Course Syllabus

Course Description and Syllabus

FES 3822 – Disaster Policy in Emergency Management

Spring 2021


Ronnie E. Gill Jr M.S., CEM, EFO


Phone: 240.832.8832

OFFICE HOURS:     You can email me any time. Please call if you have questions. I will be available generally 5 to 9 p.m. weekdays.

Bio for Ronnie Gill

Ronnie Gill Jr. has over 30 years of public safety experience with the last seven years as the Director of the Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management for Prince George’s County, Maryland. Mr. Gill was previously employed with the District of Columbia Fire & Emergency Medical Services Department and retired as the Deputy Fire Chief of Special Operations and Homeland Security. Under his direction, the Office of Emergency Management provides oversight and coordination for emergency and disaster consequence management planning, response and recovery operations for Prince George’s County. Director Gill is a graduate of the Executive Fire Officer Program National Fire Academy, United States Fire Administration. Mr. Gill earned his Associate and Bachelor of Fire Science Degrees from the University of the District of Columbia and Master of Science in Management from the Johns Hopkins University. In addition, he is pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy in Fire and Emergency Management from Oklahoma State University.


This course provides the key elements of:

  • Providing the foundations for establishing policies as is relates to politics/ disasters/emergency management.
  • Application of leadership and political concepts through critical thinking.
  • Analysis of civil-military relations and homeland security skills.

Disaster Policy in Emergency Management is a three (3) credit course scheduled to meet each fall semester via distance education (online learning) via the Canvas Learning Management System platform. It is a graded course and there are no prerequisites.

The course describes the functional demands that emergency managers should be aware of in crafting effective emergency management plans, policies, and programs. Addresses how public policy choices impact emergency planning and the consequences of a disaster event. The emergency planning process itself is also emphasized.


The textbook required for this course is:

 Disaster Policy and Politics: Emergency management and Homeland Security, 3rd ed., (201) Sylves, R. CQ Press ISBN 978-1-4833-0781-7

 Additional resource materials will be distributed to supplement the above textbook.


 At the completion of this class, the student should be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the fundamental challenges of emergency management.
  • Identify the theories and approaches of public policy and management.
  • Explain the essentials of emergency management as a profession and the application of that theory.
  • Identify the roles of scientist and engineers.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the disaster management and theories of public management.
  • Explain the presidential disaster declaration processes.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of intergovernmental relationships in disaster policy.
  • Explain civil-military relations addressing national security.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of globalization of disasters.
  • Rationalize the importance of recovery assistance during disasters in the United States.
  • Effectively communicate their understanding of the future of disaster management.

Course goals

  1. The student will interpret and apply the terminology, concepts, methodologies and theories used within systems management.
  2. The student expresses ideas in a convincing, organized, clear, coherent manner that is nearly error free and uses a style and language appropriate to the emergency services and the analytic profession.
  3. Submitted written assignments should include such elements as well-crafted paragraphs, a persuasive organizational structure (e.g., introduction, body, conclusion; or introduction, methods, results, discussion), well-supported claims, and appropriate and effective stylistic elements adhering to APA style 6th edition.
  4. The student considers the issues from multiple perspectives, logically analyzes evidence from credible, relevant sources, and develops reasoned conclusions.
  • Teaching Philosophy: I am looking for students to demonstrate a working knowledge of the subject. You need to be creative when you complete your assignments but maintain a professional appearance of your work. Your work should be completed in such a manner that someone can pick up your document and understand what you are trying to convey. Your work should be supported with research and cited in APA format. 
  • Instructional Methods: The course is designed for individual and group interactivity. It is important to post and respond to discussion questions in the course within the time frame allotted. This provides a learning environment by networking with other students in the course. The assignments are individual base to give you the opportunity to do a variety of activities, in many cases, similar to what you will be doing in role as a leader in the emergency services profession.


Class meetings may require a web camera and mic/audio. If you are not able to use a web camera you will need to at least provide audio/mic, you can call in on a phone also. Otherwise, discussions and assignments will be web based and submissions will occur electronically. If technology help is required, please contact the UF Help Desk at:

Any requests for make-ups due to technical issues MUST be accompanied by the ticket number received from LSS when the problem was reported to them. The ticket number will document the time and date of the problem. You MUST e-mail your instructor within 24 hours of the technical difficulty if you wish to request a make-up.

