This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

An Exploratory Study: Higher Education’s Response to a Death Among Community Members




Devore, Lisa

Type of Degree



Counseling Psychology


The purpose of the current study was to conduct an exploratory assessment of how colleges and universities address a death among their community including existing practices, programs and training efforts. The Campus Death Response Questionnaire was developed and administered to obtain data on campuses' death response programs. In addition to demographic data, the Questionnaire was designed to identify campuses' recent experiences with death responses, the presence and make-up of a death response team, as well as data regarding the training of such a team. The study also examined in detail campuses' specific responses to a death in the campus community that was particularly noteworthy or "outstanding" in some kind of way. Also, the study sought to identify the original impetus for the development of a death notification and response program Presented were the qualitative data related to how campuses responded to a recent death; the results of universities’ current training program(s); and the quantitative results, which consisted of an independent sample T-test for each hypothesis. Lastly, a campus death response program, specifically a student death response protocol, was created based on the results of the exploratory study.