Proven Solutions for Safer Schools and Workplaces

Higher Education Risk Management
Certification Institute (HERM-CI)

Course Description
Who Should Attend
Sample Agenda


The Higher Education Risk Management Certification Institute (HERM-CI) is an intensive two-day immersion in The NCHERM Way.  We'll teach you how to do what we do, and how to bring our proven techniques of holistic risk management home to your campus. TNG hosts two regional HERM-CI events each year, in which you can receive certification in the effective risk management practices that have made us the leader in the field. With issue after issue, TNG has had risk management structures in place well before those issues were top-of-mind for higher education. Our farsightedness isn't luck, and we've designed this two-day certification curriculum specifically to prepare you for the legal environment of today, but more importantly, for the challenges of tomorrow.

Our expert faculty is comprised of the top practitioners in the field, and our curriculum is deeper than other law and policy conferences because of our intensive institute format. HERM-CI is more than just professional development — it is designed to build professional expertise around critical competencies. Your HERM-CI certification, like other certifications TNG offers, is a valuable credential that is sought by employers and respected in the courtroom. TNG and its associations have certified more than 8,000 higher education professionals in the last five years.

Attending a HERM-CI is an investment that pays tangible dividends by helping to keep your campus out of the headlines, off the OCR docket, out of the courtroom and on the good sides of your President and Board of Trustees. Our goal is to keep you focused on bringing excellence to your professional role without the time-consuming and costly distractions experienced by those who don't prioritize risk management in their daily administrative practice. The onslaught of litigation we've experienced over the last couple of years in higher education isn't an inevitability. We don't accept that it's the new normal. We can turn it around. We can show you how.


This course is designed for the following:

  • Risk Management personnel
  • Prevention specialists
  • Title IX Coordinators
  • Investigators
  • Human Resources Chief Officer and personnel
  • Student Conduct personnel
  • Student Affairs administrators
  • General Counsel and outside attorneys


There are no prerequisites to attend this training.


Day One

Session 1
9:00 am to 1:00 pm — Case Law Review

2015-2016 has been one of the most litigious time periods in the history of higher education, with lawsuits spanning every topic from due process to free speech to tenure, negligence and sexual misconduct. This four-hour session digests the most significant cases for attendees, to identify trends and help us to understand the trajectory of future potential litigation so that we can make our best efforts at keeping our campuses out of the headlines and the courtrooms.

Session 2A
2:00 pm to 4:00 pm — Two-hour optional breakout on Case Law Review

6-8 cases reviewed in the morning will be highlighted in this breakout, not for their facts, but for in-depth discussion of their take-aways, and what practices attendees can implement or avoid, to incorporate the message of the courts into their campus risk management programs.

Session 2B
2:00 pm to 4:00 pm — Managing Investigations

While much time and attention is paid on college campuses to performing investigations, very few trainings hit the nuts and bolts of investigation management, and the best practices that those managing investigations need to bring to this task. The presenters in this session have managed complex investigations involving sexual misconduct, hazing and discrimination. Their practical advice, including do's and don'ts, will make the take-aways for this topic incredibly valuable to participants, including:

  • Strategizing the game plan
  • Timeline compliance
  • Involving general counsel
  • Managing the communication protocol
  • Avoiding micromanagement
  • Complex case techniques

Session 3
4:15 to 5:30 pm — Roundtables, facilitated by Faculty

  • Negligence
  • First Amendment
  • Intersection: Title IX & FERPA
  • Hazing & Investigations

Day Two

Session 4A
9 am to noon — Hot Topics in Title IX

This session, offered by the nation's foremost Title IX experts, will address a series of top issues within Title IX that administrators need to have on their radar screens, including new information from OCR.

  • Mandated Reporters and Confidential Resources
  • The Title VI, Section 504 and VAWA Coordinator role
  • The courts and the investigator model
  • Notification of outcomes
  • How to survive high profile cases
  • Implementing climate survey data — the three-year action plan
  • Ethics issues for Title IX administrators
  • Conflict-of-interest issues for Title IX administrators
  • How respondent lawsuits are shaping campus proceedings
  • The impact on Court's interpretation of deliberate indifference standard on case outcomes

Session 4B
9:00 am to noon — Due Process and Student Conduct

This session takes a deep dive into student conduct practices from the risk management perspective. How do we craft and implement student discipline while minimizing the risk of collateral attack on our decisions in the courts?  The expert presenters will frame key questions as well as engage discussion with the audience on topics such as:

  • Should sexual misconduct reside within student conduct or external to it?
  • Training regimens and proof of training in litigation;
  • How should we be looking at interim suspension in sexual misconduct and organization misconduct cases? What are the acceptable bases for interim actions today?
  • Avoiding the Temporary Restraining Order;
  • How to manage the appeals runaway train;
  • Hearing, an option or a right?
  • How do we incorporate investigation functions into student conduct cases that don't involve sexual misconduct?
  • How can we use the code to decrease the bystander effect?
  • Vague words in the code — what is litigated and how can we better protect and defend?
  • Defensible sanctioning practice;
  • The mission-centered code as risk management;
  • Flexible practice and multi-model resolution frameworks.

Session 5A
1:00 pm to 2:30 pm — Sanctuary, Immigration, and Undocumented Students

Now, more than ever, colleges need clarity on student status and the legalities around visa, travel by foreign students, returning to the US from travel abroad, and the delicate issues around sanctuary, visas, green cards, and deportation. This session will feature an in-depth discussion of the concept of sanctuary, and whether we should even call it that. The conversation will focus around the philosophical positions on sanctuary, and some of the practical legal implications, including when ICE comes to campus, working with federal marshals or refusing to assist, the FERPA implications, how to be a sanctuary campus in a sanctuary city, and what it means to be a sanctuary campus in a municipality that is not a sanctuary. Finally, we will focus on the federal funding aspects of sanctuary decision, and what campus leaders need to consider in weighing any decision to defy the federal government.

Session 5B
1:00 pm to 2:30 pm — Protests and Student Activism

The last of the Millennials to make their way through college are social justice activists. They want to leave their mark, and aren't bashful about making demands, occupying buildings and harnessing social media to effect social change. Bringing down a dean or a president is symbolic, and they are as interested in symbolic change as in actual change. The issues important to them are inclusion, diversity, race, sexual violence, sexual harassment, climate, inequality, historical reckoning, and more. Administrators can't be tone deaf today, or you'll soon have their treadmarks on your back. This session will examine topics including student lists of demands, the faculty/staff role in encouraging student protests, and protest management itself. Special attention will be paid to managing the media cycle and ways to invite conversation about organizational change that can either provoke a crisis or defuse the potential for traumatic confrontation.

Session 6
3:00 pm to 4:30 pm — Closing Q&A Panel with All Faculty

This wrap-up session will start with five minute summary statements from each faculty member, discussing the key take-aways that participants should bring back to their campuses. Then, the certification institute will close with Q&A with participants and discussion by the faculty panel of future horizons and areas to watch in the future.