About the Academy:
The Emergency Management Academy is a member of the FEMA Higher Education Consortium and the Emergency Management Higher Education Consortium, is a partner of the International Association of Emergency Managers-USA, the International Association of Emergency Managers-Oceania, the International Network of Women in Emergency Management, and the Emergency Management Forum.
Why Develop a Program That is Not a University Degree or Certification?
In one word: Mastery. We wanted to help our Fellows master the disaster science or ambulance science. Not theory as a dry, boring subject, but theory as a really exciting subject that changes the way you think about your job. Our best disaster science example is E.L. Quarentelli- getting emergency managers to read his 40-year body of work on all aspects of our profession fundamentally changes the way emergency managers think.
At the same time, this small group of professors were becoming more demoralized by the way universities were run:
-Although emergency management programs generally taught key concepts, they did not teach them in any organized fashion. At the end of your degree program, you could not easily sum up what you had learned-there was no "elevator pitch", because there was no cohesive theme of what you learned.
-Universities are too expensive, having significantly exceeded the rate of inflation for over 20 years. Even accounting for inflation, Harvard tuition is more than 500% more expensive than it was in 1970.
-Universities are hamstrung by bureaucracy and the lack of technology. Working students frequently had to take a day off to come in person to manage cryptic financial aid or registration problems. To make matters worse, the university's idea of "high-tech" was a carbonless triplicate form.
-Students were forced to pay for services they would never use. Student activity fees often added hundreds of dollars of costs for working students, forcing them to pay for upgraded gyms they would never use and student clubs they had no interest in.
-Students faced endless non-essential requirements. Wonder why you needed to take a anthropology class for your emergency management degree? University programs need faculty consensus to get new programs online, and to do so trade off course requirements with other academic departments. This increases both cost and time for students, with limited value in return.
-Universities prefer their rules to the real world. They would rather admit a 21-year old with a Bachelor's Degree but NO experience than an emergency manager with 20 years of experience to a Master's Degree Program. In fact, most won't even consider that experienced emergency manager at all.
Almost all of this is directly mirrored in Futurist Thomas Frey's paper, "The Future of Colleges and Universities: Blueprint for a Revolution". We may be at the leading edge, but we are not alone!
So we began to discuss with experienced emergency managers exactly what they wanted- They did want more education and wanted it to fit into their life. They wanted to read more emergency management theory and talk about how the concepts could be applied to their jobs. They thought the whole point of undergraduate education was to help you get the job- if you were doing it, they didn't see why you shouldn't be able to start at the Master's level in order to learn the theory. They didn't want to take a lot of of non-emergency management courses, waste their time with university bureaucracy, be in class filled with 21-year olds, or write long papers. They were willing to pay a fair price, but not $40,000 a year.
Mastery, as one of the best human motivators, is discussed in this GREAT video by the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufacturers and Commerce. (We promise that it is worth viewing!)
So What DOES the Academy Do?
So over the course of two years, we formed the Academy because we think we can do it better. Here's what we believe:
-We are not a university and do not want to be. We want the profession to drive what we teach, not a university committee. We want to be a focused, lean, learning program that does a limited number of things very well. We will be happy to help you translate this program into college credit through the credit-by-assessment programs offered by universities such as Charter Oak State College, Thomas Edison State College, or Empire State College.
-We look for partnerships that benefit everybody: We have agreements with the University of Canterbury's Centre for Risk, Resilience, and Renewal to give our Fellows advanced standing in their Graduate Certificate in Public Safety.
-We are really, really interested in high-quality education. Our whole concept is based around a specific, valid Body of Knowledge defined by emergency managers. All of our faculty have advanced degrees and real-world experience in emergency management.
-We do not want to waste your time, ever.
-Just because you don't have a degree, we won't treat you like you're stupid.
-We know our participants will be our best salespeople. Satisfied participants who know the value of what they have learned will validate the program to the industry.
-We don't want to do it all. We have only two programs and one teaching structure, and although it may evolve, it is why we are doing it- to teach disaster & ambulance science to practitioners. We are not interested in being a generic program.