Edited Version of May 13, 1998
EIIP Classroom Online Presentation
"FEMA's Higher Education Project"
Higher Education Project Manager, FEMA, Preparedness Directorate
The original transcript of the May 13, 1998 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.
Avagene Moore: On behalf of the EIIP, welcome to the Virtual Classroom! Our topic today is FEMA's Higher Education Project with our guest speaker, Dr. Wayne Blanchard. Please hold all questions and comments until we get to the Q&A portion of the program.
We are pleased to introduce our guest today, Dr. Wayne Blanchard, Higher Education Project Manager, FEMA, Preparedness Directorate. Wayne, we appreciate you being with us today. We have chosen an interview approach for our session and will start with our first question now.
Avagene Moore: Wayne, why is FEMA encouraging emergency management-related courses in the countrys colleges and universities?
Wayne Blanchard: There are several reasons:
Reason #1: It was decided about 4 years ago, when John McKay became the Superintendent of the Emergency Management Institute that EMI could no longer try to provide training and education (not enough staff or money), but both were needed. I was brought on-board from headquarters to work with colleges and universities on emergency management higher education.
Reason #2: A desire of the Superintendent and of Kay Goss, the Associate Director of the Preparedness Directorate, is to try to contribute to the continued professionalism of the emerging emergency management profession. Supporting the development of BA/BS degrees in emergency management, it is felt, will contribute to that.
Finally, the US is in a period of increased disasters -- particularly large disasters. And, we are becoming a more vulnerable society with increasing hazards. We need to evolve into a more sophisticated, more professional, more skilled emergency management community.
Avagene Moore: How is this tied to the future of job requirements in government and business/industry?
Wayne Blanchard: It generally isn't. But there is already some evidence that local and State governments are hearing about the CEM Program (Certified Emergency Manager) managed by the International Association of Emergency Managers (formerly NCCEM). That program has, until just recently, required a BA degree. Job announcements are beginning to note that they are looking for CEM's. I think that will spread, as those who do the hiring realize they can hire someone with a BA degree in emergency or crisis management.
Avagene Moore: Wayne, please give us a little background on how the Higher Education Project has evolved.
Wayne Blanchard: We started by conducting a survey of existing programs -- were only 3 academic programs at the time. Academics said that if we wanted them to investigate an EM BA degree we should tell them what an EM curriculum would look like. So we designed a prototype emergency management curriculum of courses with expanded outlines describing the content area. Then we're told that at most schools, not enough expertise or resources resided to develop these courses. So our next step was to contract for the development of these courses at various colleges. That is essentially where we are today. Two courses are available now and 16 are in the development stage.
Avagene Moore: I understand the first of FEMAs Higher Education Project college-level emergency management-related courses are now available; can you give us a description of those?
Wayne Blanchard: The Sociology of Disaster course is a 278-page IG for sociology professors teaching upper division undergraduates. The theoretical and methodological emphasis are consistent with courses typically offered within Sociology Depts. Topics include: major theoretical approaches to disaster research, disaster response theory, and the sociological impact of disaster.
The Social Dimensions of Disaster course is a 619-page IG on the social aspects of disaster and their relevance to emergency management. The course can be taught by a non-Sociologist and is aimed at students majoring or minoring in emergency management. Topics include: disaster mythology patterns, public response to disaster warnings, victim and non-victim responses to disaster.
The third course (undergoing formatting for Internet transfer) is The Political and Policy Basis of Emergency Management. It can be taught by a non-Political Scientist and is aimed at a general emergency management major or minor. This approximately 400 page IG considers the political and policy environment in which emergency management is practiced. The course discusses the American political system, Federal, State, local government organization and policy in emergency management, Intergovernmental issues, the private sector players in emergency and crisis management.
Avagene Moore: How many classroom-based courses will be suggested for an emergency management curriculum at the upper division college level?
Wayne Blanchard: Well, we have 3 courses done, 16 in development and 2-4 others we might develop -- more than enough for a curriculum. I think that a stable of 15 courses is more than enough for most degree programs -- most majors only require 30 hours (10 courses).
Avagene Moore: Is it possible to review the courses? Where and how?
Wayne Blanchard: Course outlines can be reviewed at the FEMA.Gov website -- go to Preparedness,Training,Exercies; then to training; then to HighEd.
Avagene Moore: What is the status of the Higher Education Project at the moment?
Wayne Blanchard: Focusing on course development. The 16 under development are in various stages. Hope to see a new course go up on the Internet at the rate of one every 3-5 months over the next four years.
Avagene Moore: Is there a college or university in each state actively involved with the Project?
Avagene Moore: Ladies and gentlemen, Wayne has been disconnected -- will be right with us. Please look at the map. As you will see, a majority of States do have a program of some sort ranging from non-academic diplomas and certificates to Masters.
Wayne was going to another computer. Sorry for the delay. We are right at the end of our interview with only one more question.
Wayne Blanchard: I appear to have regained my connection. So what was the question?
Avagene Moore: Wayne, I explained the map and the situation with the states.
Are there opportunities for internships through the Higher Education Project?
Wayne Blanchard: We have what we call an Associates Program. It allows for the possibility of a student working on campus for a number of weeks. We will provide reimbursement for roundtrip transportation here and put student up in a dorm room. The student must pay for meals and all other expenses. We will not pay per diem or a salary. The school must provide appropriate semester hour credit for the "internship" here on campus. The student will be given assignments agreed upon by the student's academic advisor, the student and the Higher Education Project manager.
Avagene Moore: Thank you, Wayne. We will now open the floor to questions from our audience. Claire first and then Cindy.
