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View From The President's Office: The Leadership Of Change

Future Research Directions

"Without information on what strategies are effective with which groups, we're taking a.22 rifle shot approach to delivering messages," President Arcienega believes. "The real challenge for us is that nobody knows what works," adds President Pierce. "It is hard to mobilize people's time and energy for selecting and implementing programs of uncertain efficacy."

All those interviewed agreed that more research and information sharing was essential to reducing alcohol problems on their own campuses. What types of information would be most helpful? As alcohol researchers and government officials consider future research priorities, presidents and administrators identified the following questions as information gaps that affect their efforts.

  • Which university policies are most effective in creating an environment that discourages student alcohol abuse?

  • What strategies are most effective in working with local governments?

  • How can the results of alcohol research be effectively disseminated to community audiences, such as chiefs of police?

  • What are today's "best practices" for different types of institutions?

  • How much confidence can we have in the strategies of increasing the number of non-alcohol focused events and educationally engaging new students in alcohol issues? What events most appeal to students?

  • What is the relative effectiveness of different accountability structures for managing alcohol programs?

  • What is known about the differences and/or relationship between on- and off-campus drinking and the effects of alcohol-free campus policies on each?

  • What is today's state of the art in addressing the youth alcohol culture on campuses around the country? Who and what types of media most effectively influence students to be responsible (e.g., campus administrators, their peers, celebrities, billboard campaigns)?

  • How can colleges address the students who arrive with problem drinking behaviors formed in high school? How can higher education and secondary education work together?

  • What interventions are effective in working with athletes? Alumni who drink heavily at university events?

  • What is most effective for harm reduction: to prohibit drinking, promote responsible drinking, or enforce underage drinking laws?

  • Does parental notification have more positive effects than negative?

  • What strategies are effective in increasing the support and involvement of faculty and administrators?

  • What are the legal responsibilities of institutions today regarding alcohol-related issues such as the duty to protect the community from inappropriate student drinking?

  • Does the public support efforts to reduce high-risk drinking among college students? If so, how can we best use public opinion research to gain support from local leaders and State legislators (re: alcohol industry issues)?

  • Which types of community ordinances are effective in reducing college drinking problems?

  • Does keg registration work?

  • What situations motivate students to drink when they come to college?

  • What strategies are effective in helping incoming students decide not to get involved in underage drinking?

  • How can the support of national organizations be harnessed to enable college and community efforts to receive public support and not be viewed as outliers?

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Last reviewed: 9/23/2005

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