Other resources are available at

  • Counseling and Wellness resources
  • Disability resources
  • Resources for handling student concerns and complaints
  • Library Help Desk support

Should you have any complaints with your experience in this course please visit to submit a complaint.

UF online/internet privacy statement:


University Policy on Accommodating Students with Disabilities: Students requesting accommodation for disabilities must first register with the Dean of Students Office.

The Dean of Students Office will provide documentation to the student who must then provide this documentation to the instructor when requesting accommodation. You must submit this documentation prior to submitting assignments or taking the quizzes or exams. Accommodations are not retroactive; therefore, students should contact the office as soon as possible in the term for which they are seeking accommodations.

University Policy on Academic Conduct:

UF students are bound by The Honor Pledge which states, “We, the members of the University of Florida community, pledge to hold ourselves and our peers to the highest standards of honesty and integrity by abiding by the Honor Code. On all work submitted for credit by students at the University of Florida, the following pledge is either required or implied: "On my honor, I have neither given nor received unauthorized aid in doing this assignment." 

Netiquette: Communication Courtesy:  All members of the class are expected to follow rules of common courtesy in all email messages, threaded discussions and chats. 


This course is delivered exclusively via a distance education (online learning) format. Although online learning has many advantages, including convenience of course participation, non-restrictive geographic locations, and independent study, it also imposes some very significant demands. 

Probably the two most important demands are: self-discipline and motivation. To succeed in online learning courses, it is imperative that you maintain a strict, self-imposed schedule and commit time to fulfill the readings and complete the assignments. Experience has shown that students that do not discipline themselves to maintain a strict schedule fall behind in the courses and never catch up. The other demand that is important is to stay motivated. At times, the workload may appear daunting, but if you maintain your focus and continue to make progress every day, it is incredible what can be accomplished. Remember: stay motivated and maintain your schedule to complete course requirements.

Unlike other courses, online learning has limited restrictions regarding absences since there is no regular classroom time. However, failure to meet bi-weekly assignments will not only impede your ability to complete the course, it will also impact your grade negatively. Therefore, be sure to execute and maintain a regular and high level of participation in each course. It is recommended that you read the assignment as early as possible to allow adequate time to respond to Discussion Board Questions or other assignments. Posting your initial Discussion Board response in the first week allows your fellow students ample time to contemplate your responses and to provide comments to your responses (an integral component of online learning). Posting on Discussion Boards on the last day does not allow for student interaction and will impact your grade negatively.

Please make every effort to post your responses, complete your reading assignments, submit any written assignments or projects, and provide commentary to others’ responses by the due date and time.

Most courses will require all bi-weekly session assignments to be completed by the start of the next session. Session conclusion and beginning of the next session occurs regularly each other week on a designated “turn-over” day. The turn-over day for this course is noted below. Be sure to complete all assignments by the turn-over day and time deadlines for each week as required.

For this course, that turn-over day is Sunday and the deadline time is 11:59 PM (Eastern Time). That means that bi-weekly assignments or discussion questions posted on a Monday must be completed and posted online (or for written assignments, electronically submitted) by 11:59 PM on every other Sunday. There are only extreme exceptions or relaxation to this requirement. These requirements are critical to maintain progression through the course, and to prevent you from falling behind. Please remember: Online learning requires a high level of motivation and self-discipline.

**QUIZ/EXAM POLICY:  There is a final project for this course. There are no exams or quizzes.

**MAKE-UP POLICY:  You must contact me if you are going to be late on any assignment to receive credit (This is on a case-by-case basis). **Assignment Policy:  All assignments have a due date. Please be sure to check the date and time it is due in each module.

Late Assignments and Discussion Posts

  • Assignments 48 hours late will receive a 10% deduction in their grade.
  • Assignments more than 48 hours but less than 30 days late will receive a 20% deduction in their grade.
  • Assignments more than 30 days late but submitted during the semester will receive a 50% deduction in their grade.
  • Discussions more than 48 hours late will receive a 25% deduction in their grade.
  • Discussions more than 96 hours later will receive a 50% deduction in their grade.

