Edited Version of January 6, 1999
EIIP Classroom Online Presentation
"University of Richmond
Emergency Management Bachelor Degree Program
Crisis Operations Manager Certification"
Assistant Professor, MPA, CEM
The original transcript of the January 6, 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 EIIP Virtual Classroom! And Happy New Year to All. It is good to be back.
One quick note about any URLs that may be used in the session; they are live links and you can click on them and view the referenced site in your browser window.
Our topic today is the Emergency Services Management degree programs at the University of Richmond, and the Crisis Operations Manager certification.
Our special guest is Walter Green, Assistant Professor, MPA, CEM and Program Director. Walter's background includes 28 years of experience in emergency medical services, search and rescue, military disaster preparedness, and the management of large scale operations. He also serves as Director of Emergency Operations for the Virginia Office of Emergency Medical Services and ESF-8 manager for the Commonwealth of Virginia.
After Walter's presentation, we will have Q&A; we ask you to hold your questions and comments until that time.
Walter, thank you very much for taking time to be with us today.
Walter Green: Thanks Amy --- it is a pleasure to be here today, and I look forward especially to the questions at the end.
The University of Richmond is a mid-size school located in Richmond, Virginia, with a focus on liberal education --- for the 5th straight year ranked as the best regional university in the South.
The evening school is known as the School of Continuing Studies. The School presents degree programs in paralegal, human resource management, information systems, liberal arts, and emergency services management. Our programs include an undergraduate 30 semester hour Certificate, an Associate's degree, a Bachelor's degree and a Post Baccalaureate Certificate.
The School's web site is at <http://www.richmond.edu/~contstud/index.html>
Emergency services management is an interdisciplinary program involving fire, emergency medical services, law enforcement, emergency management, business continuity, voluntary agencies --- anyone with an emergency role.
We don't try to teach how to be the best at a skill, but rather how to manage your emergency service in the context of your entire community in the 21st century --- in short, managing the integrated emergency management system.
The program developed out of a public-private partnership between the University and the Virginia Office of EMS to meet needs for higher education in management for leaders of rescue agencies. We deliberately went with the integrated emergency management approach because all public safety agencies have similar types of problems and because we all have to learn to work together to be effective. And we do offer a minor that lets students in our business oriented programs develop skills they may need either as volunteer leaders in emergency agencies or in jobs that require business continuity knowledge.
Our typical student is a early to mid-career individual, already working for an emergency service with excellent skills in their discipline and who is looking for qualification for promotion. However, we would certainly welcome younger, more traditional students.
Based on the wide variety of course offerings it is actually possible to earn a Bachelor's degree at night as quickly as in the day time. Classes are primarily evening and weekend classes. This year we have started Internet delivery in a 15 sessions on line, two Saturday sessions on campus format. And we are working on exploring other formats.
You can visit a page for one of our courses at <http://members.tripod.com/~Richmond_ESM/esm300syl1.html>
We have also worked to develop enhancements to our degree program, including an electronic journal, a certification program, and are working on an honorary society for academic excellence.
The Electronic Journal of Emergency Management is a peer reviewed academic journal. We welcome student, faculty, and practitioner papers. The Journal can be viewed at <http://members.tripod.com/~Richmond_ESM/index.html>
We are offering a professional certification for people who manage the response phase of emergencies, the Certified Crisis Operations Manager. Current information on CCOM is at <http://members.tripod.com/~Richmond_ESM/ccom.html>
The CCOM credential is based on a full day examination including your knowledge, decision-making skills, ability to prioritize work, and ability to operate in the team environment in an EOC.
One of our goals has been to encourage high academic standards and lifelong professional learning. To this end we are working on the formation of a local honorary society, Rho Epsilon Mu. We would welcome interest from other colleges and universities in forming chapters of this society.
Our major initiative for the coming year is exploration of how to offer a Master of Science Degree in Crisis Management. We would welcome help in trying to define the market for specialized degrees in emergency management and how we could best meet the need. We do plan to have this degree up and running in the Fall of 1999.
