Disasters by Discipline 1 : necessary dialogue for emergency management education

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International Association of Emergency Managers

A Certified Emergency Manager© (CEM©) has the knowledge, skills and ability to effectively manage a comprehensive emergency management program.

A CEM© has a working knowledge of all the basic tenets of emergency management, including mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery.

A CEM© has experience and knowledge of interagency and community-wide participation in planning, coordination and management functions designed to improve emergency management capabilities.

A CEM© can effectively accomplish the goals and objectives of any emergency management program in all environments with little or no additional training orientation.

National Emergency Management Association:

NEMA is the professional association of and for state emergency management directors.  NEMA’s mission is to:

Provide national leadership and expertise in comprehensive emergency management.

Serve as a vital emergency management information and assistance resource.

Advance continuous improvement in emergency management through strategic partnerships, innovative programs, and collaborative policy positions.

The International Emergency Management Society:

TIEMS is dedicated to developing and bringing the benefits of modern Emergency Management (EM) tools and techniques to society for a safer world.

TIEMS was founded in 1993 as The International Emergency Management and Engineering Society, a non-profit organization for the purpose of bringing together users, planners, researchers, managers, response personnel and other interested parties to exchange information on the use of innovative methods and technologies to improve our ability to avoid, mitigate, respond to, and recover from natural and technological disasters.

This examination of definitions reveals a range of possible activities. However, if we look at the most commonly-occurring ideas and words, it is clear that common ground includes these definitional elements: the management of risk in order to protect life and property through a comprehensive effort that involves non-linear activities tied to mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery. Interestingly, not all definitions acknowledge an all-hazards approach.

Key Concepts and the Implicit Core Curriculum

Several authors clearly credit the National Governor’s Association (1979) with launching the key concepts of CEM/four phases. By looking at practice, it is equally transparent that FEMA, EM organizations, and state/local EMAs institutionalized the phases. The CEM core was first implemented academically at the University of North Texas (Neal 2000) with intent. The UNT faculty at the time chose to use CEM as a framework for presenting a general overview, opting to have employers provide specifics, “our discussions with alumni and advisory board members generally supported this concept” although Neal does refer to other possibilities as well (Neal 2000, p. 427; see also Neal 2003). Conceptualizing and defining terminology is important, a concern noted recently by Shaw and Harrald (2004) regarding terms for business continuity and crisis management courses and programs. Such conceptualizations are important to not only the academic but to the professional, with implications for personnel selection and position descriptions as two basic examples (Shaw and Harrald 2004). Concepts need to be clearly defined to facilitate communication, conduct research, and conduct effective practice.

The National Governor’s Association (1979) can again be credited with early definitions of these key concepts. Comprehensive emergency management was defined as (p. 11): “a state’s responsibility and capability for managing all types of emergencies and disasters by coordinating the actions of numerous agencies. The comprehensive aspect of CEM includes all four phases of disaster or emergency activity: mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery. It applies to all risks: attack, man-made, and natural, in a federal-state-local partnership.” Rather than define each individual phase, the NGA report described and identified activities related to the phase:

  • “Mitigation includes any activities that actually eliminate or reduce the probability of occurrence of a disaster.” (p. 11).

  • “Preparedness activities are necessary to the extent that mitigation measures have not, or cannot, prevent disasters.” (p. 11).

  • “Response activities follow an emergency or disaster. Generally, they are designed to provide emergency assistance for casualties…they also seek to reduce the probability of secondary damage.” (p. 11).

  • “Recovery activities continue until all systems return to normal or better….or improved levels.” (p. 12).

Let’s look at the main introductory-level textbooks currently in use to see what they offer as core chapters.
Table 4. Commonly-presented chapter topics from the main introductory texts currently in use.

