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Survey research about how campus communities respond to crises and tragedies indicate that University students appreciate when faculty acknowledge the incidents. These results also show that faculty are interested in discussing the situation, but may not know how to do so. Events like the Monday killings at Virginia Tech evoke a variety of emotions and, although most of us find ways to cope and find solace, many of us appreciate guidance on how to acknowledge a crisis in class. We've compiled a variety of on-line resources which you can review and adapt for your course and your students.
A collection of resources related to coping with crises on college campuses and suggestions for classroom discussions is available at Paper Clip Communications for resources related to coping with crisis on college campuses.
The Society for College and University Planning maintains a Crisis & Disaster Management Planning for Higher Education Web page with useful information and links to more resources:
The article, Tips for College and University Students: Managing Your Distress in the Aftermath of the Virginia Tech Shootings, may provide some helpful advice.
Guidelines developed at the University of Michigan to help faculty and graduate student instructors prepare for classes after the events of September 11, 2001 useful and can be adapted by instructors who want to respond to student concerns about the tragedy at Virginia Tech.
Suggestions for discussing a crisis in class are available at the Unabridged Student Counseling Virtual Pamphlet Collection.
A Campus Relief website created in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma by the American Council on Education (ACE) and the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) is a resource for institutions, students, faculty and staff to aid in the recovery from these natural disasters. The site is funded by TIAA-CREF and it is updated regularly.
Article: "In the Eye of the Storm: Students' Perceptions of Helpful Faculty Actions Following a Collective Tragedy" by Therese A. Huston & Michele DiPietro, To Improve the Academy, Volume 25, D. Robertson & L. Nilson (eds.), Bolton, MA: Anker.
Article: "The Day After: Faculty Behavior in Post-September 11, 2001, Classes" by Michele DiPietro, To Improve the Academy, Volume 21, C. Wehlburg & S. Chadwick-Blossey (Eds.), Bolton, MA: Anker.
University of Michigan's Center for Research on Learning & Teaching's guidelines for difficult discussions.
The TLT Group's compilation of pertinent resources. (If you have something you'd like to add, please send it to Sally Gilbert (firstname.lastname@example.org or phone: 301-270-8312).