A strategic planning process for developing and sustaining safe, supportive learning environments relies on assessment, planning, implementation, and evaluation. Implementation puts into place strategies, activities, and programs aimed at supporting student success.
Implementation is central to a collaborative process to create and sustain a comprehensive, strategic, multicomponent, coordinated approach to preventing problems related to student alcohol and other drug use and violence and supporting positive student outcomes in a safe, supportive learning environment. That process is described by the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) as a Strategic Planning Framework. Implementation focuses on carrying out the various components of the prevention plan, as well as identifying and overcoming any potential barriers. During program implementation, organizations detail the evidence-based policies and practices that need to be undertaken, develop specific timelines, and decide on ongoing program evaluation needs.
Emerging research literature on violence and drug abuse prevention among college students, as well as on issues such as civic engagement and retention, has led to great advances in the field of college alcohol prevention science. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) report on college drinking and its subsequent update delineated scientifically supported interventions that have been tested in college settings (Tier 1 interventions) or in community settings (Tier 2 interventions).
Several literature reviews summarize recent research on sexual violence prevention programs. In general, the college-specific literature is relatively sparse, and so it will be essential to consult studies on community-based programs with similar goals. Many of the studied approaches may be transferable to campus settings.
Limited resources require colleges and universities to ensure that the programs, strategies, and policies that they implement to reduce problems related to alcohol and other drug use and support positive student outcomes have a multifaceted approach that targets known risk factors and are based on evidence. Implementation of effective environmental strategies is based on strong presidential leadership: a campuswide task force that includes a broad spectrum of faculty, staff, and students; engagement with the community through a campus and community coalition; and the active participation of college officials in public policy debates, especially at the state level.