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Nov. 15, 2013
Northwest Missouri State University’s comprehensive crisis response program has witnessed considerable growth since its launch in 2009, and the University is taking steps to sustain that growth and enhance the program.
Most recently, the University renamed the program as Emergency and Disaster Management (EDM). With the name change, Northwest also is implementing enhancements to program coursework, including the addition of an independent study in emergency and disaster management.
Seeing a need for crisis response workers and a demand for people educated in the field, Northwest launched its unique EDM program as an interdisciplinary minor in 2009. The program places an emphasis on the development of leadership and followership skills along with hands-on field experiences.
“Our program is special in that it’s a combination of a traditional, residential college experience that focusses on both the theoretical components of emergency and disaster management and a substantial field experience component,” said Dr. Mark Corson, professor of geography and EDM program coordinator.
This fall, Northwest hosted the Missouri Hope Disaster Response Field Training Exercise, providing students with an intensive three-day domestic disaster training experience. Other course topics include disaster response and recovery, principles of humanitarian relief, disaster psychology, natural disasters and crisis communication.
Chance Long, a senior EDM and political science major from Kansas City, Mo., says being a student in the program has helped her learn to be a better leader as well as how to respond to stressful environments.
“The intensity of the hands-on disaster simulations have taught me how to lead a group and learn from my mistakes as well as how to stay calm and collected,” Long said. “Being able to respond to situations within this major allows us hands-on practice of life skills that can be applied to everyday situations. When a disaster does hit, you are ready.”
According to Bureau of Labor statistics, employment in emergency management is expected to grow by 22 percent by 2018, and the highest concentration of jobs lie in the Great Plains region. Events in the past decade, nationally and globally, have increased the professionalization of emergency management, particularly through FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security. Northwest designed its EDM program with that in mind.
Northwest’s program, which is the only comprehensive residential emergency and disaster management program in the region, expanded to become an academic major in 2012 and now enrolls about 60 students. Course instruction is provided by Northwest faculty and staff who have regional and national roles in emergency management, including Corson, who served as a commanding general in the U.S. Army Reserve and has completed multiple deployments to Iraq.
“Our catch phrase is ‘Be a responder and not a victim,’” Corson said. “Crises happen all the time. You can never tell when and where they will happen. People who are trained and ready will be able to take care of their families and neighbors, and they will be a responder and not a victim.”
For more information about Northwest’s Emergency and Disaster Management program, visit www.nwmissouri.edu/socialsciences/programs/emergency.htm.
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468