Edited Version September 29, 1999
EIIP Classroom Online Presentation

"Back to School:
An update on the Higher Education Project

Dr. Wayne Blanchard
Program Manager
FEMA's Preparedness Division
Emergency Management Institute

Jane Kushma
Associate Professor
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

The original unedited transcript of the September 29, 1999 online Virtual Classroom presentation is available on the EIIP Virtual Forum (http://www.emforum.org). The following version of the transcript has been edited for easier reading and comprehension. Typos were corrected, date/time/names attributed by the software to each were deleted but content of discussions, questions, and responses are as stated by each participant. Answers from the presenter to questions by the audience are grouped beneath the appropriate question to facilitate meaning


Amy Sebring: Welcome to the Virtual Classroom! Today's special session is "Back to School!"

• For the benefit of our first-timers, when you see a blue web address, you can click on it and the referenced Web page should appear in a browser window.

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• The background page for today's session is <http://www.emforum.org/vclass/990929.htm>.


During May, 1998, we had the pleasure to present Dr. Wayne Blanchard who provided an overview of FEMA's Higher Education Program. We thought it was time to check back with him for an update on the progress since then. So we are pleased to welcome back Dr. Wayne Blanchard, program manager with FEMA's Preparedness Division, Emergency Management Institute. Thanks for joining us today, Wayne.

Wayne Blanchard: Nice to be here -- are you ready for some updated information?

Also joining us today is Jane Kushma. Jane has recently moved from the University of North Texas' flagship emergency management program to a new program at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Welcome Jane.

Jane Kushma: It's nice to be here... finally!

Amy Sebring: We will begin with Dr. Blanchard. We are very interested in hearing about how things have been going for the last year and a half, Wayne.


Wayne Blanchard: One of EMI's Higher Education Project goals is to encourage and support the inclusion of emergency management-related education in colleges and universities across the United States. EMI believes that in the future more emergency managers in government, business and industry should come to the job with college degrees in emergency management. EMI would like to see an emergency management-related degree program in every State of the Union by the year 2001.

When the project began in 1995, the University of North Texas, Thomas Edison State College and the Rochester Institute of Technology were the only schools offering degrees in emergency management.

Last year this time there were:

• 12 Certificate programs,

• 7 Associate Degree programs,

• 7 Bachelor Degree programs,

• 7 Master Degree programs, and

• 1 Doctoral Degree program in emergency management.

For a grand total of 34.

Today there are currently:

• 15 Certificate Programs,

• 10 Associate Degree programs,

• 8 Bachelor Degree programs,

• 11 Master Degree programs, and

• 4 Doctoral Degree programs across the United States.

For a grand total of 48.

In addition there are 23 colleges and universities investigating/proposing the development of an emergency management program. Descriptions of these programs and contact information for each school is available on the FEMA web site at <www.fema.gov/emi/edu/higher.htm> under the colleges and universities hyperlink.

Since 1995, the EMI has been working with a variety of colleges and universities to develop a prototype bachelor degree curriculum consisting of classroom-based, upper division level courses. To date, there are 6 completed courses and 15 currently under development. The completed courses are available for download on the Internet at <www.fema.gov/emi/edu/higher.htm>.

Completed courses include:

• Sociology of Disaster,

• Social Dimensions of Disaster,

• Technology and Emergency Management,

• Research and Analysis Methods in Emergency Management,

• the Political and Policy Basis of Emergency Management, and

• currently being formatted for the Internet is Business and Industry Crisis Management.

EMI has attempted to create courses that are engaging and scholarly and that will be accepted on college campuses across the country.

The Higher Education Project also developed a prototype curriculum for associate degrees in emergency management based on existing EMI training courses. These training courses are also available for download on FEMA's website at <www.fema.gov/emi/edu/higher.htm>.

EMI has also instituted a Higher Education Internship. Students enrolled at emergency management degree granting schools can intern at EMI under the sponsorship of their department. Roundtrip travel will be reimbursed, dorm-style housing will be provided, and a suitable assignment will be negotiated. No salary will be paid and interns are responsible for all expenses, including meals. The student's school must agree to provide credit hours (to be negotiated) for a successful internship (students will be evaluated on their performance). You might want to ask Dan Robeson about his experience as an EMI intern.

A compilation of course syllabi and outlines of existing emergency management-related courses as well as a Compendium of emergency management-related college proposals is available to colleges and universities wishing to investigate the development of a emergency management program. Both are free of charge.

The compilation of course syllabi and outlines currently consists of over 100 courses. The Compendium contains 16 various proposals ranging from diplomas and certificates to master degrees.

