CLCH 2100: Introduction to Disaster Management

Introduction to Disaster Management
Course in Climate Change
Course Description:

Disaster management reflects society’s organized attempt to protect its members from natural, technological, and terrorist threats. Often, this involves coordinating with local, state, federal, and non-governmental organizations; alerting the public to impending hazards; and developing plans for the sheltering and mass care of those left homeless in the wake of major catastrophe. The field operates through a complex network of specialists, whose activities often assist the day-to-day and long-term operations of disaster management. As a result, planning for a disaster—be it in the realm of mitigation, preparedness, response, or recovery—calls for a thorough understanding of both the natural and social elements of disaster. This course covers an overview of theory, principles, and the operations of disaster management. Topics include a history and evolution of the profession; an exploration of the concepts of mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery; state, local, federal, and non-governmental organizations’ roles in disasters; and an investigation of the social, political and economic consequences of disasters.

Through this course, students learn to:

  • Understand the functions of disaster management in each phase of the disaster cycle
  • Describe the interrelated stakeholders’ involvement in the disaster management system, including federal, state, local, and non-governmental organizations
  • Discuss an all-hazards approach to disaster management to manage an array of disasters society encounters today   
  • Explore future challenges and opportunities for the field of disaster management
  • Improve oral and written communication through class participation and assignment
  • Improve critical analysis through discussions and written work on required reading materials
Course Credits:
1 course unit (c.u.)*
Term Format:
Accelerated 8-Week Term
2023 Term Offered
Spring 1 (accelerated): Jan 11 – Mar 8, 2023

*Academic credit is defined by the University of Pennsylvania as a course unit (c.u.). A course unit (c.u.) is a general measure of academic work over a period of time, typically a term (semester or summer). A c.u. (or a fraction of a c.u.) represents different types of academic work across different types of academic programs and is the basic unit of progress toward a degree. One c.u. is usually converted to a four-semester-hour course.


  • Faculty, Penn’s College of Liberal and Professional Studies

Zephi Francis received a master’s degree in disaster science and management from the University of Delaware (UD). While at UD, Zephi was a research assistant at the Disaster Research Center, and worked on several projects, including a quick response trip to Moore, Oklahoma in 2013 to examine tornado protective action. Currently, he serves as a… Read more

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