Chapter Topic



Haddow and Bullock

















Integrated w Preparedness














Risks, hazards







Global sector












It is certainly my contention that a core curriculum exists for this field and that it has implicitly emerged without much debate within the educational community. The questions that remain include: should this be the core curriculum and/or should any new/revised curricula incorporate homeland security as an integral curricular component? And, if this is the core what problems might exist with this heuristic device. Neal, for example, describes how the phases blur, overlap and vary by context (Neal 1997). Which topics, readings, and cases go in which courses?

If at least the four phases are becoming institutionalized, is there agreement on their definitions? Table five (see end of paper) reveals how currently-used textbooks and FEMA materials approach these concepts. It is clear that the NGA report heavily influenced concepts, definitions, and examples of phase-specific activities. The question that remains is whether this 1970s effort meets the needs of degree-granting programs or the scholarship that necessarily must accompany such programs or the state of the EM field in general.
Finally, what are the implications of this core curriculum? Some initial observations suggest that:

  • The core is based on and oriented toward the public sector emergency manager.

  • The core is activity-based rather than conceptually, theoretically or methodologically oriented.

  • The core may reflect an Americanized view of emergency management, arising out of the National Governors’ Association Report.

Some potential actions that could be taken include:

  • A national, perhaps international, examination of curricula, coupled with a contextual analysis of which programs promote which core courses and for what purposes.

  • Curriculum infusion projects, a strategy used within women’s studies, could potentially disseminate new ideas, invigorate the core, and share information across programs. Women’s studies used this strategy in the 1970s, funded by the Ford Foundation.

  • National surveys of employers and emergency managers.

  • Questioning whether the generic core applies across all sectors.

History of Emergency Management

How we write history and who writes history matters. We can see this problem by examining women’s studies, which has challenged not only mainstream history but its own internally-generated accounts. In the 1970s, early feminist research centered on textbooks and children’s books, examining the messages that were being sent as well as what was included or excluded. I have followed this early step by examining the most commonly-used introductory-level EM texts. Before I begin, though, I want to acknowledge that each text was written for a different audience, during different contexts, and with limited historical resources. I have used each of these texts in classes and each offers value and worth to the educator and teacher. In reviewing their historical content, I draw collective rather than text-specific conclusions and certainly intend no disrespect to the authors. Rather, my point is to look at what we have done and where we might go.

To spark discussion, I examined four introductory-level resources and compared content from chapters/sections on history/evolution of emergency management. These sources included the ICMA “Green Book,” Waugh’s introductory text, Haddow and Bullock’s introductory text, and the FEMA Independent Study #1 Course “Emergency Manager.” An overview is provided in Table 6.
I would like to draw your attention to a couple of trends. First, if we look at the content included by three or more of these sources, we can identify some commonly-agreed upon historical moments6. A more in-depth analysis is prevented by the publication dates of the main texts, which ranged from 1991 to 2003. Two texts pre-dated September 11 and the Department of Homeland Security.

  • 1803 New Hampshire Congressional Act designated as the “first piece of national disaster legislation.”

  • 1950s designated as the days of civil defense.

  • 1960s Hurricanes Betsy, Camille and Agnes as key events that changed the field.

  • 1964 Alaskan earthquake.

  • 1977-78 National Governor’s Report/Project.

  • 1979 Carter reorganization; John Macy appointed to direct FEMA.

  • 1980s FEMA problems, misuse, scandals; Giuffrida mentioned by two.

Let’s be a little more generous and look at the persons, events and policies agreed upon by two or more sources, and add in the seven bullets from the first list:

  • 1803 New Hampshire Congressional Act designated as the “first piece of national disaster legislation.”

  • 1871 Great Chicago Fire.

  • 1933 New Deal/Reconstruction Finance Corporation.

  • 1934 Bureau of Public Roads.

  • 1936 Flood Control Act.

  • 1950s designated as the days of civil defense.

  • 1950 Federal Disaster Act.

  • 1960s Hurricanes Betsy, Camille and Agnes as key events that changed the field.

  • 1964 Alaskan earthquake.

  • 1969-70 Disaster Relief Act.

