Course Syllabus

Course: Strategic and Operational Planning

Course & Section: FES 3720

Credit Hours: 3

Session: Summer 2023 Online

INSTRUCTOR:                   Dennis Mitterer


Phone: 352-273-1084

OFFICE HOURS:    I can be contacted during normal business hours. I check emails daily and should respond to any requests within 24 hours.



Dr. Mitterer's experience in firefighting, EMS and education spans more than 25 years. As Lieutenant of a FD, an EMT and Paramedic, Operations Chief, and educator he has gained invaluable lessons that are incorporated in all his classes. He has earned a Master’s Degree in Management from Penn State University’s Smeal Business College, a nursing degree from Excelsior University, a Bachelor of Science in nursing from Penn State University and has earned the designation as a Certified Safety Professional (CSP), and Associate in Risk Management (ARM). He earned his Ph.D. in Leadership and Organizational change from Walden University.

He has many years of higher educational experience guiding adult students through course of study in topics such as,  Finance, Accreditation and Auditing, Technology Application, and Strategy Development. Dr. Mitterer also taught courses at Pa College of Health Sciences and was a Faculty Advisor for EMS at Franklin & Marshall College. He taught as an Adjunct Professor for Lebanon Valley College’ master’s program, Immaculata College where he taught; Management, Strategic Planning, Human Resources and Research, and Harrisburg Area Community College where he instructed in the Paramedic program. As a nationally recognized speaker and writer, Dr. Mitterer challenges audiences to think creatively about EMS topics.

Professional affiliations include; American Society of Safety Engineers, American College of Healthcare Executives, National Association of EMS Educators, National Association of EMTs and the Institute for Behavioral and Applied Management.

COURSE COMMUNICATIONS:  Each semester students have many questions regarding course content and procedures. Questions pertaining to the good of all should be posted in the discussion board. Any question that is personal in nature should be sent to me through my email address or the Canvas mail tool. Under Florida law, any written communication created or received through the University of Florida is subject to disclosure to the public and the media, upon request, unless otherwise exempt. If you do not want your message or email address released in response to a public records request, do not send electronic mail to this address.  Instead, contact me by phone.

REQUIRED TEXTS: Bryson, John. (2017). Strategic Planning for Public and Private Organizations. Wiley Publishing.| ISBN-13: 978-04-703-92-515

Concise Guide to APA Style, Seventh Edition ISBN 978-1-4338-3273-4

Course Description - FES3720: The aim, of this course, is to provide insight into strategic thinking and planning and provide knowledge on how these concepts shape organizational culture and future success. By learning what strategy is, the student will identify and analyze organizational strategic plans, develop goals and objectives and create organizational structures that support processes, such as; budgets, operational plans, hazard mitigation plans, human capital resources, and measurements that assess success. This course will also present the practical elements of comprehensive Strategic planning in a managerial system, the role of planning in growth management, and the application of strategic planning to public issue decision-making. It will illustrate the relationship between public safety planning and the delivery of public services.


  1. The student will interpret and apply the terminology, concepts, methodologies and theories used within the strategic process.
  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.
  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 7th 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 the professional appearance of your work. Your work needs to be complete and in such a manner that someone can pick up your document and understand what you are trying to convey. And most of all your work needs to be supported with research and cited in properly 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-based to give you the opportunity to do a variety of activities, in many cases, similar to what you will be doing in the role of a leader in the emergency services profession.

Course Policies:

Attendance Policy:  The course is designed in module format. You should check the site at least once a week. You are required to complete the assignments including discussion questions within the time period designated on the module. There may be meetings set up throughout the course. Requirements for class attendance and make-up exams, assignments, and other work in this course are consistent with university policies that can be found in the online catalog at

ASSIGNMENTS & DISCUSSIONS:  All assignments and discussions have a due date. Please be sure to check the dates and times they are due in each module. All due dates are set in order to provide consistency with the discussions and assignment submission. Each module will be opened early so you have time to read the material, formulate and answer discussions and finish and submit the assignment. Each discussion and assignment will be closed one week after the due date.

FINAL PROJECT:  There is a final project for this course. There are no exams or quizzes. The final project will cover all material learned and discussed throughout the course.

