)
While on-line study abroad courses may have started as a “stop-gap” measure to help students who returned to the US complete their spring 2020 study abroad term, these are now becoming a more sustained offering for a number of universities and providers. Virtual internships, summer study abroad and even full semester offerings have exploded as the field works to continue to connect students as border closures and health needs restrict travel. Even if these full programs don’t continue long-term, more international educators are exploring possibilities for virtual global connections. With this, it is essential to explore, define and integrate virtual health and safety considerations into these programs. In this session, we will explore the successful virtual programming through the following health and safety topics:
- Access & Equity (including Accessibility);
- Mental Health Considerations; and
- Virtual Harassment & Tech Safety
This interactive session will include presentation, small group dialogue, and larger group discussion. Presenters will provide a framework for online student success using literature and lessons learned from K-12 and higher education virtual coursework, as well as provide topic-specific considerations. Participants will then work together to generate strategies for ensuring student health, safety and success online.
The New Title IX Regulations: Implications for Education Abroad
Joe Storch (SUNY: The State University of New York)
The last decade has seen myriad changes to reporting and responding to crimes and violations on study abroad. The Clery Act as amended by the Violence Against Women Act and federal interpretations of Title IX have shifted and caused institutions to change policies and approach. The newly released Title IX Regulations—including a flat statement that Title IX does not apply outside the United States—would appear to lead to yet another set of major changes. But will they actually change practice on the ground in study abroad? In this 90 minute session, we will discuss the Clery Act (as amended by VAWA) requirements applicable to incidents that occur on study abroad, the practical implications of the Regulatory change, institutional policies and best practices.
Using Systems Theory to Improve Risk Management: Lessons from Safety Research in Aviation and International Outdoor Education
Jeff Baierlein (Viristar)
This interactive session explores current academic research about systems thinking in risk management and its application to educational travel contexts. We’ll look at leading systems thinking models and investigate study abroad as a complex socio-technical system. We’ll explore how systems theory can be applied to overseas program policy development, safety reviews, and incident investigation.
Concurrent Sessions | 10:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
Citizens Gone Wild: How to Make Education Abroad Work Among Protest Movements
Shaun Jamieson (Iowa State University); Allie Oberoi (Virginia Tech)
As protest becomes a predominant form of political speech and popular resistance throughout the world, our students are increasingly likely to find themselves in places where ongoing protests are a way of life. This session will explore different forms of protest students may encounter, how to prepare students to travel to areas where protests are regular, and how to stay safe in these areas.
Out in the World: Managing New Risks in Higher Education
Mark Fischer (International SOS); Todd Holmes (Massachusetts Institute of Technology); Benjamin Evans (University of Pennsylvania)
Each year, millions of students participate in exciting and new opportunities abroad. We’ll take a deep dive into a whitepaper recently published by the International SOS Foundation and IIE that takes a look at the changing challenges and opportunities related to studying abroad. Speakers from MIT and UPenn will take the audience through real life scenarios.
Student Mental Health Fitness Abroad: A Toolkit and Resources for Education Abroad (EA) Professionals
Barbara Lindeman (University of Missouri); Landes Holbrook (Brigham Young University)
The Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) Academia Working Group (AWG) has created a mental health toolkit for professionals who prepare and support students on education abroad programs. This Toolkit was a multi-institutional initiative intended to help answer the question, “How can education abroad professionals best support the increasing number of U.S. higher education students who experience mental health problems while participating on education abroad programs?” It contains expert guidance and resources provided from OSAC AWG members, who represent a variety of institutions and EA program types. In this session, the co-chairs of this OSAC AWG Mental Health Initiative will provide to session participants a brief overview of the Toolkit and highlight its contents and resources. They will actively share ideas and explore with session participants, though small group discussion and activities, how to best adapt this Mental Health Toolkit to their own programs and practices.
A Year in Critical Incidents: Results from The Forum’s 2019 Data Collection Efforts
Amelia Dietrich (The Forum on Education Abroad)
This session will share the results and trends in critical incidents that occur on education abroad programs as identified by The Forum’s Critical Incident Database and contributions from Forum members. From the most mild case of a stomach bug to emergencies requiring major response, we’ll explore where, when, and under what circumstances critical incidents occurred in 2019.
Plenary Lunch featuring Kelsey Hoppe | 12:15 – 1:15 p.m.
Concurrent Sessions | 1:15 – 2:45 p.m.
Creating and Maintaining an Effective Provider-University Relationship
Vanessa Sterling (CET Academic Programs); Andrea Bordeau (Vanderbilt University)
As institutions broaden their international offerings, it is more often necessary to work with a provider organization to create programs. However, contracting with another entity can add questions and concerns. This session involves two practitioners—one from either side—who are working together and will explore and engage with both macro and micro-level issues and the strategies that result.
Exercise, Exercise, Exercise – Preparing for the Zombie Apocalypse
Jess Miller (The University of Texas System); Tristan Tafolla (Columbia University); Matt Etre (Harvard University)
Government entities dedicate a significant amount of time and resources to planning for worst case scenarios and conducting exercises to test capabilities and refine procedures before they must be implemented in response to true emergencies. This session will draw upon the presenters’ experience from several government sectors to provide insight into the planning process and then guide attendees through an interactive exercise.
