New position for student safety, risk management

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Jane Johnson, coordinator of college risk management, is the first person to have that title of all five Alamo colleges. Her previous job was disaster program manager with American Red Cross. Photo by Aly Miranda

Director says the main idea is student success.

By Michelle Delgado

mdelgado200@student.alamo.edu

This semester, a new occupation has appeared at this college.

Janae Johnson is one of the first ever coordinators of risk management at this college.

This is the first time any of the colleges has had this position, though it is a longtime position at district.

“My job is to think of worst possible scenarios and how we can avoid them,” Johnson said.

Her previous job was working with the American Red Cross doing disaster cycle services.

Disaster cycle services can involve showing up when someone’s house is on fire, in a reflective vest, to discuss the best way to recover from the incident, she said.

Johnson has a Bachelor of Arts in human relations and a master’s degree in public administration with concentrations in higher education administration and emergency management.

During her younger years, she was always the kid who came prepared, she said.

“I was always that person who carried Band-Aids and Neosporin so it was sort of like a sort of natural decision career-wise,” she said.

While attending undergraduate courses in Oklahoma where tornados are frequent occurrences, she would always think about the “what if” factor.

“It really ended up organically happening as a career path; it’s something that I really enjoy,” she said.

Her job is to worry about the worst-case scenarios and how to prevent them, Johnson said.

“You guys have enough to worry about with school,” she said referring to students at this college. “If you’re going to be scared on campus, it should be because you didn’t study like you knew you should. That should be the only reason you’re scared.”

Another factor the job focuses on is access to evacuation options for mobility-impaired students, faculty and staff in the event of an emergency.

Johnson is also a part of a building action team.

This team is made up of faculty and staff who take the lead during drills to prepare for an emergency.

“They’re basically my eyes and ears,” she said of the teams who may report a problem to her regarding evacuation during drills.

Making sure that the campus and parking lots have enough lighting for evening classes is another consideration of Johnson’s, she said.

Another is being aware of the different statutes such as the Jeanne Clery Act.

The act is a federal law that requires colleges to report crimes, safety policies and sexual violence that occur on campus.

“I was really excited when SAC created this position because it’s exactly in mind,” Johnson said. “I really enjoy working in higher education with students.”

Before Johnson’s position, there were only two people from district who handled emergency management throughout the five colleges.

“We’re a huge organization,” Mike Legg, director of enterprise risk management, said.

The two-person job was overwhelming for all five colleges, he said. This college has about 1,200 employees and 20,000-25,000 students at any given point, Legg said.

This new position will “give the college a little bit more ownership for the safety process and the emergency process so they can get engaged in that to some degree as well,” he said.

The consideration for this position has been since 2012. “We’ve been fighting for quite some time to get individuals dedicated to risk, safety and emergency management at the colleges that were dedicated to that process,” he said.

This college and Northwest Vista are two out of the five colleges that currently have someone in this position.

Northeast Lakeview is in the process of hiring for the position, Legg said.

The main focus is student success, he said.

“That’s our main objective, and in order for us to truly drive student success, one of the main components for that is to make sure we have a safe environment for those students to occupy and our employees to occupy, doing their jobs to help those students succeed,” Legg said.

For more information, call Johnson at 210-486-0902.

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