New Emergency & Disaster Management Master's Program to Launch in Partnership with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
November 27, 2012—The Georgetown University School of Continuing Studies and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) have joined forces to create a new master’s program in emergency and disaster management (EDM), which is set to launch in fall 2013. The program will prepare future leaders in emergency management through a unique, immersive learning environment using scenario-based intensives and real-world case studies.
“The national security mission of LLNL aligns strongly with the goals of Georgetown’s EDM program,” said Nancy Suski, deputy program director in LLNL’s Office of Strategic Outcomes and executive director of the EDM program. “The strength of this program is the combination of LLNL’s national security science and technology expertise and Georgetown University’s commitment to educate students to work in service of others.”
This is the first degree-program offering from a partnership between Georgetown and LLNL. The two institutions began collaborating in 2009 under an overarching memorandum of understanding, which was spearheaded by Spiros Dimolitsas, Ph.D., senior vice president and chief technology officer at Georgetown.
LLNL is a government-sponsored laboratory focused on the United States’ security through the development and application of world-class science and technology. The laboratory’s three main pillars are to enhance the nation’s defense, reduce the global threat from terrorism and weapons of mass destruction and respond with vision, quality, integrity and technical excellence to scientific issues of national importance.
A hallmark of the EDM program is immersing students in laboratories that replicate real-world scenarios. Throughout their course of study, students will participate in five on-site intensives that feature disaster scenarios and the technical, legal and ethical considerations that govern them.
Students’ learning experience will benefit from LLNL’s advanced modeling and simulation capability to visualize various disaster scenarios in order to develop the leadership and critical thinking skills necessary to best respond. Each of the scenario-based intensives will offer an opportunity for comparative analysis of different kinds of natural and manmade disasters.
In the third learning module, for example, students will travel to LLNL’s headquarters in California to study the consequences of domestic terrorism. Learning outcomes include understanding the challenges to quantifying and communicating risk for high consequence, low probability events as well as identifying mechanisms to promote civic responsibility and overcome apathy.
Global Executive Program Format
The EDM program features a global executive, cohort-based format that will take students to four different cities while completing the program in one year.
In addition to traveling to LLNL’s headquarters in the San Francisco Bay Area, students will travel to New Orleans, La.; Washington, D.C.; and Doha, Qatar, to participate in real-world scenario laboratories and lectures.
There are five modules that include a combination of face-to-face learning and online coursework. The module titles include emergency and disaster management theory and legal framework, natural disasters, domestic terrorism and international disasters. In the fifth module, students will culminate their experience through an applied capstone project that demonstrates the depth and breadth of knowledge gained through completion of the program’s coursework.
The new EDM program will be the first executive-format program in the school’s Master of Professional Studies degree portfolio.
Preparing Students to Serve Society
“This program will prepare students for careers in emergency and disaster management that are critical to our national and economic security,” said Walter Rankin, interim dean of SCS. “As we saw with Hurricane Sandy last month, there remains a tremendous need to build multidisciplinary teams that span federal, state and local jurisdictions that can act quickly and effectively in the interest of saving lives and protecting communities.”
In keeping with SCS’s practice of offering educational programs that tie to industry, the EDM program will engage with leading industry organizations, subject matter experts and government officials. Students will be taught by faculty members drawn from the field in order to facilitate a curriculum that brings theory to practice. This practice-oriented curriculum is a hallmark of the school’s professional studies graduate programs.
The EDM program will welcome its first cohort of students in fall 2013.