  • 1971 San Fernando Earthquake.

  • 1974 Disaster Relief Act.

  • 1977-78 National Governor’s Report/Project.

  • 1979 Carter reorganization; John Macy appointed to direct FEMA.

  • 1980s FEMA problems, misuse, scandals; Giuffrida mentioned by two.

  • 1989 Hurricane Hugo and Loma Prieta Earthquake.

  • The Stafford Act.

  • 1992 first World Trade Center Attack.

  • 1993 Clinton appoints James Lee Witt.

  • 1995 Oklahoma City Bombing.

  • 1995-96 Nunn-Lugar Legislation.

In addition, two or more sources included mention (in the history section) of:

  • Red Cross (minor mention in two sources).

  • Contributions of the behavioral sciences to the field (mentioned in two sources, extensive section in one).

  • IAEM/NEMA/TIEMS (mentioned in two sources).

How should we decide which events, players, and/or policies constitute EM history? What will we learn from these choices—or fail to learn from what is excluded? In drawing from women’s studies, I offer a number of observations and caveats:

    • Historical accounts must be questioned for their origins, accuracy and issues of representation.

    • Historical accounts should be subject to exacting research standards.

    • When are we going to write the history of emergency management education? Who will write it? Who/what will be included? What were/are the key turning points? Who/how will we make these decisions?

One of the more powerful, and most productive, critiques within women’s studies questioned who the “woman” was in women’s studies. Women’s studies had produced a history that reflected the most visible actors, resulting in an exclusionary bias within the history and subsequently the course content that was taught. Questioning who the “woman” was resulted in a more diverse, inclusive and fully representative depiction of the field.

In short, who writes history matters, because it tends to reflect their own experience, perspectives and politics. There are several questions we could ask at this point:

  • Who is the emergency manager? In the data seen so far, the emergency manager appears to be primarily a public sector actor. Yet, the EM field is far more diverse. One caveat drawn from women’s studies is that, especially in introductory texts, we should avoid monolithic representations.

  • Events, policies, presidents and a few individuals characterize the highlights of EM history. What more might we include, such as processes, the impact of organizations outside the public sector, programs, or major efforts (the First and Second Assessment, the FEMA Higher Education Project).

  • The existing historical context for emergency management is heavily U.S. based. Further global content is called for.

    • Further diversity, useful for role modeling and equity issues (not to mention leadership courses), would be beneficial. I offer this general caveat from women’s studies, through the words of historian Gerda Lerner (1997, p. 207):

      • “Women have lived in a world in which they apparently had no history and in which their share in the building of society and civilizations was constantly marginalized….whatever impact they were able to have on institutions…had to be made from the margins…it is by now quite obvious that this long history of marginalization decisively affected women’s self-perceptions, attitudes and group actions….women were also denied heroines and role models.”

Before launching a discussion over theories and methods, I note that accreditation agencies expect such inclusions, especially at the graduate level. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), for example, outlines these criteria for a graduate-level program:
*A master’s or a specialist degree must provide the following: an understanding of research and the manner in which research is conducted; an understanding of the subject matter, literature, theory and methodology of the discipline; an association with resident faculty sufficient to permit their individual evaluation of the candidate’s capabilities; and demonstrated means of certifying the knowledge and skills the candidate has acquired.
Theory also proves to be a challenging topic, namely because we do not have any EM-specific theories, paradigms, and perspectives. Until we generate our own (assuming we need to do so), we can pull from other disciplines. In order to assess the availability of theory for the classroom, I examined the texts we use in most of our graduate-level courses at Jacksonville State University.
Impact of the Second Assessment
In Disasters by Design, Mileti applied the perspective of sustainability as a force driving both understanding and practice and devoted a chapter to systems theory, nicely coupling physical, social and constructed systems as interacting components impacting the earth’s disasters. Such theoretical inclusions can be used in the classroom. For example, I have used systems theory to pose classroom questions for emergency management such as:

  • In what ways do these components interact to create vulnerability?

