Report of Findings from the 2015 Survey Part One: Emerging, Draft Curriculum Standards and Bachelor’s Program Content Standards



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Report of Findings from the 2015 Survey Part One:

Emerging, Draft Curriculum Standards and Bachelor’s Program Content Standards

Background

A two part survey effort was initiated in January 2015 to gather feedback on the curriculum structure and bachelor’s program content standards initially drafted by the accreditation working group in fall 2014. The first part of the survey effort gathered feedback upon which revision of the standards would be based while at the same time gauging the extent to which institutions offering one or more degree programs in emergency management supported the standards developed. Depending on the extent to which the standards were supported across institutions offering one or more emergency management programs, the second part of the survey effort would gather feedback regarding how programs would recommend that the standards would be documented or demonstrated as met. This short report relates the findings from the first part of the survey effort. All other reports regarding the efforts of the accreditation working group are available at: http://training.fema.gov/hiedu/emfoundation.aspx.



Methods

A list of institutions offering one or more emergency management degree programs was developed from the FEMA Higher Education Program College List—the list included a total of 114 institutions. On January 6, 2015 an official invitation to participate in the survey was sent each individual responsible for an institution’s emergency management degree program(s). A reminder email was sent on January 15, 2015; another reminder was sent on the 27th of January; and, a final reminder was sent on February 10, 2015. Each contact included a link to the survey within the email and an attached copy of the survey for review prior to completing the survey. In total, the representative of the institution’s emergency management program(s) was contacted 4 times with a request to participate.

Upon following the link to the survey but before accessing the survey, participants were asked whether they were authorized to speak on behalf of their institution’s emergency management degree program(s). If the potential participant answered no, they were directed to a disqualification page. If the potential participant answered yes, they were directed to the first page of the survey which asked them to identify their name and position, their institution, and the type of degree program(s) their institution offers.

The survey, hosted by SurveyMonkey.com, was comprised of copy and pasted sections of the curriculum structure and bachelors program content standards with essay boxes for specific feedback provided after each. Participants were instructed before each section of standards/essay box to provide specific, detailed feedback on the standards outlined and told that in the absence of feedback it would be assumed that the program(s) could live with what is written. The survey is provided in Appendix A.

When the survey closed 63 of the 114 institutions offering one or more degree programs, or 55% of the population, were represented including 49 institutions that are supportive of accreditation and for which a representative completed a survey and 14 institutions who have weighed in on the accreditation issue previously and/or this time but are not supportive of emergency management accreditation for their program (their comments, when offered, are included in the data). The list of represented and unrepresented institutions is identified in Appendix B.
The feedback was analyzed by section for themes after deleting any general comments indicating consensus. The themes by section are briefly reported in the Results section.

Results

The primary finding of this survey is that there is significant consensus about curriculum structure and program content standards for bachelor’s degree programs across the representatives of institution’s offering emergency management degrees who participated in this survey. Feedback was solicited in four sections. Positive feedback/consensus was observed across over 70% of those responding in three of the four sections—the fourth section demonstrated positive feedback/consensus across 65% of those responding. Even where specific feedback was provided, very few themes were found among the comments.

Very little feedback was provided regarding the Program Objectives and Curriculum Structure Section (n=8); yet, within the feedback there was a strong theme of concern about the standard requiring that program assessment data be publicly accessible. The exact nature of the concern expressed varied somewhat across those addressing the issue. Nevertheless, the working group may wish to consider clarifying and/or revising the standard’s language when it meets next. A breakdown of the data from this section and the specific feedback provided are available in Appendix C.

Very little feedback was provided with respect to the Program Content Section: Foundational Topics Standards either (n=8). Within the feedback, there was no theme across any of the comments provided. A breakdown of the data from this section and the specific feedback provided are available in Appendix D.

Even less feedback was provided about the Program Content Section: Mission Areas (n=5), and, again, within this feedback there was no theme. A breakdown of the data from this section and the specific feedback provided are in Appendix E.

Of the four sections of the survey, the Program Content Section: Experiential Learning and Skills, attracted the most feedback (n=12). Of the 12 comments left, 7 concerned the standard requiring 150 hours of internship or practicum. The working group will want to examine these comments and develop a response to the community of institutions offering emergency management degrees and/or consider clarification or revision of the standard’s language. A breakdown of the data from this section and the specific feedback is provided in Appendix F.



Conclusion

Participants provided valuable feedback on the emerging, draft curriculum structure and bachelor’s program content standards. The data suggests there are few areas for the working group to focus on revising when it next meets. In fact, significant consensus regarding the standards was observed. It would appear appropriate for the working group to move forward with Part Two of the survey effort based on the data.



Appendix A. Survey






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