Disasters by Discipline 1 : necessary dialogue for emergency management education

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We are at a pivotal moment in the evolution of this discipline/field/area: where do we go from here? Our actions must be deliberative and mindful, incorporating “lessons learned” from the emergence of other academic enterprises.

Can we identify the “drivers” that might move us through a comparable series of phases as described in the introduction? Such a picture might include:

  • The impact of research centers and individual researchers in producing the “scholarship of discovery.”

  • The impact of the first and second assessments, with the latter identifying useful theories and perspectives for potential classroom and practical application.

  • The impact of the FEMA Higher Education project, its annual conferences, web site, courses, and textbook(s).

  • The impact of EMI and its independent study courses; assessment of this effort and its impact would be valuable.

  • Efforts like the World Congress Blueprint on Education or the Organization of American States’ Hemispheric Eduplan, largely yet to be acknowledged or integrated.

  • Individual writings on EM education, scattered throughout a limited number of journals.

What other potential drivers are needed? Among those I have recommended:

  • A thorough, “second assessment” type of review of the state of EM education with task forces on theory, methods, practice and the core curriculum, not to mention the question of the canon.

  • Curriculum analysis linked to curriculum transformation projects.

  • Exploration of theory and methods for EM education and practice.

  • Development of a national council or association of EM educators.

    • With a web site of resources including annotated bibliographies, book reviews, syllabi, projects, handouts, list serves.

    • A faculty role statement usable within individual institutions for faculty evaluation and to justify faculty activities.

    • Lobbying of publishers to produce a full line of textbooks and anthologies appropriate for both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

  • More conferences, including online interactions to provoke and continue dialogue.

  • Journal sections dedicated exclusively to EM education.

  • Funding for EM education, scholarships, textbooks and more.

  • Integration of EM educators into efforts like the National Science Foundation engineering research centers.

One of the greatest outcomes of the organizing and outreach in women’s studies has been the impact of more diverse perspectives, especially the impact of global understanding. Throughout this paper, I have noted the tendency to emphasize U.S. contexts in curricula, textbooks, and research. As we pursue our “difficult dialogues” during this conference, I urge all of us to “think globally” while acting locally in our own countries, our own universities, and our own programs.

Because what we do makes a difference in actual human lives, in property loss……we should proceed with deliberative dialogue But proceed we must. Engage.


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