Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
More options …

Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management

Editor-in-Chief: Renda-Tanali, Irmak

Managing Editor: McGee, Sibel

IMPACT FACTOR 2018: 0.757

CiteScore 2018: 1.19

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.442
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.613

See all formats and pricing
More options …
Volume 11, Issue 1

The Professionalization of Emergency Management in Institutions of Higher Education

David Farris
  • Corresponding author
  • George Mason University – Emergency Management, 4393 University Drive, MS 5E2 Police and Safety Headquarters, Fairfax, VA 22030, USA
  • Email
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Robert McCreight
Published Online: 2014-01-04 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jhsem-2013-0074


This article explores the development of emergency management as a specialized profession in institutions of higher education (IHE). The authors perform a meta-analysis of existing literature, research, surveys, and best practices to provide an overview of emergency management in IHE in contrast to municipal and county emergency management organizations. A synopsis of institutional emergency management department demographics, typical responsibilities, and regulatory environment is provided to illustrate the unique challenges facing IHE emergency managers. The article concludes with recommendations for the continued maturation of emergency management as a profession within IHE by defining the emergency manager’s role and responsibilities, establishing best practices, and improving access to the field for women and minorities.

Keywords: college; career; emergency management; higher education; university


  • Britton, Neil R. (2002) “A New Emergency Management for a New Millennium?” The Australian Journal of Emergency Management, 16(4):44–54.Google Scholar

  • Bureau of Labor Statistics (2012a) Household Data Annual Averages, Table 11, “Employed Persons by Detailed Occupation, Sex, Race, and Hispanic or Latino Ethnicity.” Available at: http://www.bls.gov/cps/cpsaat11.pdf.

  • Bureau of Labor Statistics (2012b) Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012–13 Edition, “Data for Occupations Not Covered in Detail.” Available at: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/about/data-for-occupations-not-covered-in-detail.htm.

  • Bureau of Labor Statistics (2013) Occupational Employment Statistics, “Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2012: 11-9161 Emergency Management Directors.” Available at: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes119161.htm (last modified March 29, 2013).

  • Carlson, Scott (2013) “In Disasters, Colleges Take On New Mission: Providing Shelter and Aid,” The Chronicle of Higher Education (accessed November 10, 2013).Google Scholar

  • Clarke, Wes (2006) Emergency Management in County Government: A National Survey. Report, Carl Vinson Institute of Government, University of Georgia. Available at: http://www.naco.org/newsroom/pubs/Documents/Emergency%20Management%20in%20County%20Government.pdf.

  • Clery Act – Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act. (1990) 20 U.S.C. § 1092(f), with implementing regulations in 34 C.F.R. § 668.46.Google Scholar

  • Cwiak, Carol (2011) “Next Steps in Emergency Management’s Professionalization Process: Who Will Be the Gatekeeper of the Profession of Emergency Management?” In: (J. Hubbard, ed.) Challenges of Emergency Management in Higher Education: Planning and Strategies. Fairfax, Va.: Public Entity Risk Institute, pp. 9–18.Google Scholar

  • Cwiak, Carol (2012) Shaping the Future: A Status Report on Emergency Management in Higher Education 2012 FEMA Higher Education Program Report. Report, North Dakota State University.Google Scholar

  • Egnoto, Michael J., Elena Svetieva, Arun Vishwanath and Christopher R. Ortega (2013) “Diffusion of Emergency Information during a Crisis within a University,” Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, 10(1):1–21.Google Scholar

  • Farris, David (2012) “Leveraging Organizational Structure in Safety and Emergency Preparedness Programs,” Journal of Chemical Health and Safety, 19(4):9–14.Google Scholar

  • Federal Emergency Management Agency (2003) Building a Disaster-Resistant University. FEMA 443. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office. Available at: http://mitigation.eeri.org/files/FMEA443.disaster.resist.univ.pdf.

  • Findthedata.org (2013) Compare Emergency Management Director Salaries. Available at: http://salaries-by-city.findthedata.org/d/t/Emergency-Management-Directors.

  • Higher Education Opportunity Act (2008) 34 CFR § 668.46 and 34 CFR § 668.49. Public Law 110-315.Google Scholar

  • Hite, Monique (2003) The Emergency Manager of the Future. Summary of the Disasters Roundtable Workshop, Washington, D.C., June 13. Available at: http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=10801.

  • Kapucu, Naim (2010) Disaster Resilient Universities Survey Results. Report, Department of Public Administration, University of Central Florida. Available at: http://www2.cohpa.ucf.edu/cpnm/documents/DRUSurveyResultsFinal05042010.pdf.

  • Latonero, M. and Irina Shklovski (2011) “Emergency Management, Twitter, and Social Media Evangelism,” International Journal of Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management, 3(4):1–16.Google Scholar

  • Lucus-McEwen, Valerie (2011) “What You Should Know about Emergency Management Degrees,” Emergency Management Magazine, January 14. Available at: http://www.emergencymgmt.com/training/Emergency-Management-Degrees-Careers.html.