Amy Sebring: Thank you, Wayne. Next, Jane will tell us a little bit about the new program in Tennessee. Jane, please.

Jane Kushma: The Emergency Systems Management concentration (12 hours) is housed in the Human Services Management program at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC). Students receive a BS in Human Services. Generic core competencies associated with this curriculum include:

• planning,

• supervision,

• interpersonal skills,

• fiscal management,

• strategic management, and

• evaluation.

The concentration focuses on the development of technical knowledge in emergency management. Currently, the 12-hour concentration consists of the following courses:

• Introduction to Emergency Systems Management,

• Hazard Mitigation,

• Disaster Recovery, and

• Hazardous Materials Regulation.

In addition, the required internship (350 clock hours) may be completed in an emergency management setting. For further information, please see <http://www.utc.edu/~humserv/index.htm>.

Historically, the provision of disaster relief has been a mix of public and private aid. Emergency management curriculum to date, however, has primarily focused on the public sector. UTC seeks to expand this focus by emphasizing issues facing voluntary relief organizations and nonprofit agencies. We hope to meet a unique educational need for the disaster community through regular classroom participation, distance learning, and continuing education. Currently, eleven students are pursuing the concentration and recruitment efforts are underway.

The Emergency Systems Management Advisory Committee will be meeting next month to provide guidance and support for ongoing program development. The committee is comprised of emergency management leaders from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. We are honored to have EIIP's own Avagene Moore on our committee.

UTC is actively exploring distance learning modalities to support classroom and continuing education activities.

Amy Sebring: Thank you, Jane. Before we start the Q&A, I am taking Wayne's suggestion and have asked Dan Robeson to tell us a little about his internship experience. Dan?

Dan Robeson: The internship at EMI is a great experience for any student in emergency management. It helped me better understand the workings of FEMA, and gave me an opportunity to meet people in the field. I would recommend it to any EM student!

Amy Sebring: Thanks Dan, we are glad you survived and are looking forward to working with you on the Student Association. I would also like to ask if there is anyone else here today that is involved with the Higher Ed program that would like to say a few words?

We will now take questions for Wayne or Jane. Please enter a question mark (?) to indicate you wish to be recognized, go ahead and compose your comment or question, but wait for recognition before hitting the enter key or clicking on Send. Please indicate in your question to whom it is addressed. Ok, we are ready to start.

[Audience Questions]


David Crews: Are their any principals of strategic planning course in the works.

Wayne Blanchard: No, The Disaster Preparedness and Planning Course that was started did not work out satisfactorily. Will have to add a Disaster Planning Course back on the "To Do" list. Would be interested in other new course development recommendations from others participating today.

David Crews: I have taken many of the FEMA planning courses and that is a lacking element.


Amy Sebring: Jane, would you like to comment on David's question?

Jane Kushma: I agree that it is a skill that's needed.

Amy Sebring: Wayne, you have a further comment on strategic planning. Please continue.

Wayne Blanchard: We do want to develop a course on Hazards, Vulnerability and Risk Assessment this year. This course will feed into strategic planning. In addition, the Hazards Mitigation course, which is available, addresses mitigation strategic planning.


Daryl Spiewak: Dr. Blanchard, are there any PhD programs by distance learning available yet? Any planned for the near future? I suggest courses be added on presentation skills, public speaking, and financial planning (budgeting), too.

Wayne Blanchard: Contact George Washington University. It is on the college list. They have a new PhD program and I think one can participate via distance learning.


Libbi RuckerReed: Are the programs in various university settings accepting PRIOR certifications issued by FEMA for identical courses or do they have to be re-taken to satisfy degree requirements? I have heard different answers. Also, I see the Applied Practices Series courses are out there. But WHO is teaching them and where? Sorry, not sure who should answer this.

Wayne Blanchard: The courses developed for 4-year degree granting schools are all newly developed. Thus, they have never been taught before and are not EMI training courses. We are making EMI training courses available to Community colleges and other 2-year degree granting schools. It is up to the Registrar at such schools to decide to grant credit or not, if taken elsewhere.

Jane Kushma: One can apply for credit for some of the FEMA courses. As Wayne stated, it is up to each individual university whether to accept the credits and how they will apply. In most instances, these hours will apply under Electives since they are taken pass/fail.

Amy Sebring: I also believe the Arkansas and Thomas Edison programs also grant credit for prior courses or experience.

Jane Kushma: Yes. UTC does too.


Leigh Anderson: What paths exist for those with a BA/BS (outside of the public safety field) but want to do masters level work?

Wayne Blanchard: Contact one or more of the schools in the graduate section of the college list on the Higher Education Website. A background in or degree in EM is not required.