  • What is the impact of each system on the other?

  • Where are some points of intervention for the emergency manager?

In Facing the Unexpected, Tierney, Lindell and Perry (2001) presented several approaches to study disaster. They noted that functionalist theory has been implicitly used in disaster research and has influenced tools like the “demand-capability” model. Tierney et al. then added the Natural Hazards Perspective (“views hazard vulnerability as the product of the joint functioning of a natural events system and the human use system” p. 12) and identified emerging theoretical perspective used in research (but unexamined yet for their impact in the classroom):

  • Social constructionism: “argues against viewing disasters as objective physical phenomena….[but as] “social processes through which groups promote claims about disasters and their consequences” p. 17.

  • European critiques of modernity and industrial society: “sees the potential for disasters as immanent in the social order itself rather than originating outside it, and conceptualizes disasters as an inevitable and direct consequence of the social relations and practices that characterize modern society” p. 18.

  • Conflict-based and political-economy theories: “sees disasters and their impact as resulting from political-economic forces that simultaneously shape both the vulnerability of the built environment to disaster damage and the social vulnerability of exposed populations”(p. 20.

  • Political-ecological perspectives: “sees communities not as unitary systems but rather as consisting of loosely-coupled, heterogeneous ecological elements and networks…within these ecological groupings power and resources are not distributed equally” p. 21.

In American Hazardscapes, Susan Cutter and her colleagues noted several influential world views:

  • Hazards Paradigm: “society interacts with the physical environment and this interaction produces both beneficial and harmful effects” p. 5. They suggest several applications of the hazards paradigm, as impacted by systems theory:

    • Human adjustment to natural hazards model (citing Kates 1971).

    • Human adjustment to the risk of environmental extremes model (citing Mileti 1980).

  • Risk Paradigm: “has four primary elements: risk identification, dose-response assessment, exposure assessment and risk characterization…the ultimate goal of the risk assessment process was to identify remedial options that posed the least threat to human and ecosystem health” (p. 7).

Impact of the FEMA Higher Education Project
The FEMA Higher Education Project recently produced a course, among others, on vulnerability that contains some promising analytical tools. In that work, “A Social Vulnerability Approach to Disaster,” Elaine Enarson and her colleagues contrasted the Dominant and Vulnerability stances in what is probably the best application of perspectives for classroom content to date. Our field needs more such efforts and applications.
Additional resources
It would be worthwhile to explore further both disaster and non-disaster sources for classroom use. For example, Tierney Petak and Hahn (1988) presented three views on disability that can be applied disaster. These are:

  • The medical model. Views disability as an individual problem and stresses solutions arising from treatment of the single person.

  • The economic model. Sees disability as something that prevents the individual from participating fully economically through employment.

  • The socio-political model. Views the problem as lodged in social structural arrangements that, if modified, could result in improved status of persons with disabilities.

Enarson and Phillips (2004) produced a thorough application of feminist theories for both research and practice. In their work, applications of liberal, radical, post-modern, and ecofeminist theories (and more) produced new insights as to what may foster vulnerability and/or nurture capacity. Their efforts included implications for both research and practice, for example, the need for emergency managers to support shelters for battered women when disasters reduce funding and staff, or to address the needs of displaced, home-based workers due to flood events.

Finally, consider eco-systems model (Garbarino 1982). Four levels characterize the eco-system, each of which can be used to broaden the perspective of the student. For example, I used the eco-system model recently to look at the question of preparedness:

  • Micro-level : examines the interpersonal level; how can working relationships within a city government enhance the potential to prepare a community?

  • Meso-level: looks at settings that link micro level contexts; how might the emergency manager work within the school system to disseminate information on protective actions?

  • Exo-level: examines settings that have power such as policy; what are some policy changes that the emergency manager could support to enhance preparedness within facilities such as nursing homes and child care centers?

