…and no, I am not referring to the recent announcement of Paul Ryan as the Republican Vice Presidential nominee.
In case you think I in anyway altered this photo, you can see a similar shot (without the action movie-appropriate words) here from their website:
Obviously, among the many questions that these pictures bring up, is been where and done what exactly? As best as I can tell from the information provided on their website, here are the profiles/resumes of the program’s leaders:
Dr. Audrey Heffron Casserleigh is the Director of the Center for Disaster Risk Policy at Florida State University, and the Director of the Emergency Management and Homeland Security Program in the College of Social Sciences at Florida State University. As Center Director Dr. Heffron Casserleigh manages the intersection of academic research and government projects for a variety of agencies including FEMA, Health and Human Sciences, and the Florida Division of Emergency Management.
Dr. Heffron Casserleigh has written over 20 articles and appears in the press on MSNBC and the AP. She has served as a lecturer and consultant to the US Department of State, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Korean Secret Service, Chinese Academy of Sciences, American and International Red Cross, Ghanian National Disaster Agency and the Italian National Emergency Management Organization. She currently serves on the Directorate Board for the International Society for Crisis and Emergency Management (ISCEM).
As EMHS Director, Dr. Casserleigh has overseen the tremendous growth of the program in the past five years, and she is currently focused on increasing exchanges between FSU and international programs to the benefit of students and faculty. Dr. Casserleigh’s areas of dedicated research include man-made disasters and the organizational behavior of terrorist networks.
David F. Merrick (MS) is the Deputy Director for the Center for Disaster Risk Policy and an Adjunct Instructor in the Emergency Management and Homeland Security Academic Program at Florida State University. As Deputy Director, Mr. Merrick is responsible for managing a $1.4 million research and instructional budget as well as client and project management. Landmark projects have included a nationwide disaster housing resource program for FEMA, extensive training and exercises for the US Department of Health and Human Services Senior Leadership, development of a groudbreaking Special Needs registration program, and the internationally acclaimed TEST (Tabletop Exercise System Technology) used in the United States, Philippines, Korea, Croatia, and the Czech Republic.
Mr. Merrick is a recognized expert in disaster technology systems and has over fifteen years of experience in software design and development. He has conducted extensive research on exercise design and evaluation, special needs populations during a disaster, and the ideological franchising and expansion of terrorist organizations. Mr. Merrick has been sponsored by the US Department of State to conduct emergency management training in Ghana, and has presented research around the world, including Prague (2008), the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing (2010), the Philippines (2010 and 2011), Romania (2011) and the University of Oxford (2012). Mr. Merrick is a current member of the International Emergency Managers Association (IAEM) and The International Emergency Management Society (TIEMS).
Courses taught at FSU include Disaster Systems, Introduction to Terrorism: Preparedness and Response, Homeland Security Policy and Practice, and Advanced Topics in Terrorism. Mr. Merrick has also extensively guest lectured in the Foundations of Emergency Management and Public Health and Emergency Management courses.
His ongoing research is centered around topics such as information and communication technology usage in disaster management, crisis mapping, open source situational awareness, and terrorism.
Okay…so been where doing what exactly again? And the insights gleaned from these experiences to be passed along to the lucky student include…? There doesn’t seem to be any mention of particular “Mega Disasters” or “Global Security” issues that these individuals have personally dealt with or are able to teach about.
I don’t wish to come off as rude or demeaning. They are operating in a serious educational institution and offering education on a very important subject. Their students seem to be working on serious topics in important offices. And I would only want to encourage additional students from all areas of study to consider this field.
However, when the very importance, practicality, and perhaps even existence of this subject as a separate academic field is in question, the choice of this type of advertisement doesn’t help. In fact, if the faculty would take their sunglasses off, they might even notice that the legitimacy of their academic venture is in no way secure. Perhaps it’s time to provide links to those 20 articles Dr. Casserleigh?