Taking Inventory Of Your Institution’s Efforts To Prevent And Respond To Sexual Violence
Institutions of higher education are complex bureaucracies. Ending sexual violence is a monumental task that requires passion, creativity, and dedicated resources. So, it is no surprise that it is an immense challenge for colleges and universities to execute the staffing, programs, policies, and infrastructure required to prevent and respond to sexual violence on campus. While there is no singular solution for how to manage this important challenge, coordination across the institution is a key strategy.
The CORE Evaluation, a signature tool of Culture of Respect, offers an attainable approach for enhancing coordination across an institution. The detailed survey organized around the six pillars of the CORE Blueprint offers institutional leaders the opportunity to work together to closely examine the web of policies, programs, and procedures that compose their strategy for preventing and responding to sexual violence. A new 4th edition of the survey, which has evolved with changes to evidence, practice, and policy, is now available for download from the NASPA Bookstore.
If your institution is prepared to take a step towards improved coordination, Culture of Respect recommends following these steps for utilizing the CORE Evaluation to inventory institutional efforts to address sexual violence:
- Review the survey. First, read through the tool in its entirety. Don’t try to complete all the questions right away - the process will be most useful if you gain input and work towards consensus with colleagues and students on these topics. Instead of focusing on finding the answers, consider these questions: Which of these questions will be easy to answer? Which will bring up tensions? Which will encourage you to consider new strategies? In total, the survey will present your institution with up to 155 questions (depending on skip logic) including some with multiple components.
- Compile your team. Now that you know what the survey covers, you should have an idea about who you will need to answer these questions. Culture of Respect suggests you work with representatives from all the key departments involved in sexual violence prevention and response including: Title IX, prevention, faculty, survivor advocacy, health services, respondent services, campus safety, greek life, human resources, and more. Of course, make sure to involve students - they are at the heart of this work and their input is invaluable. Collective institutions, who administer the survey as part of their participation in the program, have shown us some creative strategies for bringing students to the table: our colleagues at Hamilton College recruited by informing student government of the initiative’s scope and goals.
- Make a plan. Collective institutions have demonstrated many ways to make the most of administering the tool: some split the survey into sections and administer it in groups while others explore each question with their entire team. Some institutions complete it over a series of shorter meetings and others order lunch and spend the day together considering each question from every angle. Your institution's plan should: fit your team’s needs and strengths; include a defined timeline; ensure your team members contributions are valued and celebrated; and, rely on a leadership team to manage the details and keep the process moving.
- Work together to complete the survey. Collective institutions report it takes 4+ hours in a team environment to respond to all the survey questions. Since it can be hard to bring everyone together for this length of time, it’s important to keep front-of-mind why you are engaging in this process, and why it matters: addressing sexual violence is essential to student success; it requires well-coordinated teamwork from across departmental silos; and, the inventory will help you to identify strengths and opportunities in your institution’s strategy. Collective participants recommended investing time in relationship-building with the group beforehand, providing snacks, and using a ‘parking lot’ to document ideas that surface along the way.
- Take action. By the time you have completed the survey, you will be full of ideas for how to advance your institution’s strategy for addressing sexual violence. The discussions you’ve had with your colleagues and teammates have revealed areas for improved coordination, policy clarification, and implementation of new strategies. Culture of Respect recommends that institutions create a detailed action plan based on what they learned during their administration of the CORE Evaluation. If you would like outside support, Culture of Respect offers custom technical assistance packages that include a detailed report summarizing your responses and suggestions for next steps and support in writing a plan.
No matter where your institution is in its arc towards building a safer campus community, the CORE Evaluation is a tool that can help you get to the next phase.