MAKE-UP POLICY:  You must contact me, prior to the assignment deadline if you are going to be late on any discussion or assignment to receive credit. In the event of an unforeseen inability to complete an assignment, due to technology, notify me as soon as possible.

Assignment Policy:  All assignments have a due date. Please be sure to check the date and time it is due in each module.

Course Technology:  Class meetings will 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.

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 the Help Desk when the problem was reported to them. The ticket number will document the time and date of the problem. You MUST email your instructor within 24 hours of the technical difficulty if you wish to request a make-up.

Other resources are available at for:

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

ONLINE COURSE EVALUATION:  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 provide 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 un GatorEvals, or via Summaries of the course evaluation results are available to students at


UF Policies


UNIVERSITY POLICY ON ACCOMMODATING STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES: Students with disabilities requesting accommodations should first register with the Disability Resource Center (352-392-8565, by providing appropriate documentation. Once registered, students will receive an accommodation letter which must be presented to the instructor when requesting accommodation. Students with disabilities should follow this procedure as early as possible in the semester.

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." 

The Honor Code ( specifies a number of behaviors that are in violation of this code and the possible sanctions. Furthermore, you are obligated to report any condition that facilitates academic misconduct to appropriate personnel. If you have any questions or concerns, please consult with the instructor or TAs in this class.

From Regulations of the University of Florida, 4.041 Student Honor Code and Student Conduct Code: Scope and Violations:

Plagiarism. Presenting as one's own the ideas, words, or products of another. Plagiarism includes the use of any sources to complete academic assignments without proper acknowledgment of the source. A student shall not represent as the student's own work all or any portion of the work of another. Plagiarism includes but is not limited to:

  1. Quoting oral or written materials including but not limited to those found on the internet, whether published or unpublished, without proper attribution.
  2. Submitting a document or assignment which in whole or in part is identical or substantially identical to a document or assignment not authored by the student.

From Regulations of the University of Florida, 6C1-4.047 Student Honor Code and Student Conduct Code: Sanctions:

For a violation or violations of the Honor Code, a student may receive any of the sanctions that can be imposed for Student Conduct Code violations, including but not limited to conduct probation, suspension and expulsion as well as any educational sanctions. In addition, students may receive the following:

  1. Assignment grade penalty. The student is assigned a grade penalty on an assignment including but not limited to a zero.
  2. Course grade penalty. The student is assigned a grade penalty in the entire course including but not limited to an 'E'.

Cheating: is a broad term that includes the following:

    • Giving or receiving help from unauthorized persons or materials during examinations.
    • The unauthorized communication of examination questions prior to, during, or following administration of the examination.
    • Collaboration on examinations or assignments expected to be individual work.
    • Fraud and deceit, that include knowingly furnishing false or misleading information or failing to furnish appropriate information when requested, such as when applying for admission to the University.

CLASS DEMEANOR OR NETIQUETTE: All members of the class are expected to follow rules of common courtesy in all email messages, threaded discussions and chats.

When communicating online, you should always:

  • Treat everyone with respect, even in email or in any other online communication.
  • Use clear and concise language.
  • Remember that all college level communication should have correct spelling and grammar.
  • Avoid slang terms such as “wassup?” and texting abbreviations such as “u” instead of “you”.
  • Use standard fonts such as Times New Roman and use a size 12 or 14 pt. font.
  • Avoid using the caps lock feature AS IT CAN BE INTERPRETTED AS YELLING.
  • Be cautious when using humor or sarcasm as tone is sometimes lost in an email or discussion post and your message might be taken seriously or offensive.
  • Be careful with personal information (both yours and other’s).

When posting on the Discussion Board in your online class, you should:

  • Make posts that are on topic and within the scope of the course material.
  • Take your posts seriously and review and edit your posts before sending.
  • Be as brief as possible while still making a thorough comment.
  • Always give proper credit when referencing or quoting another source.
  • Be sure to read all messages in a thread before replying.
  • Don’t repeat someone else’s post without adding something of your own to it.
  • Avoid short, generic replies such as, “I agree.” Include why you agree or add to the previous point.
  • Always be respectful of others’ opinions even when they differ from your own.
  • When you disagree with someone, you should express your differing opinion in a respectful, non-critical way.
  • Do not make personal or insulting remarks.
  • Be open-minded.

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


Grading Policies

Course grades are on a point system. A grading rubric for the final project is under the Resource Tab within the course.