If anyone wants specific information on any of our programs,
please e-mail me at <firstname.lastname@example.org>
That's Emergency Services Management at the University of Richmond. I will turn it back to Amy now for questions and answers.
Amy Sebring: Thank you, Walter. If you have a question or comment, please indicate by inputting a question mark (?) to the chat screen. Then compose your question but hold it until you are recognized. We are ready for your questions now.
Amy Sebring: While we are waiting, I would like to ask about what per cent of your students are from public vs. private sectors?
Walter Green: The majority are public sector. However, we do have some out of the nuclear power industry and business continuity.
Jose Musse: Courses in Spanish?
Walter Green: Not yet. I am having enough trouble finding PhD faculty in English but we are very interested in developing the capability to teach globally, including in Latin America.
Burt Wallrich: Does your program include information about the role of local nonprofit organizations (not national disaster organizations like ARC) in disaster relief and recovery? In recent major events the local CBOs have provided essential services. That is being recognized and incorporated into local government disaster plans in several areas.
Walter Green: Yes, we do have volunteers from a variety of agencies. However, for many agencies funding college for their students is expensive.
Burt Wallrich: I was thinking more about whether you are educating your government-based students about the potential for incorporating local CBOs into their disaster plans. People who come from a traditional disaster management background sometimes have a blind spot in terms of long-range human services in recovery.
Walter Green: Yes, we teach an integrated approach --- you can't be integrated without including not only the big volunteers, but also the small volunteers, and the voluntary agencies that don't even look like regular voluntary agencies.
Avagene Moore: I missed the first part of your presentation, Walter. Forgive me if you have already answered my question. You mentioned offering some of your classes via the Internet. Have you researched your market audience to find out just how many students you can expect via the Net?
Walter Green: Good question --- now our model is fairly restrictive in that we require two on-campus sessions. We think that is important at the Undergraduate level. For Masters level instruction we may go to a more distance model. We are getting our target of 12 to 15 students per class.
Pilar Toral: I'm interested in what are your plans for Latin America. I teach at the University of Puerto Rico and I'm proposing a Bachelor degree in Emergency Management.
Amy Sebring: Babsims, please. We will come back to Pilar.
Babsims: Do you have participation from professionals in large urban areas?
Walter Green: Yes, our primary traditional market is a metro center in a standard metropolitan statistical area.
Kellye Junchaya: Do you have any introductory classes for people just starting out and without any experience?
Walter Green: Yes, because we teach managing rather than hands on skills, we start with introductory work in a variety of areas. Our minor students are largely people in business or computers with no emergency background.
Kellye Junchaya: Are you looking for materials to use in these programs?
Walter Green: Certainly --- let's e-mail off line.
Amy Sebring: I had promised Pilar we would get back to him regarding Latin America. Do you have any plans in the near future, Walter, or will this be developed over time?
Walter Green: Pilar --- our interest in Latin America has been developed through a Partnership with Santa Catarina province in Brasil and conversations with Jose. We are always interested in exploring partnerships with other universities and perhaps there is a way we can work together to mutual advantage.
Russell Coile: Does your program receive any support from Dr. Wayne Blanchard's project at EMI? Wayne is sponsoring textbooks.
Walter Green: First Russell --- I know I owe you something from IAEM and haven't forgotten. And yes, we are working with the higher education project closely --- however, our focus is a little different in that we are more response phase oriented as an Applied Studies degree.
Paul Harris: Walter, I value your advice re: my career development. I am from Canada (Calgary, Alberta) and I have being involved in emergency planning & training for approximately 6 years now, primarily in the oil & gas industry. I do not have a degree and I have had "hands on" response training as well as planning & exercise design training here in Canada & the States. I would like to 1) increase my knowledge 2) obtain valid certification. Just asking for you advice suggestions re: my career development.
Walter Green: Both education and certification are vital. We are finding that the entry credential now for public safety jobs in any metro area is a Bachelor's and a lot depends on where you plan to work. In today's environment I would say get portable credentials that are widely accepted and that can transfer from state to state and internationally. Perhaps drop me a note and we can talk further.
