OCU Disaster Management Program Ahead of the Game

FEMA LogoThe Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA, held their annual Emergency Management Higher Education conference in Emmitsburg, Maryland.  Thaddeus Hicks, Disaster Management and Relief Program Director at Ohio Christian University attended the conference, representing Ohio Christian University.  The FEMA Higher Education conference brings faculty together from universities in The United States offering emergency or disaster based degrees programs.  Hicks stated, "Our program is relatively new so we have a lot to learn from these other programs that have been operating for a number of years."  The conference provides an opportunity to meet and discuss current issues with other schools

Ohio Christian University had an information table set up to disseminate information about the Disaster Management program.  The Disaster Management program at OCU created a small buzz in that it is clear that OCU is ahead of the game when it comes to other Christian Universities.  Hicks added, "With so much of the initial work in an emergency situation being done by faith based groups, Christian schools should be working on this, however very few are. We are well ahead of the game."  The majority of the schools represented were public or private secular schools.  Faith Based institutions were a clear minority.

A goal of FEMA is to encourage and support the dissemination of hazard, disaster, and emergency management-related information in colleges and universities across the U.S. The Emergency Management Higher Education Program's director, Dr. Wayne Blanchard said in the opening ceremonies of the conference, "The state of emergency management education is good."  FEMA recognizes that in the future more and more emergency managers in government as well as in business and industry will come to the job with college education that includes a degree in emergency management.  FEMA also believes that in order to build disaster resistant and resilient communities a broad range of college students and professionals need courses that introduce them to hazards, risk, vulnerability, disasters, and what to do about them. 

The Emergency Management Institute in Emmitsburg, Maryland, in 1994 developed the Emergency Management Higher Education Program with the aim of promoting college-based emergency management education for future emergency managers and other interested personnel.

The primary goal of the FEMA Emergency Management Higher Education Program is to work with colleges and universities, emergency management professionals, and stakeholder organizations to help create an emergency management system of sustained, replicable capability and disaster loss reduction through formal education, experiential learning, practice, and experience centered on mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery from the full range of natural, technological and intentional hazards which confront communities, States and the Nation.