If a fire broke out in your building, would you know what to do? Chances are if the acronym RACE (Rescue, Alert, Contain and Extinguish) pops in your head, it is because you have taken UNM’s annual on-line training. 

Since the University began the three annual training courses of Preventing Sexual Harassment, Basic Annual Safety Training and Ethics: A Framework for Ethical Decision Making in 2010, participation by staff and faculty has steadily increased.

For staff, the required training is linked to the yearly performance review process, which serves as a reminder to complete the three courses by the end of the calendar year.  From 2012 to 2013, staff compliance increased to 96 percent. The courses are administered through Employee Organizational Development, a division of UNM’s Human Resources Department. Jewel Washington, interim vice president for HR, says the online training is key to keeping employees updated on issues that impact the workplace.

“The University must promote a culture that encourages employees to be ethical and respectful while engaging in safe practices,” said Washington. “The three required trainings help support that culture, in that they provide employees with guidance on what the University expects from its employees. Ultimately, this not only helps the employee but the University as a whole.”

Faculty uses a different method of performance evaluation that is not directly tied to the annual training. Still this past year, participation by faculty members was up 17 percent over the previous year. Carol Parker, interim sr. vice provost, says the jump indicates that faculty are increasing their utilization of online training which UNM is actively promoting as an effective learning tool. 

“It also reflects growing awareness among our faculty of the importance of learning about and understanding these significant campus issues,“ Parker said. “In providing these training tools, the University better supports our faculty in the role of offering appropriate guidance to our students about ethics, safety, sexual harassment and violence again women.”

This type of training could become even more critical as universities work to comply with new recommendations stemming from a Presidential task force on ways to reduce sexual assault on college campuses. A White House memorandum released this month gives the task force 90 days to provide President Obama with proposals and recommendations regarding effective policies, prevention and response efforts, improved federal enforcement transparency, and better coordination of agencies such as Education, Justice and Health and Human Services, all of which can play roles in campus assault investigations.

Within a year, the memo says, and annually after that, the task force will report to President Obama on implementation efforts. Parker says UNM’s Office of Academic Affairs will continue to support faculty in having access to these types of training initiatives to raise awareness within the University community about these serious concerns.