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Evolution of an experiential learning partnership in emergency management higher education

Claire Connolly Knox, PhD, Alan S. Harris, CEM, FPEM


Experiential learning allows students to step outside the classroom and into a community setting to integrate theory with practice, while allowing the community partner to reach goals or address needs within their organization. Emergency Management and Homeland Security scholars recognize the importance, and support the increased implementation, of this pedagogical method in the higher education curriculum. Yet challenges to successful implementation exist including limited resources and time. This longitudinal study extends the literature by detailing the evolution of a partnership between a university and office of emergency management in which a functional exercise is strategically integrated into an undergraduate course. The manuscript concludes with a discussion of lessons learned from throughout the multiyear process.


emergency management higher education, community partnership, experiential learning, functional exercise

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