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Curricular innovation and emergency management in higher education: Making the general education connection

Jessica Jensen, PhD, Daniel J. Klenow, PhD, George A. Youngs, Jr, PhD

Abstract


Objective: As a distributed function, emergency management in higher education must involve students from outside the field. An introductory emergency management course was redesigned to be attractive and visible to nonmajors via approval for inclusion in the university’s core general education curriculum.

Design: Pre-/post comparisons were made of enrollment data for two interventions intended to broaden the course’s audience. Later, a survey assessed why students took the course.

Setting: A land grant research university serving over 14,000 undergraduate and graduate students.

Participants: Participants were students taking the Department’s introductory course.

Interventions: Two interventions involved the Department’s entry level course originally titled, “Introduction to Emergency Management” and numbered at the sophomore level. First, the Department retitled the course, “Emergencies, Disasters, and Catastrophes,” and renumbered the course at the freshman level. Second, the Department later requested and received approval to have the course accepted in the University’s general education curriculum.

Main outcome measures: Interventions were assessed by examining the average, annual number of nonmajors in the course, as well as, the academic diversity present among nonmajors.

Results: Both interventions, and especially the general education intervention, increased both enrollment measures.

Conclusions: A rapid approval for the course’s inclusion in general education validated faculty’s acceptance of emergency management as an academic discipline while each intervention increased both the number and academic diversity of nonmajors. Long-term, the result should prepare nonemergency management leaders for emergency management as a distributed function.


Keywords


emergency management, higher education, college curriculum, general education, distributed function

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References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5055/jem.2019.0401

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