Lawrence Livermore, Georgetown partner to create master's program in emergency, disaster management

Nov. 28, 2012

Lawrence Livermore, Georgetown partner to create master's program in emergency, disaster management

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and the Georgetown University School of Continuing Studies 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 simulations 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 a memorandum of understanding, spearheaded by Spiros Dimolitsas, senior vice president and chief administrative officer at Georgetown.

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 exercises 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.

In the third learning module, for example, students will travel to LLNL 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.

The EDM program will take students to four different cities while completing the program in one year. In addition to LLNL, students will travel to New Orleans, 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.

"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."