Paul Smith’s College introduces Disaster Management and Response major

Apr 22, 2019 | News

Paul Smith’s College has introduced a new bachelor’s degree in Disaster Management and Response, reflecting a growing demand for professionals tasked with responding to natural and man-made disasters around the world.

These global phenomena, including droughts, floods, wildfires, hurricanes and earthquakes, impact some 60 million annually and according to the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters killed 11,000 in 2018.

“Natural and man-made disasters are increasing in frequency, intensity and complexity, not just far from home but also here in the United States,” said Adam C. Bouloukos, former director of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction and Adirondack resident. “That’s the stark reality of climate change. The new degree program is a critical contribution to help us all rise to the challenge.”

Students will have the opportunity to receive practical training in courses offered in partnership with the FEMA Emergency Management Institute, and over 20 electives are available, including swift water rescue, wildland fire ecology, and community disaster resilience planning. The four-year program aligns with the United Nation’s Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, which focuses on managing risk reduction, sustainable development, and public safety.

At the local level, New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Forest Rangers play an central role in responding to natural disasters, as well as search and rescue throughout the Adirondack Park.

DEC’s Region Five Forest Ranger Captain John Streiff said, “As a proud alumnus and emergency management professional, I congratulate Paul Smith’s College on the addition of the B.S. in Disaster Management and Response degree. The need for trained professionals in emergency management roles is a growing priority in today’s changing world. With the addition of this program, Paul Smith’s College is ensuring students are equipped with the knowledge, training, and tools necessary to succeed in these roles.”

“Disasters are causing more damage to our infrastructure and economies than ever before,” added Becky Sutter, associate professor at Paul Smith’s College. “We have the technology to track and predict natural hazards before they become disasters, yet we often find ourselves underprepared for the magnitude of destruction that is dealt us. Our students will graduate with the Paul Smith’s experiential education that we are renowned for delivering.”

Graduates of the program can expect a number of different career path opportunities, from crisis response project manager to incident commander. According to the US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, these fields are growing at 8 percent, several percentage points higher than the national average.

About Paul Smith’s College
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