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NDSU faculty member helps develop curriculum for emergency management school

Posted on 3/8/2013

Carol Cwiak, assistant professor of emergency management at North Dakota State University, is working with The Urban Assembly, a nonprofit organization in New York, to develop curriculum for The Urban Assembly School for Emergency Management.

Cwiak, along with school leaders, design team members, Federal Emergency Management Agency representatives, Red Cross members and community partners, has helped create curriculum that will allow students to either move directly into the workforce after high school graduation or be better prepared for entry into college. The Urban Assembly School for Emergency Management is slated to open in fall 2013 and is the first high school of its kind in the United States.

Throughout the students' high school careers they will be engaged in emergency management specific coursework, ultimately selecting one of three tracks to focus more intently on for their junior and senior years. Students in the program will have an opportunity to use their education from their courses to contribute to community organizations' and businesses' preparedness, mitigation, response, recovery and continuity of operations efforts.

The Urban Assembly was founded in 1990 to address a range of poverty issues in the New York City area. The Urban Assembly now has 21 campuses in New York City which focus on areas such as law, government and justice; civic engagement; math and science for young women; media; criminal justice; design and construction; writers and artists; new technologies; wildlife conversation; and the performing arts.

According to Cwiak, "The Urban Assembly School for Emergency Management is an exciting venture. By allowing high school students access to this type of specialized educational experience we not only create informed citizens who are better able to manage their own risk, we also begin to engage those interested in emergency management at a much younger age. Also of note, this school, and hopefully other schools like it in the future, will help advance two overreaching agendas of the emergency management professional community - increase diversity in the field and create greater connectivity and understanding between emergency management programs and the citizens, businesses and organizations they serve."

NDSU's emergency management program often serves as a model for developing programs. In 2003, the university became a pioneer in the field by becoming one of only a few institutions to offer a master's degree and the only one to offer a doctoral degree in emergency management in the United States. Since then, its faculty have used the program's collective expertise to help other institutions build their programs.

NDSU is recognized as one of the nation's top 108 public and private universities by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education.

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