There are two broad classes of challenges (problems and opportunities) that may be addressed by educators in the academic and practice domain of Emergency and Disaster Management (EDM). Graduate education programs should acknowledge both kinds when formulating and presenting curricula and courses. However, the conventional approach is to treat all problems as part of a single type as if there is a one-size-fits-all premise underpinning how to think about, frame, decide, respond, and follow-up to EDM problems. I argue that a second conceptualization of EDM challenges should be formally acknowledged and added. I also argue that to adequately appreciate the second class of problems, EDM faculty and learners need to add a second mindset which will support new language, frameworks, concepts, theories, practices and understanding. This is not an “either-or” it is an “and” change, and it is not trivial. It may require reformulation of some of the cases used to illustrate EDM situations as well as reconsideration of some decisions about why certain intervention practices are appropriate. In this paper, I describe the two problem types, present concepts relevant to each, and suggest a pathway to adjust EDM curricula and courses so both are addressed in education. I conclude with cautions for this difficult but necessary endeavor.
Starr, PhD, Larry M., "Emergency and Disaster Management Requires Complex Systems Thinking and Practices" (2023). School of Business Faculty Papers. Paper 1.