It’s a COVID World Now – Ruminations and Mutterings from International HSS Officers
Seth Tucker (Syracuse University); Todd Holmes (Massachusetts Institute of Technology); Colin McElroy (CIEE)
Without reference to tarot cards, Ouija boards, or the stars, panelists will offer preliminary thoughts on the novel health and safety requirements that programs are likely to face should study abroad resume this fall. Most campuses are, understandably, focused inward attempting the herculean task of planning campus openings in an uncertain environment. Panelists will argue that education abroad faces an existential crisis and must be even more forward thinking to creatively reimagine heretofore routine elements of study abroad, including health and safety. Panelists will address probable public health requirements, program logistics, and travel risk analysis in a new operational paradigm that is not yet clear. Necessarily speculative, this session will engage the audience to imagine operational alternatives with the panelists to synthesize an array of ideas, questions, and policies for the consideration of attendees as they plot their own return to action.
Practical Crisis Management for Faculty-Led Study Abroad Programs: Using Tabletop Exercises to Help Meet Duty of Care Requirements
Benjamin Longworth (On Call International); Dan Kampsen (Lafayette College)
In this session, attendees will emerge with a deeper understanding of best practices for equipping their faculty to manage crises abroad while meeting legally-imposed duty of care requirements. Attendees will examine the duty of care concept, participate in a practical, collaborative tabletop exercise, and brainstorm considerations for creating their own exercises.
Concurrent Sessions | 3 – 4:30 p.m.
After Action: Lessons Learned from COVID-19 Repatriation Efforts
Seth Tucker (Syracuse University); Erica Nikolaison (New Mexico State University); María José Angel Mex (Istituto Lorenzo de’ Medici)
The relentless spread of Covid-19 in the spring of 2020 caused unprecedented disruption to education abroad. The uncertainty and lack of reliable information created an environment where programs were compelled to make impactful decisions with limited data and to contemplate actions on a scale that far exceeded anyone’s emergency plans. Despite the trying circumstances, anecdotally, the industry adapted and many thousands of students were safely moved home with relatively minimal chaos given events. How did we do that and what can we learn? While the events of this spring will be the focus of numerous conferences, articles, and books in the coming years, this session presents an initial effort to categorize the elements of a successful repatriation effort encompassing both the logistics and effects on program operations. Offered from the perspectives of an international health and safety professional and an education abroad manager, we intend to provide a framework for thinking about this repatriation and to foster dialogue among participants leading to synthesis of ideas that can be used by participants to contemplate their own lessons learned from this extraordinary event.
Navigating Health, Safety and Security in Pandemic World
Bill Frederick (Lodestone Safety International); Patrick Morgan (University of Michigan)
COVID-19 was by far the most disruptive of a number of events that led to suspended and cancelled programs over the past year. As we strategize for a return to operation, we must recognize that some of the touchstones of our decision-making have proved to be imperfect and that there is much that is unknown about the health risks of programming during a pandemic. How much can we really mitigate the risk and how much risk can we tolerate? A return to operations will necessitate revisiting our values, recalibrating our compasses and re-examining the stars by which we steer. This presentation will look at the philosophical and the pragmatic. We’ll look at the renegotiation of relationships with our students, providers, vendors, and insurance companies. We’ll review the evolving decision-making at a major university, present some of the innovative thinking emerging across the field and address the legal landscape. We’ll present and work some of the more challenging dilemmas to capture the collective wisdom of the participants as we seek to build flexibility, acceleration and resilience.
The Room Where it Happens: Decision Making in Times of Crisis
Kyle Rausch (University of Illinois, Chicago); Maureen Gordon (Arcadia University); Ron Machoian (University of Wisconsin, Madison); Erin Rasche (Kennesaw State University); Margaret Wiedenhoeft (Kalamazoo College)
Although education abroad offices may have been the leaders at their institutions in responding to past international crises, some international education professionals saw the decision-making process removed from their purview with COVID-19. In this session, a panel of professionals from different institutional types discuss their institution’s decision-making and response processes to COVID-19 with a goal of helping international education professionals better understand organizational decision making in the time of crises. Panelists will also discuss how to make the case for the continuation of some version of internationalized programming during these uncertain times.
Using Open-Source Intelligence To Enable Crisis Management
Paul Raffile (SafeAbroad)
Open-source intelligence is the practice of collecting and analyzing publicly-accessible information and signals to enhance insight into an issue. Led by a career intelligence analyst, this session will introduce a variety of free online tools that international education professionals can use to improve their situational awareness and crisis management capabilities during crises abroad.
Open Forum: Education Abroad and the New Normal | 4:30 – 6:30 p.m.
The ramifications of COVID-19 on the field of education abroad have been far reaching; we now find ourselves contending with a new normal. There is no agenda for this session; instead, we invite you to bring the issues that are of priority to you as we come together as a community to consider how to advance education abroad. Whether its determining how and when to plan education abroad opportunities during these uncertain times, exploring virtual opportunities, or diversifying the mission and scope of your work as you advocate for international education within your organization, bring your questions and ideas to this community forum for collegial dialogue.
2020 Standards Institute Planning Committee
- Patrick Morgan, University of Michigan (co-chair)
- Kyle Rausch, University of Illinois, Chicago (co-chair)
- Brooke Galloway, SAPRI Consulting
- Staci Hagen, University of California Education Abroad Program
- Rachel Helwig, Amizade
- Todd Holmes, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- Rochelle Keesler, Lafayette College
- Natalie A. Mello, The Forum on Education Abroad
- Jessica Miller, The University of Texas System
- Morgan Morris, University of South Carolina
- Erica Nikolaisen, New Mexico State University
- Mark Odenwelder, The Forum Council
- Wendy Pedersen, University of Southern California
- Rachel Reuter, University of Michigan
- Seth Tucker, Syracuse University