Late Assignments and Discussion Posts:

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

Please note that any student that have 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 your responsibility to keep your instructor informed at all times. The instructor does have the right under extenuating circumstances with proper notification to assist the student by extending the above time requirements.

See current UF grading policies.


Points or percentage

Introduction video

10 points

Grading Discussion Participation – 11 points each discussion

165 points

Short and Critical Analysis Papers - 100 points

200 points

Final Strategic Paper 

100 points

Total Grade

375 points


Grading Scale

A   = 93.0 to 100 (340 - 375 points)        C   = 73.0 to 76.9 (266 - 280 points)
A-  = 90.0 to 92.9 (328 - 339 points)       C-  = 70.0 to 72.9 (255 - 265 points)
B+ = 87.0 to 89.9 (317 - 327 points)       D+ = 67.0 to 69.9 (244 - 254 points)
B   = 83.0 to 86.9 (303 - 316 points)       D   = 63.0 to 66.9 (229 - 243 points)
B-  = 80.0 to 82.9 (292 - 302 points)       D-  = 60.0 to 62.9 (219 - 228 points)
C+ = 77.0 to 79.9 (281 - 291 points)       F   = below 60 ( < 218 points)

Tentative course schedule:


Week 1




Introduce yourself

Review the attached PPT and the explanation for the slides. Answer the questions below. You will be assessing your organization and providing an overview of the strategy. 

Read Chapter 4 pages 115 - 143.

COMPLETE: Discussion One

Week 2




Chapter 1 discusses six benefits of strategic planning and strategic thinking. Review these benefits and discuss, in depth, how each can impact the development of an emergency service organization and ultimately meet the goal of responding to the needs of the community, not from an operational perspective, but from an organizational and leadership perspective. How does a leader develop an emergency service organization's culture to think strategically?

COMPLETE: Discussion Two

Week 3 


Review the attached PPT and the explanation for the slides. Answer the questions below. You will be taking a deeper dive into the Strategic process and evaluating the effectiveness of an organization. 

Read Chapter 2 pages 35 - 61

Chapter 3 pages 77 - 90

Chapter 5 pages 144 - 158 and 163 - 17

COMPLETE: Discussion Three


Week 4     




Review the attached PPT and the explanation for the slides. Answer the questions below. You will be taking a deeper dive into the Implementation process and evaluating the effectiveness of an organization. 

Read Chapter 9 pages 281 - 286  297 - 314

COMPLETE: Discussion Four


Week 5  





Strategies are not set in stone and there are times when strategies need to be reassessed to assure that they are meeting organizational goals. This week's discussion is on the importance of this process and how to assure that decision makers are monitoring progress and objectively looking at strategies on a regular basis.

Many organizations create 5 and 10 year strategies, but as each one moves closer and closer to fruition, reviewing them becomes a more frequent process.  

Review the attached PPT and the explanation for the slides. Answer the questions below. 

Read Chapter 10 pages 321 - 332 and 341 - 350

Chapter 11 pages 353 - 379

COMPLETE: Discussion Five



Week 6  





Short Critical Analysis Paper

Week 7  





The next step to strategy development is creating the goals, objectives and KPIs to assure the alignment with the long-term visiona and mission.

Review the attached PPT and the explanation for the slides. Answer the questions below. You will be taking a deeper dive into Goals, Objectives and KPIs

Read Chapter 6 pages 203 - 204

Chapter 10 pages 336 - 337

COMPLETE: Discussion Six

Week 8 





Review the information regarding employee stakeholders and the customer connection. Also read the attached PDF and then answer the questions. You will be taking a deeper dive into the importance of employees as stakeholders and evaluating the effectiveness to an organization. 

COMPLETE: Discusson Seven



Week 9  




Discussion will provide the opportunity to see the relationship between achieving strategic goals and staff satisfaction with a  secondary goal of reducing the risk of losing staff to preventable personal choices.  

Discussion 8

Analytical paper


Week 10  





Consider how to move the stratgy to the next level and achieve buy-in/change. Keep in mind that, during the concept/development process, of any strategy, input from stakeholdes, at all levels, is essential. However, now you are incorporating the strategy into the daily activities.

Discussion 9


Week 11    





Week 12  








 Week 13








Week 14



Week 15