  • Macro-level: questions the influence of the broader social, cultural, political and economic contexts; in what ways does the political economy affect the emergency manager’s abilities to impact preparedness levels? In what ways does culture affect preparedness activities?

To meet the demands of accreditation, we must include theoretical and/or analytical tools. To do so, we need to explore more fully existing tools and examine how we are (or are not) using them and with what impact. Would doing so provoke new insights? Generate new frameworks? Undermine the four phases? Redefine “emergency”? Yield strategies that improve performance? How many among us would dare to offer “EM 450: Postmodernism and the Emergency Manager” or “EM 570: Climatology, Catastrophe and Chaos Theory”? What advances might we forego if we do not?
Conversely, what pandora’s box might we open? Consider Quarantelli and Dynes’ (1977, p. 44) cautionary words on applying discipline-based theory and research to interdisciplinary areas: “the past history of interdisciplinary research, including efforts in the disaster area, is not supportive of the ideas that better research results are obtained or that applications of findings are more easily accomplished by taking an interdisciplinary stance. In such an approach, contributions of different disciplines are often reduced to the lowest common denominator, which is sometimes only slightly, if at all, a common-sense level.” Nonetheless, developing emergency management theory is a journey we must take.

As mentioned earlier, SACS accreditation for graduate-level study says that programs must provide “an understanding of research and the manner in which research is conducted” and “an understanding of … methodology of the discipline.” We need to explore more fully what we should teach in a research course as well as what might constitute the “methodology” of the “discipline.”
I taught Research Methods for Emergency Management last year at the undergraduate level, online. The biggest challenge that emerged concerned the multiple goals of such a course within a fourteen-week semester along with the challenges of a virtual classroom. Course goals, as discussed by faculty and with colleagues, included:

  • An understanding of basic research;

  • An ability to assess scientific research;

  • Being able how to apply research to real-world problems;

  • Learning how to work with researchers/consultants while working as an emergency manager;

  • Understanding how to put together a basic survey (for example);

  • “Do we have to learn statistics”?;

  • Disaster-specific assessment skills;

  • Online instruction made some parts of a traditional methods course especially challenging. If you have never taught random sampling virtually, rethink offering an online degree program in emergency management!

The question we must address is this: how much should we include? To look at this question, I selected two sources for examination. First, I looked at the FEMA Higher Education course on methods; second, I examined content in a new book published by the International Research Committee on Disasters and edited by Robert Stallings, Methods of Disaster Research.

Key content in the FEMA course include:

  • The scientific method

  • Measurement and data gathering processes

  • Program evaluation

  • Hazards analysis

  • Information technology

  • Case studies

  • Cost-benefit analysis of mitigation

  • Questionnaire design

  • Surveys

  • Quasi-experimental designs

  • Field research

  • Statistical analysis

Key chapters in the Methods of Disaster Research book include:

  • Methods of DR: unique or not?

  • Field Studies (multiple)

  • Survey Research

  • Qualitative methods

  • Historical research

  • Electronic media/Internet (multiple)

  • Cross-national and comparative (multiple)

  • Media

What should be in a methods course? Based on the above resources, might we not also consider:

  • Damage assessment

  • Needs Assessment

  • Participatory research strategies

  • Focus groups

  • Research design

  • Ethics and human subjects

To better understand what should be included in methods courses, we need some basic information such as:

  • An immediate survey of those working in emergency management (all sectors) to identify the methodological tools they need to know.

  • Identification of the core topical areas, such as disaster-specific skills (damage assessment, hazard analysis) versus/including research-specific skills.

  • Discussion over the desirable outcome(s): producing students with research skills (accreditation standards), producing researchers, or something else.

