Book Reviews

Book by Eugene L. Zdziarski, II, Norbert W. Dunkel, & J. Michael Rollo, and Associates
Review by: Hilton Hallock
Director, Executive Doctorate in Higher Education Management
University of Pennsylvania


Academic administrators and advisors find themselves on the frontlines of campus crisis management with increasing frequency and responsibility. How do we identify and support students who are potentially dangerous to themselves or others? How do we advise students displaced by a natural disaster? Are our records systems secure and accessible in the event of a major fire on campus? For the many different campuses and communities in higher education, there can never be one single formula for preventing and recovering from a crisis. To help us prepare effectively, Campus Crisis Management seeks to provide both a framework for assessment and concrete strategies for action that can be deployed in diverse crisis situations.

The construction of a typology of events which can guide planning, training, and response is a significant contribution of Campus Crisis Management. This matrix encompasses the level of crisis (critical incidents such as a death or facility fire; campus emergencies; disasters which have an impact beyond the campus itself), the types of crises (environmental; facility/technology; human) and the intentionality of the event (intentional; unintentional). Developed through an extensive review of literature and actual events, this typology is described in Part I, “Understanding Crisis Management,” and it serves as a logical and coherent framework for the analyses presented by each contributing author. Part II addresses “Crisis Management in Practice,” including topics such as the components of response and recovery plans, state-of-the-art communications strategies, working with external agencies, and training activities. In Part III, experienced administrators from across the country share their “Lessons from Crisis Management.” The case studies presented in this section and in Part IV, “Maintaining a Crisis Management Focus,” highlight human needs as well as organizational issues, and should serve as useful starting points for planning and staff development.

The primary audience for this work is administrative staff charged with comprehensive campus-wide or division-wide crisis management. The strategies discussed in the book are applicable and scalable to a variety of campus settings, including units that provide academic advising and other student services. Although the authors acknowledge the contributions and needs of advisors during a crisis, there is little attention to the crisis-management activities of individual advisors. The chapter on “Psychological First Aid in the Aftermath of a Crisis” is most relevant to the concerns of academic advisors; the author discusses different phases and levels of intervention and clearly advises that responders have appropriate training and competencies for such work. In addition to the case studies and the chapters that review current issues in campus crisis management, this chapter would be a useful resource for advisor training.

Preparation for and response to critical incidents and community disasters can be overwhelming tasks; the scenarios that may occur at colleges and universities are limitless. This work tells us where to start and how to improve. It organizes a tremendous amount of practical information and is indeed a comprehensive resource for crisis planning, prevention, response and recovery. However, the authors of Campus Crisis Management also keep readers focused on the human elements and personal costs of these tragedies and urge campuses to respond with an “ethic of care.” This sense of perspective connects the book to the ongoing work of academic advisors.


Campus Crisis Management. (2007). Book by Eugene L. Zdziarski, II, Norbert W. Dunkel, & J. Michael Rollo, and Associates. Review by: Hilton Hallock. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 384 pp. $45.00 (hardback). ISBN # 978-0-7879-7874-7
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