Warren Vaughn: Ms. Kushma, is there a timeline on UTC's distance learning program or is this just a thing to look at down the road?

Jane Kushma: We are just beginning but should have a timeline within the next two months.

Warren Vaughn: It will be interesting to see if it does.


Amy Sebring: Wayne, I am interested in the on-line business course you mentioned. Can you tell us a little more about what is planned for that?

Wayne Blanchard: I am not following you -- are you talking about George Washington University's program?

Amy Sebring: I am sorry, you mentioned you were developing a curriculum for on-line delivery. Is that through GWU? Business and Industry Crisis Management

Wayne Blanchard: Actually we do not develop curriculum for on-line delivery. We develop class-room based courses and then schools can deliver them on-line, if they choose. We do have a distance-learning section on our "College List" for those interested in contacting schools that have distance learning programs.

Amy Sebring: Sorry, it's being formatted to post for download? I guess I misunderstood. Other questions?

Wayne Blanchard: We are about to come out with a course developed at GWU on Business and Industry Crisis Management. It should be on the HighEd Website in about 6 weeks to download.

Warren Vaughn: In reference to the community college programs, Colorado Community Colleges have a real good program going online.

<http://www.ccc.edu> for EM degrees.


Jane Kushma: Back to Wayne's earlier question, do forum participants have any other skill areas or technical areas they wish to see emphasized in future courses?

Libbi RuckerReed: Given the type of jobs we do, I would like to see a MAJOR focus on online delivery of courses. Very difficult for those working in the field of EM to make traditional classroom settings.

Amy Sebring: I agree with Daryl that all forms of communications skills are important, including public speaking, writing, and Internet!


Jane Kushma: Libby, do you seen the need for on-line for degree-seeking students or continuing ed?

Libbi RuckerReed: Both! A number of people working in EM now did not have the opportunity to take college courses earlier. And since I would like to see EM people given the same credibility as EMS, law and fire personnel, I feel we need to encourage certification thru all methods; state certifications, IAEM and degree programs.

Wayne Blanchard: There are about a dozen schools which do EM distance learning. And, all it really takes is one school with a good selection of courses.


Amy Sebring: Wayne, do you think there will be a growing need for teachers as a result of the Higher Ed program?

Wayne Blanchard: There is most definitely a need for college instructors. At the HighEd EM Conference this summer representatives two schools were actively recruiting and one was trying hard to hire someone away from their school. I have received job offers from about 6 schools who were looking for teachers. Is most definitely a growth market.

Amy Sebring: Possibly a future career for practicing EM's. Alex please.


Alex Mallett: I am curious about international collaboration. Any plans to expand upon this (as I just noticed Coventry University)?

Wayne Blanchard: No official plans -- any suggestions?

Amy Sebring: Perhaps we can take that up further in our open discussion as we are just about out of time. Thank you very much for being with us today Wayne, Jane and our audience members. We will have a text transcript posted later today, and on-line and downloadable versions early next week. Good job by both of you.

Jane Kushma: My pleasure!

Amy Sebring: Also special thanks to Dennis Hickethier at EMI for technical assistance from that end!

Wayne Blanchard: Likewise. And to Juliann Frantz who helped me prepare for today!

Amy Sebring: A couple of related announcements, the BBS is restored and there is now a link to the main board under Quick Picks on our homepage. Fora have been set up in four thematic areas, community outreach, general issues, technology, and professional. We especially encourage those of you interested in the Higher Ed program to use the Professional forum to post questions, news, help wanted, position wanted etc. See <http://forums.emforum.org/eshare/server?action=120&board=8&expand=1>.

We also host a Higher Ed mailing list to which you may subscribe and post. Dr. Blanchard sends out regular status reports on this list. See <http://mail.wces.net:81/guest/RemoteListSummary/HigherEd>. This is a moderated list, and to post to the list, simply address an email to <[email protected]>.

The commercial: We are only 36 pledges away from our goal of 100. If you have not made a pledge to join us for at least one session per month, please consider doing so and see <http://www.emforum.org/eiip/pledge.htm> for further info.

Upcoming events: Yesterday afternoon we confirmed a new EIIP Partner to present the Tuesday Round Table. David Hastings of ABS Group Inc. (formerly JBF Associates, Inc.) will tell us about the company, and has some important new information pertaining to the RMP requirements that we have been following.

Next Wednesday we will have a session in the Forum room looking at the impact of disasters on the African-American community which should give us some new perspectives. Kay Goss, Assoc. Director of the FEMA Preparedness Division, and Dr. Oliver Jones, Florida A&M University will be featured.

Thanks again to all. We will adjourn the session for now, but you are invited to remain for open discussion.