Emergency Management Practice
EM is very much an applied field, not unlike nursing, law, or social work. Yet, I see EM programs struggling with how to better connect research with practice, and tie students to employment. Classrooms represent the traditional mode of transmission and application, but in emergency management, practical experiences matter as well. Internships have been one traditional solution, but more diverse routes could and should be made available. Women’s studies has formed strong partnerships with a number of end-users, such as shelters for battered women, affirmative action programs, political organizations, and more. What kinds of partnerships could/should be generated between EM education and practice?
For example, The National Science Foundation has funded a number of engineering research centers that link research, education and industry7. Some enjoy strong linkages that directly transfer knowledge into practice. Students are involved in research, internships, and paid employment. End-users participate in educational exchanges.

As another example, Lopes (2001) described a national effort that linked agencies in the National Disaster Education Coalition. He noted the value of working with hazards researchers and the valuable exchanges from the annual Natural Hazards Workshop. EM educators should build stronger bridges to the nonprofit sector. EM educators should explore comparable opportunities that link education with a broad range of industry, from EM through specific organizations such as the National Weather Service, the pharmaceutical industry, the petrochemical industry and more.

Could such links and partnerships:

  • Foster links between nonprofit, private and public agencies.

  • More effectively transfer information back and forth between education and practice?

  • Sponsor, review and critique what is being taught in degree programs.

  • Sponsor a curriculum examination process.

  • Identify how stronger linkages could be developed.

  • Demand that textbooks incorporate materials on the private and nonprofit sectors, with concrete examples depicting the relationships between research and practice.

  • Help infuse content from business, faith-based organizations, volunteer agencies, applied research laboratories, and more.

  • Foster participation in debates (and resolutions?) regarding accreditation issues, such as those faced by social work and public administration?

  • Facilitate the exchange of information on emergency management curricula?

Programs could be examined to determine how well they promote understanding of all sectors as well as develop and preserve partnerships and linkages; and be encouraged to add meaningful, active advisory boards that represent the full range of those involved in emergency management (Neal 2000).

Student Outcomes Assessment
Accreditation bodies demand evidence of success, typically presented within the context of student outcomes assessment. Such assessment is typically mission-driven and goal-oriented, suggesting that programs should also develop a definitive strategic plan (Nichols 1991). Women’s studies has not done the best job in this area, a problem that has impacted abilities to generate data sufficient to convince state educational boards to add more programs.
During the Second Assessment, Mileti (2000) and Fothergill (2000) noted that knowledge transfer organizations represent critical links between hazards researchers and EM practice. But to date, no one has published assessment data on students, their experiences, or the ways in which they use their degrees (or certificates).
Thorough research on EM program graduates is thus called for. EM educators, through their degree programs, may serve as one of the “translators”, the “person in the middle” that connects research with practice Quarantelli called for (1993, cited in Fothergill 2000; see also Neal 1993). Such research is imperative so that we can identify what we are doing well, what we need to improve, and what we need to retain.
Below, I suggest several key areas in which we need to conduct assessment, from initial recruitment through employment of program graduates. And, though assessments can be considered proprietary in a competitive market, I suggest that we publish our assessments and pool our knowledge as a service to emergency management education.
Recruitment efforts and anecdotal success stories vary across existing programs. While some EM programs have struggled to attract students, others have slowly built up. At JSU, our program has grown dramatically. Two years ago, we had a handful of graduate students. Since adding new faculty, an undergraduate degree, and a master of science degree, we have become the most rapidly growing program in our institution. Currently, we have close to 200 undergraduates and nearly that many graduate students. At the graduate level, we average 45 new graduate students every fall and spring semester in the introductory course. At the undergraduate level, the introductory course has currently enrolled 61 students though about one-fourth is taking the course as an elective. Our program now produces the second-highest semester credit hour production within the College of Arts and Sciences and is a contributor to the highest producer through our graduate EM concentration in public administration. This type of growth is unprecedented in the EM field.
What has worked? At the graduate level, we do not conduct much recruitment. Rather, they tend to find us through Internet searches, due in large part to the FEMA Higher Education page. At the undergraduate level, a formal relationship with the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials has produced a steady stream of students into the public safety telecommunications minor/certificate/associate’s degree (shared through the Institute of Emergency Preparedness jointly conducted with Gadsden State Community College) and subsequently into the undergraduate EM degree. During the first year of the undergraduate degree (2001-2002) most students came from the dispatcher community. Since then, the undergraduate population has diversified but still reflects more of the first responder and dispatch sectors more than other areas. Which recruitment strategies work best and with what results?
Retention and Attrition
Which retention strategies work? Based on my own experience in an online environment, I believe that a couple of factors have worked with our students. First, students that are already career oriented and seek the degree for promotional purposes succeed. Second, those with funding to pay for tuition persist. Third, writing and analytical skills help. Fourth, feeling supported and/or connected to the institution makes a difference, especially a strong tie to faculty members. Fifth, fully engaging oneself in the course work and with one’s online classmates makes a difference. Sixth, pro-active advising can retrieve those at risk.
What affects attrition? Again, based on experiential data, I believe that the online environment can work against some students especially those without technical skills or abilities to work independently. In addition, consider these possibilities:

