2-Year Emergency Management Programs, Part II: Establishing the Foundation

This blog contains excerpts from the “Planning Resource for Developing a Two-Year Emergency Management Academic Program” (March 2019) and reflects the collective contribution of the time and expertise of several individuals sharing their dedication to preparing the next generation of emergency management professionals.

Join the national community of two-year emergency management program discussion!

Did you know that FEMA Higher Education Program  includes Special Interest Groups (SIG) to inform the emergency management profession through education and to promote and connect our nation’s academic community members?  This effort includes a SIG entitled Collaboration, Connection, and Commitment of 2-Year Emergency Management Programs.  The next few weeks of the blog will focus on planning resources for two-year programs. This week, let’s look at establishing the foundation for two-year programs.

Establish the Foundation

Program success is contingent upon many factors. FEMA research products and educational andragogy play an important role to guide course content, data sources, software products, and analytical tools. Case studies, lessons learned, after-action reports, and service learning components all establish relevance and provide the real-world connection between the classroom and current and future work environment. The program foundation begins with industry engagement, market audience identification, program utility refinement, and degree type determination linking to desired professional hiring standards and workforce needs.

Advisory Committees

Program advisory committees outline local expectations and needs. The process for advisory committee engagement is varied, as some begin with the program justification data collection and synthesis while others are developed after program approval. As program advocates, committee members will assist with the full curriculum development and provide resources in terms of guest speakers, field trips, classroom application activities, internships, and apprenticeship opportunities. Consider the value of including a few internal key stakeholders on your committee.

Market Research

Conduct market feasibility studies and a guiding document review process. Consider reviewing the State Master Plan for Higher Education, county Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Plans, Academic Management Plans, the specific institutional strategic plan, and annual priorities documents.

Program Utility and Degree Type

Determine the spectrum of program utility and degree designation by exploring the academic or career pathway from the perspective of the student, articulation opportunities, and parameters of your institution. Consider whether the program is designed to transfer to a four-year institution or provide immediate workforce ready skills with the option of transferring to another institution mid-career or to a specialty training program or academy.

Two-year degree designations are varied and include Associate of Arts (AA), Associate of Science (AS), and Associate of Applied Science (AAS). The AA and AS degrees frequently carry the designator of transfer programs and are designed as completion points with the goal of transferring to a four-year institution without loss of credit and positioning the student to enroll as a “junior” in the degree progression. The AAS degree positions students with an academic credential designed to meet entry level workforce employment standards.  Explore articulation agreements, often termed 2+2 agreements, and consult the FEMA Higher Education College list for partnering opportunities.

Curriculum Approvals

Familiarize yourself with internal and external approval entities’ processes, documentation, and timelines, including the college curriculum committee, state higher education commission, and regional accreditation body.

Join us next week as we look at Course Level Differentiation considerations.  In the meantime, please enjoy our one-pager that we created.  It’s designed to help programs get started using the resource we’re discussing! Promote2YearCritInfluencers

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