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Public Policy and Administration


Kirk Williams


Continuity of operations planning for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) is critical for institution sustainability. The absence of such planning can result in an HBCU closing for an extended period of time after a disaster resulting in loss of revenue, research projects, students, faculty, and staff. There is a void of information on the extent of continuity of operations planning at HBCUs and how these institutions would continue functioning after a disaster. Using resilience theory as the foundation, the purpose of this qualitative case study was to explore the extent of continuity of operations planning at HBCUs in Alabama in the event of a disaster and explore opportunities to strengthen continuity planning for the future. Four HBCUs were chosen in the State of Alabama for this research. Data were collected through interviews with 5 individuals with information on continuity of operations planning at the universities selected. These data were inductively coded and subjected to thematic analysis. The results of this study indicate comprehensive continuity of operations planning is not taking place, and planners at these institutions perceive they do not have the guidance needed for effective planning and the time to conduct planning activities. It is recommended the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) develop a guideline for continuity of operations planning applicable to higher education. It is further recommended that HBCU leadership insure planners have adequate time and resources to devote to continuity of operations planning. This study fosters positive social change by bringing an awareness to FEMA and HBCU leadership of the need and importance of continuity of operations planning for institutional sustainability.

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