Safety, Emergency Planning and Leadership

AACC recognizes the importance of creating a safe campus environment. Pandemics, Acts of God, violence, and other critical events may happen on campus, and colleges must understand how to operate before, during, and after the event. Colleges can take steps to develop the leadership, infrastructure, and training needed to ensure a high level of safety for the institution and the surrounding communities. Further, they can serve as models and help provide workers to assist with community preparedness and response. The association has created the Award of Excellence in College Safety, Emergency Planning, and Leadership to recognize exemplary practices and innovation in campus safety and emergency response strategies, programs, and procedures.

Criteria used to evaluate applications are as follows:

  • College leadership has demonstrated commitment to developing training programs and developing leaders capable of handling issues that can potentially impact the institution, its students, and employees.
  • The college has a plan for addressing critical issues that may impact safety as part of its ongoing programs and operations.
  • The college has adopted policies and processes to ensure the security of its sensitive data, including student data.
  • The college has integrated and regularly evaluates appropriate and safe use of equipment and materials in operations and programs to ensure that faculty and students operate in a safe environment.
  • The college provides information to students and faculty about responses to various situations that can potentially impact the institution.
  • The college has incorporated related training and associated industry-recognized credentials related to safety, preparedness, and response occupations into college operations and program delivery.
  • The college has instituted specific programs and services to increase employee safety awareness and response.
  • Colleges that have previously won the award are eligible to apply five years after winning.


  • Award finalists in a previous year can apply in the same category for the subsequent year. However, the finalist must submit an enhanced application. Enhanced means that the applicant must show further improvement in student success outcomes.

General Guidelines and Nomination Instructions:

  • Nominee must be a current AACC member college and pay next year's membership fee.
  • The CEO of the nominating institution must sign the nomination form.
  • Each award is given annually, and the honoree(s) will be recognized at AACC Annual.
  • Nominating packages (including required photos) must submitted through the nomination form AND include the following:
    • Nomination form.
    • Minimum two letters of support on official letterhead, one signed by the nominating college CEO.
    • Additional support materials (i.e., news coverage, fact sheet, descriptions) NOT TO exceed five (5) pages. Please redact all names, institution names, and other identifiers before uploading this material.
    • Five publication-quality photos (NO PDFs): (1) publication-quality headshot of the CEO [300 dpi resolution or higher], (1) publication-quality photos of the college (signature buildings, and (3) photos of safety drills or tabletop exercises on the campus.
Submit your college's application using the nomination form provided above.

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