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Will Emergency Management Programs Get the Axe at Universities?

Enrollment is down overall at colleges and universities.

Everyone should understand that emergency management programs at institutions of higher learning are small potatoes when compared to other academic fields of study.

Thus, when budget cuts are needed, the smaller programs with fewer faculty and hardly any defenders can go on the chopping block.

I picked up this story on LinkedIn (sorry no link — paywall):

NDSU budget cuts could end graduate program for emergency management. As many as 24 degree programs could face elimination as North Dakota State University seeks to cut $7.6 million from its budget.

It was after the terrorist attacks of 9/11 that we saw the explosion of new emergency management programs at the college level. Perhaps, this is the beginning of the retraction in that expansion. Note that the above example is for a masters program.

All universities, perhaps exempting the ivy league schools, are facing enrollment declines. Here in Washington State at the community college level one person said that enrollment is down 30%. That seems really high. When I Google the trend nationally it said,1% down.

There are pressures in our culture for a decline. The high cost of a university education, declining student base from which to draw from; and, alternative education opportunities that cost less and are not residential.

The shakeout in higher education will be sure to touch emergency management programs. Those with a poor reputation will likely falter and go by the wayside.
Eric Holdeman is a contributing writer for Emergency Management magazine and is the former director of the King County, Wash., Office of Emergency Management.