New Degree at Lander University Prepares Students for Emergency Management

With more than four million residents and 187 miles of stunning, yet hurricane-prone coastlines, there is a lot to be protected in South Carolina. Lander University is introducing a new Master’s program to do just that.

Earlier this year, Lander University added an innovative program to their Master’s curriculum. The Master of Science in Emergency Management was introduced as an online-only major. Lander University is the first institution in South Carolina to offer a master’s program entirely dedicated to the study of emergency management. At the time the proposal process began in 2012, there were only seven universities in the nation offering such a degree.

Charles R.B. Stowe PhD, JD, MBA, the program coordinator for the Master of Science inEmergency Management and assistant vice president for development at Lander University, was integral in getting this program up and running. Dr. Stowe has worked in various capacities of emergency management, bringing more than 30 years of experience as a public affairs officer in the United States Navy. He is also a volunteer in the Joint Services Detachment (JSD), holds the rank of Colonel (JAGS Corps) and serves as the JSD liaison to the South Carolina Emergency Management Division. 

Dr. Stowe said, “We selected this topic on the basis of value to the citizens of South Carolina and our nation. Due to increase in population densities, globalization, and deliberate man-made threats, emergency management is a critical subject for our entire society.”

The degree’s goal is to prepare students for management roles during a natural or man-made disaster, both domestically and worldwide. Graduates will gain the skills to create and enforce sound strategies for handling a wide variety of emergencies, while exploring long-term economic recovery options for their specific organization. The program encourages students to establish a professional network of both fellow students and leaders in their industry, allowing students to broaden their leadership skills in all phases, from planning to responding to full economic recovery. 

Lander has developed the degree to be completed in a two-year timeframe, as long as students take two courses each term, including the summer session. The flexible degree doesn’t require students to take classes in any particular order, with the exception of the introductory course and capstone. Since all classes are online, students can work around their personal and employment schedules. Dr. Stowe said, “We selected the online format to deliver such a program in a convenient format.” Classes offered include: Communications Strategies for Emergency Management, Hurricane and Weather, Leadership for Emergency Management, Emergency Mental Health, and Nuclear Incident Management.

Despite being a new program, Lander University has secured a variety of resources for students, including joining a consortium of universities with access to the largest electronic library on homeland security/emergency management in the world. Dr. Stowe said, “Our faculty and students have access to this resource and our courses involve reading research, including Homeland Security and FEMA publications. This strategy lays the foundation for our graduates to be able to maintain their professional currency in this ever-expanding discipline.”

The inaugural emergency management class at Lander includes several individuals who, because of their positions in government, were consulted in creating the very curriculum they are now taking. Dr. Stowe said, “They thought enough of the curriculum that they are now part of our initial group students.” Dr. Stowe is confident that this program will prepare its students across the wide spectrum of emergency-related careers. He says, “Our graduates will be able to bring a higher level of sophistication and leadership to their organizations by having the ability to formulate sound strategies to deal with a wide variety of emergencies.”

For additional information about the program, visit Lander University.

Article by Deb Peluso