Please note: Any student has less than 75% of their work complete for the semester cannot earn an “I” contract. If you have 75% of the work complete, you can propose an I contract to the instructor. It is always your responsibility to keep your instructor informed. The instructor does have the right under extenuating circumstances with proper notification to assist the student by extending the above time requirements. *Points will be deducted for all late assignments.



A= 93.0 to 100%

C = 73.0 to 76.9%

A- = 90.0 to 92.9%

C- = 70.0 to 72.9%

B+ = 87.0 to 89.9%

D+ = 67.0 to 69.9%

B = 83.0 to 86.9%

D = 63.0 to 66.9%

B- = 80.0 to 82.9%

D- = 60.0 to 62.9%

C+ = 77.0 to 79.9%

F = below 60

See Links to an external site. regarding current UF grading policies.




Point or Percentage

Grading Discussion Participation – 10 points each discussion (including introduction)

80 points

Homework Assignments – 20 points each assignment

140 points

Final Project - comprehensive and applied

100 points

Total Grade

320 points


Information on current UF grading policies for assigning grade points:

To convert the final grade to credit hours please refer to by using the link to the web page:

Student Evaluations:

“Students are expected to provide professional and respectful feedback on the quality of instruction in this course by completing course evaluations online via GatorEvals. Guidance on how to give feedback in a professional and respectful manner is available at Students will be notified when the evaluation period opens, and can complete evaluations through the email they receive from GatorEvals, in their Canvas course menu under GatorEvals, or via Summaries of course evaluation results are available to students at”




Module 0: Orientation

  • Course Introductions
  • Syllabus Quiz


Module 1: Read Chapter 1, Disaster Management in the United States and Chapter 2, Theories and Approaches of Public Policy & Management Helpful in Disaster Studies


  • Module 1 Overview
  • Discussion 1
  • Writing Assignment 1


Module 2: Read Chapter 3, A Short History of U.S. Disaster Policy


  • Module 2 Overview
  • Discussion 2
  • Writing Assignment 2

Module 3: Read Chapter 4, Presidential Declarations of Major Disaster or Emergency 


  • Module 3 Overviews
  • Discussion 3
  • Writing Assignment 3


Module 4: Read Chapter 5 The Role of Research, Science and Engineering and 


  • Module 4 Overviews
  • Discussion 4
  • Writing Assignment 4


Module 5: Read Chapter 6, Intergovernmental Relations in Disaster Policy


  • Module 5 Overviews
  • Discussion 5
  • Writing Assignment 5

Module 6: Read Chapter 7 Civil-Military Relations & National Security  and Chapter 9, Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria: U.S. Disaster Management Challenged

  • Module 6 Overviews
  • Discussion 6
  • Writing Assignment 6


Module 7: Read Chapter 8 Globalization of Disasters and Chapter 10, Conclusion and the Future

  • Module 7 Overviews
  • Discussion 7
  • Writing Assignment 7


Module 8: Final Project

  • Module Overview
  • Final Project
  • End-of-Course Survey







Mon Jan 11, 2021

Module Zero Introduction


Due by Jan 24 11:59pm


Mon Jan 11, 2021

Module One Discussion

Module One Written

Due by Jan 24 11:59pm

Due by Jan 24 11:59pm

Mon Jan 25 2021

Module Two Discussion

Module Two Written

Due by Feb 07 11:59 pm

Due by Feb 07 11:59 pm

Mon Feb 08, 2021

Module Three Discussion

Module Three Written

Due by Feb 21 11:59 pm

Due by Feb 21 11:59 pm

Mon Feb 22, 2021

Module Four Discussion

Module Four Written

Due by Mar 07 11:59 pm

Due by Mar 07 11:59 pm

Mon Mar 08, 2021


Module Five Discussion

Module Five Written

Due by Mar 21 11:59 pm

Due by Mar 21 11:59 pm

Mon Mar 22, 2021

Module Six Discussion

Module Six Written

Due by Apr 04 11:59 pm

Due by Apr 04 11:59 pm

Mon Apr 05, 2021

Module Seven Discussion

Module Seven Written

Due by Apr 18 11:59 pm

Due by Apr 18 11:59 pm

Mon Mar 28, 2021

Module Eight Final Project


Due by Apr 27 11:59 pm




Course Summary:

Date Details Due