  • Lack of funding or financial aid.

  • Lack of scholarships.

  • Faculty inattention to those not participating in the online environment.

  • Not being fully prepared for college-level or graduate-level work.

  • Poorly-prepared or non-supportive infrastructure.

  • Lack sufficient self-discipline at the individual level.

Demographic Profiles
Frankly, we know next to nothing about the demographic profile of EM students. Several programs have offered initial insights. For example, the University of North Texas initially attracted first responders, eventually diversifying their student market as traditional, younger students found the major through course electives or outreach strategies. At Jacksonville State University, the graduate program attracted both first responders and the military along with a smaller group of students from the nonprofit sector and a minority of students in the private sector. The majority of the graduate students already work in emergency response and/or emergency management or the military, although a minority of newcomers to the field continues to enter the program.
At the undergraduate level, the majority of JSU students are from the public safety telecommunications/dispatch field, primarily because of recruitment through APCO. Within the last year, though, the undergraduate program has diversified to include more first responders followed by those newly finding our program.
What are the implications of these student market streams? Taking an example from JSU, I wonder of the impact of so many dispatchers in the program. Will the EM field benefit from an employee pool with significant communications experience? Will the EM field lose these graduates if they choose to remain in telecommunications, obtaining the degree primarily for upward mobility? Conversely, will there be a “brain drain” from the telecommunications field if these students opt for EM careers? Or, will we ultimately see a closer alliance between the “silent front line” and emergency management agencies?
And what of the impact of the numbers of military students? For a moment, just imagine the debates we have had over Dynes’ writings on the military model (command and control) versus the more flexible, emergent, human resources model. Interestingly, as an aside, we are finding that the officers in our program ultimately support the human resources model as a management strategy and even point to examples of how this model is used within the military today. We are seeing some of these students retire from the military and seek civilian employment. What will be their influence? A return to Waugh’s depiction of the “air raid warden”? A new-style emergency manager well-suited to a homeland security model of emergency management? Or a veteran who challenges assumptions based on the research? As one of our military students recently said after reading Perrow’s work in David Neal’s capstone course, “this book really screwed me up.”
The EM education field is seeing students go out into EM practice and apply what they have learned. One of those first graduates, Gregg Dawson (University of North Texas) now works for the Office of Emergency Management in Fort Worth, Texas. In 1993, he wrote about how fellow students argued with instructors over research that defied myths of looting, panic and mass sheltering needs. After four years on the job, he admitted, “I am still surprised how accurate those researchers have been and continue to be.”
Outcomes assessment can be course-specific, program-oriented, or student-based. Faculty evaluations typically represent course-specific outcomes and offer insights into pedagogical techniques; these evaluations may serve as an initial source of insight. For example, which program structures and delivery platforms work most effectively for the EM student? Traditional classroom settings, accelerated courses, distance education (video, CD, cassette, web-based)? And, what are students doing with their degrees? How well do they translate into employment? What do employers think of students? More importantly, when will be begin to answer these questions and will we be willing to collaborate with each other to do so?
Finally, are EM programs mentoring the next generation of EM faculty? If so, how? Do we need a “Next Generation” project for EM educators?

