Course Syllabus

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Course: Practicum

Course & Section: FES6940

Instructor:  Dr. Dennis Mitterer

Office Rinker School of Construction Management

Course Communications: There is a General Discussion tab that can be used, or send me an email through the course email. Urgent messages can be sent to my

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.

Prerequisites: Permission from Advisor and Director of Masters Programs

 Material and Supply Fee: Based on project

 Textbook: None

 Software: N/A

 Readings: N/A

Dennis Mitterer, PhD.

Dr. Mitterer has worked in EMS for over 25 years as an EMT and Paramedic, Operations Chief, and educator. 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.

As a member of the faculty for Western Governor's University he guides adult students through their course of study in Finance, Accreditation and Auditing, Technology Application, and Strategy Development. Dr. Mitterer also teaches courses at Pa College of Health Sciences and is 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 instructs 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 Description:

The field practicum experience course offers a unique opportunity to help you integrate academic learning from the disaster management curriculum in an applied setting. Please see below for options that you may choose for your field practicum experience.

The disaster management professional is expected to be able to continually keep up to date with best practices. This requires a demonstrated desire and ability to keep up to date as well as to critique and apply best practices in the development of preparation, planning, responding, recovering, and mitigating disasters. This capstone experience is designed to provide you with an opportunity to demonstrate mastery of the program objectives and, in particular, the articulated desire and ability to use best practices. It is intended to provide integration of prior learning and to create a transferable knowledge and performance base. The course will provide you with the opportunity to participate in supervised disaster management work activities, or focused research, that provide experiential and research-based learning in the application and integration of the theory and skills acquired in earlier coursework.

Honor Code

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).


As arranged with Advisor. Requirements for attendance at place of practicum and other work in this course are consistent with university policies that can be found at:


Course objective:

At the completion of this course the student will be able to:

Demonstrate mastery of the MSFES program objectives.

Provide an illustration of expertise pursuant to applying for either promotion or a new emergency management position.

Demonstrate a professional code of ethics.

Demonstrate a personally active involvement with the emergency management community.

Access, evaluate, and implement knowledge gained from the research literature.


Options for Field Practicum Experience

 Expanded Role

For current emergency manager professionals: develop a new emergency management role within your current career that will provide you with a different perspective and expand your learning and comprehension of best practices of the emergency management field. This project and/or role cannot be a component of your assigned job duties.


Volunteer Work

Obtain a volunteer or intern position in an emergency management setting (example: local emergency management office, local Red Cross office, UF EM, County EM office, etc.). The appropriate number of hours to be spent in this position per week will be determined in conjunction with the field experience practicum instructor and the volunteer organization.


Research Project or Paper for publication

With permission of the MSFES Program Coordinator, a student may complete a research project focused on a topic in disaster management. The research project shall be a disaster management related project previously approved by the program coordinator. The student shall complete a paper that overviews the project upon completion of the project. The research paper, upon completion, should result in a paper suitable for publication in a peer-reviewed journal in emergency management or a closely related field.

  1. Research paper requirements
  2. Paper should be ready for submission to a peer-reviewed journal
  3. Paper length should be 20-25 pages
  4. Paper should have a minimum of 20-30 different reference citations
  5. Paper should start with a research goal
  6. Paper should include a literature review
  7. Paper must be submitted a minimum of two week before the final class meeting to provide time for review and corrections.
  8. Research Project
  9. Project will be approved by program coordinator and practicum instructor
  10. Project will be based upon an emergency management-related topic.

Field Journal

The field journal will be based on the field experience, research project or research paper. Field journals should be submitted online to the professor every week through the discussion board. The field journal should include a log of activities for tracking progress and learning. Care must be taken to maintain confidentiality in the journals.

  1. Format:
  2. Hours of work
  3. Learning goals

iii. Current progress, issues and accomplishments

  1. Any problems encountered and how the problems were resolved
  2. Review
  3. Course meetings

Practicum instructor will determine when and how often the class will connect online to discuss progress. During these course meetings, each student will report his/her current progress, issues, problems, problems solved and areas for improvement.

III. Timeline, Goals and Objectives

The timeline, goals and objectives will be part of the first assignment for students. These items will be posted on the discussion board for review by the practicum instructor and the other students in the course. These items will be utilized as the roadmap for the duration of the practicum experience. Adjustments may be made with the permission of the practicum instructor.

  1. Timeline: At the beginning of the practicum, the student shall establish a realistic timeline for completion of goals and objectives of the practicum. Students in a volunteer service capacity, such as an internship at the Red Cross, will need to coordinate this with their practicum instructor and onsite supervisor. Students completing research projects should establish a timeline for accomplishing and completing goals and objectives.
  2. Goals and Objectives: Within the first week of the course, the student will establish a list of goals and objectives that he/she wants to accomplish during the duration of the practicum.


The final grade will be an S/U

Grading will be based on the field journal, participation in online discussions, quality and outcome of project, research and/or paper and other requirements as explained above.

Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory: Grades of S and U are the only grades awarded in courses numbered 6940 (Practicum). 

A grade of S is equal to a C (2.0) or better. Grades earned under the S-U option do not carry grade point values and are not computed in the University of Florida grade point average. Courses with a grade of S will count as credits earned in a degree program. Such grades are included in your permanent academic record and are reflected on the transcript.

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.


Course 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