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

This course requires the text Introduction to Emergency Management and Disaster Science, 3rd Edition,by Brenda D. Phillips, David M. Neal and Gary R. Webb (ISBN: 0367898993).

Course Credits:
1 course unit (c.u.)*
Term Format:
Accelerated 8-Week Term
2024 Term Offered:
Spring 1 (accelerated): Jan 18 – Mar 14, 2024

*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.


  • Lecturer, 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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