360-Degree Risk Management, Part III

May 12, 2011

Lori Miller Ed.D., JD
Professor, Sport & Recreation Law
Wichita State University

Similar to the annual calendar schedule maintained by the registrar (e.g., semester holidays, begin/end of each semester, last day to withdraw from classes), campus recreation directors can prevent delayed risk management system updates by similarly constructing a 12-month calendar that details for each month of the year the various risk management tasks, staff assigned with primary task responsibility, and respective task timeline. Identifying, for example, two primary risk management tasks per month can add uniformity, consistency, and efficiency to the overall success of the department’s 360-degree risk management system. The 18 items below illustrate only a brief sample of 360-degree risk management calendar inclusions for consideration. And, as noted above, the completed 360-degree risk management system calendar also would include the person(s) (title or role versus person’s name) assigned primarily responsible for task completion, as well as the corresponding timeline (e.g., anticipated time for task completion or month/day/time of identified trainings).

  1. Review existing risk management committee or identify prospective risk management committee members to serve on the upcoming AY risk management committee. A recommended number of committee members is between 8-12 risk individuals who each are able to bring insights based on their own area(s) of expertise and who frequently participate in or use the campus recreation program and service offerings, e.g., disabled facility user, student , fire fighter, a police officer, an insurance agent, a faculty member with risk management expertise, and staff with a keen interest and trained in risk management practices, representation.
  2. Conduct a campus recreation department budget analysis and comparison with prior fiscal year numbers.
  3. Decide needed budget allocation adjustments (if any) for upcoming academic year after studying university/college and campus recreation department goals (both short- and long- term).
  4. Survey faculty, staff, and students for feedback regarding their interest in various recreational programming, activities, services, etc. Modify program offerings and services as best possible to complement received survey feedback.
  5. Ensure all staff and student workers have received appropriate policies and procedures, have read the distributed documents, had a chance to ask questions, have had their questions answered, and agrees to abide by all respective policies and procedures. Further, retain a signed statement (form memo with signature line) with language affirming the above assertion.
  6. Seek input from all staff regarding desired professional development opportunities (both on campus and off campus) and compare received input with budget and resource availability. Based on staff input, combined with your own thoughts and consideration, plan (even if tentatively) and schedule (where appropriate) the upcoming AY risk management professional development trainings and professional development opportunities.
  7. Provide appropriate training for all new and returning intramural team leaders and referees and require all team leaders to sign a statement similar to the above agreement provided to staff and student workers.
  8. Seek feedback from all campus recreation graduate assistants via survey with questions regarding their observed campus recreation department strengths and areas of needed improvement (e.g., management, training, supervision, customer service, etc.).
  9. Secure and retain updated resume from each staff member being evaluated. Use the submitted resumes, along with any other data (e.g., participant complaints) to complete written staff evaluations and schedule follow up meetings to discuss evaluations, goals (past and upcoming years), any needed or requested job description modifications, etc.
  10. If not already done, ask your immediate supervisor to create (with your input) and distribute an annual evaluation to staff regarding your own director-related strengths and areas of needed improvement; consider received feedback and adjust actions and behavior if needed and appropriate.
  11. Conduct a thorough inventory analysis and decide which equipment needs repairs, whether old equipment should be discarded to prevent foreseeable user injury, what equipment appears to be lost or unaccounted for, and the needed improvements in the equipment management and inventory processes.
  12. Survey faculty, staff, and students for feedback regarding their interest in various recreational programming, activities, services, etc. Use feedback to guide the next academic year’s program offerings and services.
  13. Review campus recreation user data to identify those activities, programs, and services that generated the most interest, as well as the time of day that reflects the most traffic in/out of the campus recreation buildings, facilities, and surrounding recreation fields. Use feedback to guide the next academic year’s program offerings and services as well as plan for when and where staff, student workers, and volunteers are most needed.
  14. Survey the campus recreation graduate assistants for input regarding their observed campus recreation department strengths and areas of needed improvement (e.g., perceived effectiveness of management, training, supervision, customer service).
  15. Review all accident injury reports (e.g., the when, where, why, how, and who) and identify any recurring trends or reasons regarding the injury occurrences and what actions (if any) could be done to reduce the future likelihood of recurring injuries.
  16. Review and/or create policy manuals, operational handbooks, staff evaluation instruments, and other written organizational documents; ensure handbooks and written documents complement existing university or college policy; and depending on the significance of needed updates and/or re-writes, identify a timeline for completion of updates and delegate assignments where appropriate to respective program coordinators or supervisors.
  17. Engage staff in an audit of facility and recreational fields with a specific focus on posted signage (including signage in locker rooms, aquatic areas, outdoor fields, adjacent to bicycle racks, etc.). Ask staff to identify where they think signs need to be relocated, new signs created for posting, etc. Discuss as the risk management agenda item topic at an upcoming meeting, listen to rationale provided, and follow through based on information shared.
  18. Analyze on a weekly basis the “concern” or “complaint” cards submitted by campus recreation constituents and categorize received information according to facility or program (e.g., aquatics, intramurals), concern (e.g., activity offered, time of offering, supervision, equipment), share with respective staff and brainstorm ways to best alleviate submitted concern and improve overall campus recreation offering(s), implement chosen decision, and communicate with person(s) submitting concern the decided plan of action. Maintain analyzed data and review on annually as well.

Participant demographics, recreational interests, quality of existing risk management systems, organizational structure of the respective university or college, and available resources all influence the short- and long-term 360-degree risk management design and modification, implementation, and evaluation processes. As a result, it is important to remember that while 360-degree risk management campus recreation calendars contain many similarities, they also possess unique, disparate inclusions and distinctions based on the specific campus recreation setting. Regardless of your own specific campus characteristics, the adoption and implementation of a 360-degree risk management system better ensures that the 360-degree risk management concept becomes a legitimate, sustainable reality. I encourage campus recreation directors to create, maintain, and evaluate regularly their own respective campus recreation 360-degree risk management system and assess whether they, too, can benefit from a risk management system that results in reduced campus recreation risks and losses (financial and non-financial); increased quality of current and future recreation offerings; and improved success with staff and participant recruitment and retention efforts.

In closing, a quote from the great recreation and entertainment wizard, Walt Disney, is apropos: “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing” (Anderson, p. 42).
Good luck with your own 360-degree risk management system!


Anderson, P. (2007). Great Quotes from Great Leaders, Simple Truths Publishing: Naperville, IL.

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