Faculty Role Performance
Traditionally, the faculty engages in three main activities: teaching, research and service. Time dedicated to each varies by institution, often driven by mission, history, size, and resources. For an applied field like emergency management, however, an additional area of practice is either tacked on or integrated as a sub-set of service. Because those who research in the area must meet academic publishing expectations, faculty must therefore produce scholarly materials suitable for peer-review. Simultaneously, those products must be understandable to a broad range of end-users. The academy does not always respect or recognize such practical applications (or the double life necessary to make this happen), a problem noted in the differing “cultural contexts” of the academic and the practitioner (Mileti 1999; Fothergill 2000). In addition, because programs are in the process of emerging, service loads can be quite high. Juggling these multiple expectations and contexts can enervate the most dedicated and enthusiastic faculty member (Neal 2000).
It is time for EM faculty to take control of their academic destiny, define their roles and augment their academic standing. We could draw from other applied fields that have gone this route successfully. For example, the American Association of College of Nurses offers a framework for potential use. Their Position Statement on Defining Scholarship for the Discipline of Nursing includes (http://www.aacn.nche.edu/Publications/positions/scholar.htm):

  • The Scholarship of Teaching: “inquiry that produces knowledge to support the transfer of the science and art of nursing from the expert to the novice.”

    • What do we know about EM pedagogy? Women’s studies faculty have actively question classroom techniques and philosophies. The result? A more diverse set of pedagogical choices, informed by thoughtful reflection and empirical data. What might happen, for example, if we explored more fully the range of pedagogical choices? Perhaps we might see classrooms inspired by Freier’s anti-banking pedagogy, or bell hooks’ emphasis on transformative teaching? Or uncover strategies that nurture retention rather than rote memorization? Perhaps find a professional development strategy for faculty/teacher preparation?

  • The Scholarship of Practice/Application: “evidence of direct impact in solving health care problems or in defining the health problems of a community….practice roles for faculty in health care delivery systems may include direct caregiver, educator, consultant, and administrator.”

    • EM education programs are knowledge transfer organizations (Mileti 1999; Fothergill 2000). Faculty are involved in the community, as consultants, project team members, and through service efforts. But how have we documented this faculty role? Faculty members tend to present their role performances through standardized academic presentations (or hidden in voluminous notebooks for annual evaluations). Perhaps we should explore ways to highlight the diversity of faculty contributions.

  • The Scholarship of Discovery: “inquiry that produces the disciplinary and professional knowledge that is at the very heart of academic pursuits.”

    • EM faculty tend to excel in this area, producing academic articles as well as technical publications and public presentations. However, we should further pursue the type of research seen only in the appendix of Disasters by Design (and the article by Fothergill) that examines how we transfer our discoveries. But what of related issues. For example, we desperately need a research methods textbook. Finally, where are our centers of research for EM education?

  • The Scholarship of Integration: “refers to writings and other products that use concepts and original works…in creating new patterns, placing knowledge in a larger context, or illuminating the data in a more meaningful way…emphasizes the interconnection of ideas and brings new insight to bear on original concepts and research.”

    • Where do we see the scholarship of integration in EM education? Certainly, education plays an important role in such integration. Graduate programs in particular emphasize the need to integrate and synthesize concepts and original works. But have we published or shared such products or the related birthing process? Clearly, an effort explicating these educational efforts would be of service.

The American Association of College of Nurses offers clear documentary sources for these categories, many of which are applicable to emergency management. Comparable frameworks can also be found in other areas including women’s studies.

I suggest that we have done well in the scholarship of discovery but lack evidence of scholarship in teaching, practice, and integration. To become a more fully accepted and institutionalized “discipline” documenting our value within academic settings, and infusing our field with shared knowledge, is critical. Fostering professional development opportunities beyond research support is essential as well.
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