Identifying Readiness Level
After selecting the appropriate evidence-based prevention strategies and tactics to employ, the prevention team should determine the campus’s readiness to implement them. The level of readiness is the stage of both willingness and ability to execute strategies to create change in campus and community life. The readiness level varies depending on the availability of resources, commitment of leadership, and community and campus knowledge of the problem.
Identifying the readiness level for solving a particular problem indicates which activities should be employed at what time, and is an integral step in assuring the viability and efficacy of a prevention program. Using strategies and tactics adapted from the Tri-Ethnic Center’s work, campuses and communities can work together to implement change. For instance, if readiness is low, then the prevention team or coalition may design activities to create awareness of the problem, motivate change, and identify possible prevention efforts. If readiness is high, then the group can proceed quickly to implementation of activities and stabilization of the program within the campus and community environment.
Following the lead of the Tri-Ethnic Center, It is helpful to conceive of readiness level on a spectrum of nine levels. The following is an outline of the nine levels, along with goals designed to move the group forward.
- No Awareness Goal: Raise awareness of the issue.
- Denial Goal: Raise awareness that the issue is a problem that can be successfully addressed.
- Vague Awareness Goal: Increase motivation to take action to combat the problem.
- Preplanning Goal: Detail possible efforts or actions to combat the problem.
- Preparation Goal: Create an action plan and commit to moving forward.
- Initiation Goal: Implement an action plan item.
- Stabilization Goal: Make the program an expected and accepted part of the community’s activities.
- Confirmation/Expansion Goal: Expand and enhance the prevention program.
- Professionalization Goal: Use community resources to improve prevention efforts, maintain momentum, and ensure growth.
The level of readiness can vary among different groups with the campus and community environment. For example, while prevention program staff may be at a high level of readiness, the campus administration or local community may be at much lower levels.
Additionally, different campus and local communities may be at different stages of readiness for dealing with a specific problem. For instance, when the age 21 drinking law was established nationwide, states with a high level of readiness implemented it immediately, whereas others with a lower level of readiness implemented it over time.
Because each community has a unique environment, determining the readiness stage helps the prevention team or coalition select the most appropriate activities to create change and allocate resources within their particular environment.