  • Marshall, Bruce (1987) “Preface.” In: (T.E. Drabek, ed.) The Professional Emergency Manager: Structures and Strategies for Success. Boulder, Colo: Institute of Behavioral Science. University of Colorado.Google Scholar

  • McCreight, Robert (2009) “Educational Challenges in Homeland Security and Emergency Management,” Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, 6(1):1547–1562.Google Scholar

  • McGuire, Michael and Chris Silvia (2010) “The Effect of Problem Severity, Managerial and Organizational Capacity, and Agency Structure on Intergovernmental Collaboration: Evidence from Local Emergency Management,” Public Administration Review, 70(2): 279–288.Web of ScienceCrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Mintzberg, Henry (1986) “The Professional Bureaucracy.” In: (M. Peterson, ed.) ASHE Reader on Organization and Governance in Higher Education. Lexington, Mass.: Ginn Press, pp. 53–75.Google Scholar

  • Myer, Rick, Richard James and Patrice Moulton (2011) This Is Not a Fire Drill: Crisis Intervention and Prevention on College Campuses. Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar

  • National Association of College and University Business Officers (2009) Results of the National Campus Safety and Security Project Survey. Available at: http://www.nacubo.org/Documents/Initiatives/CSSPSurveyResults.pdf.

  • Neal, David and Brenda Phillips (1995) “Effective Emergency Management: Reconsidering the Bureaucratic Approach,” Disasters, 19(4):327–337.Google Scholar

  • Petak, W. J. (1985) “Emergency Management: A Challenge for Public Administration,” Public Administration Review, 45(s):3–7.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Rothman, Stanley, April Kelly-Woessner and Matthew Woessner (2011) The Still Divided Academy: How Competing Visions of Power, Politics, and Diversity Complicate the Mission of Higher Education. Lanham, Md.: Rowman and Littlefield.Google Scholar

  • Springer, Christine G. (2009) Emergency Managers as Change Agents. Report, School of Environmental and Public Affairs. University of Nevada. Available at: http://digitalscholarship.unlv.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1345&context=sea_fac_articles.

  • Sullivan, Dennis (2011) “Higher Education Emergency Management Survey,” Journal of Chemical Health and Safety, 19(4):36–43.Google Scholar

  • Sutkus, Adam, Phyllis Cauley and Nicole Ugarte (2011) What Is the Correct Role of an Emergency Manager? Report, Center for Collaborative Policy, California State University.Google Scholar

  • Texas, Office of the Governor (2013) RP57-Relating to Implementing Recommendations from the Governor’s Task Force on Evacuation, Transportation, and Logistics. Available at: http://governor.state.tx.us/news/executive-order/3631/ (last modified March 21, 2006).

  • University of Oregon (2012) Second Annual DRU Emergency Management Salary Survey. Emergency Management and Continuity Program, University of Oregon.Google Scholar

  • University of Texas Arlington (2013) Emergency Management Coordinator. Available at: http://www.uta.edu/hr/compensation/job-descriptions/6000/Emergency-Management-Coordinator.php.

  • U.S. Department of Commerce (2012) Field of Bachelor’s Degree in the United States: 2009 American Community Survey Report (ACS-18). Available at: http://www.census.gov/prod/2012pubs/acs-18.pdf.

  • U.S. Department of Education. Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools (2010) Action Guide for Emergency Management at Institutions of Higher Education. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. Available at: http://rems.ed.gov/docs/REMS_ActionGuide.pdf.

  • U.S. Department of Education. Office of Elementary and Secondary Education. Office of Safe and Healthy Students (2013) A Guide for Developing High-Quality Emergency Operations Plans. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. Available at: http://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/REMS%20K-12%20Guide%20508_0.pdf.

  • Virginia, Commonwealth, Office of the Governor (2011) “Executive Order No. 41 (2011) Continuing Preparedness Initiatives in State Government and Affirmation of the Commonwealth of Virginia Emergency Operations Plan.” Available at: http://www.governor.virginia.gov/PolicyOffice/ExecutiveOrders/viewEO.cfm?eo=41&pdf=yes.

  • Weick, Karl (1976) “Educational Organizations as Loosely Coupled Systems,” Administrative Science Quarterly, 21:1–19.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Wilson, Jennifer and Arthur Oyola-Yemaiel (2001) “The Evolution of Emergency Management and the Advancement towards a Profession in the United States and Florida,” Safety Science, 39:117–131.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Zdziarski, Eugene, Norbert Dunkel and Michael Rollo (2007) Campus Crisis Management: A Comprehensive Guide to Planning, Prevention, Response, and Recovery. San Francisco: Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar

About the article

David Farris

David Farris, MBA, is Director of Emergency Management and Fire Safety at George Mason University in Fairfax Virginia. He has over nine years of experience working in higher education and is pursuing a PhD in Higher Education Administration from George Mason University’s College of Education and Human Development.

Robert McCreight

Robert McCreight, spent 26 years at the State Department and 27 years concurrent Special Operations Army Service handling crisis management, terrorism, intelligence, weapons proliferation and NATO policy planning. He has taught graduate programs in crisis and emergency management at George Washington, Georgetown, and Penn State Universities.

Corresponding author: David Farris, George Mason University – Emergency Management, 4393 University Drive, MS 5E2 Police and Safety Headquarters, Fairfax, VA 22030, USA, e-mail:

Published Online: 2014-01-04

Citation Information: Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, Volume 11, Issue 1, Pages 73–94, ISSN (Online) 1547-7355, ISSN (Print) 2194-6361, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jhsem-2013-0074.

Export Citation

©2014 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston.Get Permission

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in