Western to offer online degree in emergency management

CULLOWHEE – In response to a growing need for emergency management professionals in the Western North Carolina region and the nation, Western Carolina University has announced the creation of a new online bachelor’s degree program in emergency management, set to begin in January 2005.

The curriculum will consist of a series of 12 courses, presented back-to-back over the course of two years. All courses will be offered via the Internet.

The program is designed to prepare graduates to assume leadership positions in the field of emergency management in government, non-profit agencies and the private sector.

Students in the program will focus on “preventing, mitigating, responding to, or recovering from natural, man-made or technological disasters,” said Bernard Dougherty, director of Western’s emergency management program.

The interdisciplinary curriculum will address legal, social, procedural and technical developments, and will reflect the application of evolving knowledge and standards in emergency management.

Western is one of only a small number of four-year academic institutions in the United States to offer a bachelor’s degree in emergency management. The on- campus version of the program began last year.

“While the on- campus program benefits the next generation of emergency managers, it doesn’t meet the needs of working professionals who lack a four-year degree but are currently employed in the field of emergency management or a directly related area,” said Dougherty.

“Due to the unpredictable nature of disasters, coupled with the fact that many of these individuals are assigned to rotating shifts or are located far from the Western campus , they are unable to enroll in traditional classes,” said Dougherty. “This program is designed to meet the needs of working professionals.”

Admission to the program will be limited to a maximum of 30 professionals who have at least one year of experience in emergency management or a directly related field and who have already earned at least 60 college credit hours.

For more information, visit the emergency management degree program Web site at http://www.wcu.edu/aps/cj/CJ_courses_EM-gen-info.htm (link no longer active) or contact Dougherty at (828) 227-2328.