2011 TC Pressroom
Teachers College, Columbia University
Teachers College Columbia University

TC Media Center from the Office of External Affairs

Section Navigation

TC Puts Together Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity Plan

Images

TC Risk Manager Donna Shaw

TC Risk Manager Donna Shaw

If a sudden disaster were to occur, from another terrorist attack to a burst pipe causing a flood, how would Teachers College fare in keeping the business of the College running? That is what the Teachers College Trustees and outside auditors want to know.

Each department in the College is in the process of evaluating its function and primary needs to conduct business so that the Business Continuity Management Team can put together a concrete plan for keeping the institution functioning in the face of adversity.

"Departments are filling out Business Impact questionnaires, and we distributed departmental planning checklists to assist them in writing departmental plans. The departmental plans will be incorporated into one large plan for the whole college," said Donna Shaw, Risk Manager at TC who is the project manager of the planning process.

The checklist came from a book recommended by the United Educators University Risk Management Insurance Association and the National Association of College and University Business Officers, according to Shaw. That book, called Disaster Plan: Business Continuation Plan, was written by John Watson, the Director of Risk Management at Pepperdine University, and Douglas Henderson of Disaster Management, Inc. Pepperdine University has had its share of business continuity challenges, including the Northridge earthquake, Los Angeles riots, and a fire that destroyed most of their off-campus instructional space.

Included in the checklist and questionnaire are topics such as how departments back up their electronic data, their ability to be in touch with members of the department, key functions they serve and resources they need to complete those functions.

"We want individual plan drafts in by February," Shaw said. "Then, the team will meet in March." Before the team meets, Shaw wants to have any revisions completed by the departments.

When the team meets, Shaw said, each member of the team will read all the plans and comment on them, making suggestions for any necessary changes. "Unless major revisions need to be made, the team will incorporate individual plans into a larger plan for the entire College," she said.

The final plan is expected to be in place by the summer, according to Shaw, and she hopes that everyone will work at getting their individual plans compiled so that can be a reality.previous page