Paul Harris: My hopes are to continue in emergency planning / training and crisis management planning / training for industry - Thanks I will.
Barbara: I'm involved with a new degree program that will be offered soon and would like to contact you regarding possible partnerships for the Bachelors and eventually a Masters Degree is planned.
Walter Green: Barbara --- please do, we will gladly share our experience.
Jose Musse: I believe we need is South America teleconference, short seminars that help better emergency management system.
Walter Green: Good idea --- one of the real problems in education is matching the student's available time with the time it takes to teach things. And yes, thank you for the material and we are continuing to work on some ideas.
Amy Sebring: Walter, can you share some of your experience with the online courses? What have you learned from that experience?
Walter Green: Online teaching is exciting. My experience is that the students love the flexibility. We use a listserver for distribution of student work and it dramatically increases the amount of participation. I find it stimulating because I can give better quality answers to questions but it takes a lot of time --- 15 hours a week for a 3 semester hour class for the instructor. Student work load is normal.
Barbara: Do you find that given the personality types of the emergency providers that they are more responsive to the online classes than a regular classroom. They are very immediate gratification oriented.
Walter Green: It varies student to student --- some really do prefer the classroom environment. But everybody likes being able to do their work and submit it on a quiet mid-shift from the station.
Barbara: In designing our online courses I'm trying to be creative so that I can keep the students from being overwhelmed by the amount of reading involved.
Walter Green: Barbara, at University of Richmond we really require a lot of reading from everyone - two textbooks and supplementals are normal.
Barbara: That is my requirement also. Thank you.
Gil Gibbs: For the physically impaired, and those with long distances to commute, an online class would be a godsend, also if the local schools are deficient in these areas.
Walter Green: Yes, absolutely, and that is part of why our University got involved with state government. The state Office of EMS wants statewide delivery and Internet is the best way we have found.
Amy Sebring: I am sensing a need here for continuing networking between universities with emergency management programs. Could EIIP help facilitate this in some way?
Walter Green: Certainly --- even if it was only in the form of a regular academic users groups so we could exchange ideas.
Barbara: Amy, I'm all for that. I'm definitely going to be contacting Mr. Green.
Amy Sebring: Perhaps we can follow up with Wayne Blanchard also on that idea. I am sorry but we are just about out of time for today. We will be adjourning to the Virtual Forum room for further open discussion, and you are invited to join us. But first, a word about upcoming events.
Walter Green: Amy - quick debrief?
Amy Sebring: Yes, hope you can stick around for just a few more minutes, Walter?
Walter Green: Absolutely!
Amy Sebring: Thank you so much for an excellent program to start off our New Year. We have an exciting panel next week. Avagene, would you care to do the honors, please?
Avagene Moore: Thanks, Amy. Next Tuesday, 1 PM EST, Round Table discussion available to Partners. As a reminder, on Tuesday, January 26, the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM) will conduct their first monthly Round Table discussion with Phyllis Mann, IAEM President-Elect, as Moderator.
Each monthly Round Table by IAEM will be on a different topic and everyone is invited to participate. Other Partners are urged to conduct Round Table discussions also. Great opportunity to highlight an issue or some emergency management project you are involved. Also builds your communications skills.
Next Wednesday, January 13, we have a panel composed of NFPA 1600 committee members who will talk about the comment period for the proposed NFPA 1600 Standard, how to get the document, how to submit your comments. Very important session with panelists Lloyd Bokman (OH EMA), Robert Fletcher (FEMA), and Pat Moore (Strohl Systems). Everyone involved in any aspect of the emergency management field should be interested in this panel discussion, Wednesday, January 13, 12:00 Noon EST. Back to you, Amy.
Amy Sebring: NFPA 1600: Proposed Standard for Disaster Management. We will also have a Mutual Aid Session tomorrow evening 8:00 PM EST for an evening chat.
And now we will close down the Classroom for today but invite you to join us back in the Virtual Forum room for some follow on open discussion.
Thanks to Walter and to our audience today with excellent participation.