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Harvard Graduate School of Education

Crisis Leadership in Higher Education

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Explore the strategic and operational issues for your campus to better prepare for, respond to, and recover from crises.


From on-campus violence to controversial actions by faculty, it’s impossible to control when and whether a crisis will happen, but college leaders can control the way a campus reacts. The quality of that response can have a lasting impact on a campus community, culture, and reputation.

Drawing on the combined expertise of the Harvard Kennedy School in crisis management and the Harvard Graduate School of Education in higher education, this unique program prepares college administrators to respond to crises effectively, develop protocols and practices that minimize the potential for future occurrences, and inspire confidence in the long-term safety, security, and success of their institutions.

Program Details

This four-day intensive training provides a powerful opportunity for you to learn from experts in both crisis management and higher education management. You will return to your institution with the skills and protocols you need to handle any situation.


  • Learn to diagnose and understand an event, recognizing distinctions among different types of crises
  • Explore the role of training and practice exercises in preparing your campus
  • Learn how to manage policy and operational concerns that arise in a crisis
  • Determine how you will ensure appropriate accountability, during and after crisis events
  • Learn to manage the transition from immediate response to long-term recovery

Who should attend

  • College and university presidents and chancellors, provosts, vice presidents, deans, and other senior-level administrators with responsibility for crisis planning, communication, and external relations
  • Administrators responsible for developing and implementing the campus crisis management plan including; chief administrative services officers, heads of institutional communication, and directors of campus safety and security


James P. Honan is Senior Lecturer at the Graduate School of Education. Honan’s teaching and research interests include financial management of nonprofit organizations, organizational performance measurement and management, and higher-education administration. At Harvard, he is Educational Cochair...
Herman B. ("Dutch") Leonard is Eliot I. Snider and Family Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School and the George F. Baker, Jr. Professor of Public Sector Management at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. In addition, he serves as co-chair of the ...
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