Issues, Principles and Attitudes

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Unformatted text preview: Degree 4 Yr. Degree Some Grad Courses Master's Degree Doctoral Degree Participants were also asked whether they were currently enrolled in a college or university and if so, in what level program. Only four (4) of the participants reported current enrollment, with three (3) at the master's level and one (1) at the doctoral level. Although the participants were selected and categorized based on predetermined groupings, participants were asked to self-identify their primary function in emergency management as practitioner, academic or consultant. Participants were not informed what group designation they were placed in by the researcher in the solicitation for their participation in the study, merely that three groups of select individuals - academics, practitioners and consultants were being solicited. Arguably, it was not difficult for many participants to discern what group they were included in; however, due to some crossover between practitioners and academics, and practitioners and consultants, self identification did vary slightly from the singular group identification attributed by the researcher. Indeed, a number of participants (n= 4) felt that their primary function could not be fairly stated as exclusive to one category. Participant Self-Identification Academic 11% 29% 23% Consultant 37% Identify with more than one area Practitioner Participants were asked to indicate their prior work experience in a number of areas. With the exception of military service, the participants prior experience was fairly equally represented across the areas they were asked about. 6 Issues, Principles And Attitudes Oh My! Examining Perceptions from Select Academics, Practitioners And Consultants on the Subject of Emergency Management Carol L. Cwiak, North Dakota State University PRIOR EXPERIENCE n= 35 YES 51% 29% 60% 46% 40% NO 49% 72% 40% 54% 60% EDUCATION MILITARY SERVICE PRIVATE INDUSTRY EMERGENCY RESPONSE FIELD OTHER Characteristics A number of years ago Dr. B. Wayne Blanchard created a list of characteristics and skill sets that he believed were indicative of the "stereotypical" emergency manger and the "new generation" of emergency managers. Blanchard's comparison of those presently in the field, with those who are emerging as specifically college-educated in the field and represent the trend toward professionalization, portrays some of the theoretical shifts the field is undergoing, as well as the challenges that professionalization as a process entails. The survey participants were asked to indicate the extent to which they agreed with these two lists of characteristics utilizing a five point Likert scale that ranged from Strongly Disagree to Strongly Agree. For the most part there was agreement with both the "stereotypical" characteristics (see Table 2) and the "new generation" characteristics (see Table 3) across the groups, albeit most characteristics did not receive the strongest level of agreement possible. Of interest are those characteristics that split across two or more points of the Likert scale. Points that were selected by eight (8) or more participants (which represented most closely 25% for this measure with an n= 33 on most characteristics) have been highlighted in the tables. A listing of "stereotypical" and "new generation" characteristics by their means (see Table 1) allows for a greater appreciation of the level of agreement each characteristic enjoyed. The higher the mean the greater the agreement level with the characteristic as being representative of the "stereotypical" or "new generation". The "new generation" characteristics evidenced a more compact mean range of 3.09 - 3.91 than the "stereotypical" characteristics mean range of 2.85 4.34. A handful of the participant's comments specifically focused on the characteristics and noted the rub these characteristics have been known to cause when they are viewed by the practitioner community as being a commentary of academic credentials (or more simply put "education") being superior to experience (for an extended discussion on this see Bringing Practitioners Into the Fold: Practical Suggestions for Bridging the Divide Between Students and Practitioners, Cwiak 2005 at http://www.training.fema.gov/EMIWeb/edu/pracpaper.asp). Additional comments also focused on the inadequacy of the characteristics as an accurate measure and the difficulty inherent in assessing agreement with them. These comments are particularly meaningful in that these characteristics do seemingly draw a line between the world of education and experience. An issue of perceived bias was 7 Issues, Principles And Attitudes Oh My! Examining Perceptions from Select Academics, Practitioners And Consultants on the Subject of Emergency Management Carol L. Cwiak, North Dakota State University recognized by the researcher going into the study and it was for that purpose that all three participant groups were asked to comment on these characteristics. Of note, no participants in the academic group made specific re...
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