Date of Award

Summer 7-17-2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

EdD Education Leadership, Management and Policy


Education Leadership, Management and Policy


Martin Finkelstein, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Rong Chen, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Wendiann Sethi, Ph.D.


behavioral indicators, warning signs, risk factors, active shooter, intructional processes


The research in this study was conducted to explore proactive preventative measures to address the increasingly violent problem of active shooter scenarios for institutions of higher education within the State of New Jersey. Colleges and universities pose a unique threat when assessing risk factors, as these venues are open and, as a result, do not afford substantial protection against a violent assailant. The State of New Jersey has traditionally embraced a reactionary model of response, learning from past incidents and adjusting necessitated tactics accordingly. Active shooter training has become commonplace on college campuses in the State of New Jersey, and each institution is mandated by the state attorney general’s office to have a response policy specific to their venue. The law enforcement community, in conjunction with higher education administrations, have effectively organized comprehensive response protocols for an active shooter scenario. Unfortunately, current plans in a higher educational environment, are limited to reactive responses initiated after the initial act of aggression.

Current research has identified recognizable warning indicators and behaviors present in individuals that have conducted active shooting incidents in the past. This emerging research has the potential to guide a new proactive response methodology that is permeating the security mindset for college campuses. By identifying an individual that overtly manifests specific warning signs recognized by professionals from the study of past assailants, the possibility now exists for averting future incidents rather than simply reacting to them. By collating current research regarding warning behavior identification and using this information to create a contemporary higher education curriculum, individuals exposed to this material will essentially become force multipliers in the fight against future shootings.

Historically, violators of incidents of this nature emerge from the student population, suggesting that the peer group to which the attacker belongs are the community members most able to recognize these signs. Employing the framework developed by Stark and Lattuca (1997), the curriculum was carefully constructed with a focus on the undergraduate student population and designed for optimal learning by college students entering higher educational facilities in the State of New Jersey.