Claire Rubin: Who developed the political/policy course and when will it be ready?
Wayne Blanchard: Dr, Richard Sylves at the University of Delaware is in processing for Internet upload now, expect about a month.
Cindy Rice: Wayne, I'm confused. These courses are in addition to EMI/FEMA Course?
Wayne Blanchard: EMI courses are training courses aimed at those already in the emergency management community. The Higher Education Project courses are not training and are not aimed primarily at those who have a job in emergency management. The courses are upper division (junior/senior)educational college courses aimed at the next generation of emergency managers. We hope that as students graduate they will seek and find their first job as one in emergency management -- a first career choice. As opposed to the position we are in today, wherein a sizable percentage of the community is in a second or third career. Have I answered your question clearly enough?
Lloyd Bokman: Are any of the courses under development designed for business/industry emergency managers?
Wayne Blanchard: Yes. George Washington University in DC has a contract with us to develop a "Business and Industry Crisis Management" course.
Gilberto Guevara: Are the Student Manuals also available for each course when posted in the Internet?
Wayne Blanchard: There is no student manual. The Instructor Guides provide the instructor with suggested homework, reading assignments for the students and books and copied articles for the student to purchase just like for any other college course. There is no reason the student should ever know that FEMA was involved or that the Instructor has an Instructor Guide from us.
Amy Sebring: Can you tell us a few of the other courses under development or planned?
Wayne Blanchard: Well, there are 16 and they are all listed in the background documents listed for the "chat".
Aim and Scope of Emergency Management by David Hoover at the University of Akron;
Principles and Practice of Disaster Preparedness and Planning by Dr. Nancy Grant at the University of Akron;
Living in a Hazardous Environment by Dr. Jay Baker at the University of Florida;
Principles and Practice of Disaster Response and Operations by Dr. David Neal at the University of N. Texas;
Emergency Management Research Methods and Analysis by Dr. Kincade in Florida (forget the University at the moment!)
Principles and Practice of Hazard Mitigation by Dr. David Brower at the University of North Carolina; Technology and Emergency Management by Dr. John Pine at LSU --- gives you some idea of the courses.
Amy Sebring: See also <http://www.emforum.org/vclass/hiedstat.htm>
Cindy Rice: Confused again, is this on campus, distance learning, combination or both?
Wayne Blanchard: The courses are designed as classroom based courses and then put up on the Internet for any academic to pull down. What they do with the material is then their business to teach to any audience they wish and in any way they wish. We hope that each user will start making modifications and make each course their own. Those who wish to do distance learning will need to "translate" what we provide into their own distance learning course.
Ricardo A Alvarez: What is the best way to obtain copies of the courses already completed? What is the cost?
Avagene Moore: Our hour in the Virtual Classroom is up; if you have a question we didn't get to, we will be around for a few minutes in the Virtual Forum. We appreciate your time and the information shared with us today. I am sure everyone in our audience is pleased about the Higher Education Project and what it means to the future of emergency management. Thank you.
We will move to the Virtual Forum for a few minutes and allow anyone who wishes to express their gratitude to Wayne for his presentation and to comment a bit more on the topic. Thank you, audience. Has been very good. Join us in the Virtual Forum now.
Break: Further Discussions and Questions in the Virtual Room
Amy Sebring: Is it the Instructor Guides that you are putting on the Internet then?
Wayne Blanchard: Yes. We are putting what we call "Instructor Guides" on the Net.
While they share the name "Instructor Guide" with EMI "Instructor Guides". The Project's IG's are more like textbooks for a professor.
Amy Sebring: Will access to them on the Internet be restricted or open?
Wayne Blanchard: Anyone with the Internet address can pull them down. The Announcement of the first two courses that is part of the background reading for this Chat has the address.
Bryan Zak: What is the Internet address for the courses?
Amy Sebring: <http://www.fema.gov/EMI/edu/higher.htm>
These last 2 addresses are the first two IG's posted; the 2 courses Dr. Blanchard mentioned today that are done:
Last one is suggested curriculum outline:<http://www.fema.gov/EMI/edu/emcurr.htm>
Avagene Moore EIIP: Ricardo A. Alvarez's question was about cost of courses, I believe. Guess that is up to the college or educational facility.
Bryan Zak: Thank You - I think we should all spread the word. I really think you are making a wise decision to have the courses be modifiable to all universities, etc. Is there any cost for downloading?
Wayne Blanchard: No, other than the possibly considerable time it might take.
Paper copies, though, must be purchased from the National Technical Information Service of the Dept. of Commerce. One can call 800 553-NTIS for ordering and cost information.
Lloyd Bokman: Thank you, Dr. Blanchard for an interesting discussion. I hope more universities take advantage of this opportunity. We're a growing career field.
Wayne Blanchard: Thank you for your interest. Our goal is to seek the development of a college level program of some sort in a college in every State of the Union. I'm hoping Gilberto might have news of progress at the University of Puerto Rico and their Emergency Management initiative?
Gilberto Guevara: The latest is the implementation of the Puerto Rico Emergency Management Information System (PREMIS) which is to be the digital library for the professors working on the certificate program. Progress is slow but UPR will come out this summer with the announcement about their certificate program.
Wayne Blanchard: Can I put in my request now, for a copy Gilberto?
Gilberto Guevara: Yes, we owe much to you.
Avagene Moore EIIP: Wayne, again --- thanks for a wonderful presentation today. Your efforts are much appreciated. Hope it wasn't too stressful on you and Dennis. Thanks to Dennis also.