Training New York: Crisis Management And Human Services

Training New York: Crisis Management And Human Services

April 17, 2015

From disease outbreaks to hundred-year storms to citywide outages, New Yorkers know what it’s like when the unthinkable becomes reality, when the well-being of millions of people all of a sudden rests in the hands of a relatively small network of specialists. To respond with poise under the most pressurized circumstances and work collectively to mitigate the damage of unforeseen calamities, requires years of logistical preparation, along with the highest quality professional training available.

For service-minded individuals up to the challenge of protecting our great population centers in times of crisis, Metropolitan College of New York offers a unique opportunity. One of the few degree programs of its kind, the Masters of Public Administration (MPA) in Emergency and Disaster Management employs the college’s signature Purpose Centered Education, which emphasizes the rigorous real-life application of classroom theory.

With a curriculum catering to fully employed adults, students are encouraged to take Constructive Action in their workplaces, thereby establishing triangular feedback loops with office supervisors and college faculty—some of which themselves are highly placed practitioners in government agencies that lead emergency management efforts.

The 16-month program, which emphasizes teamwork and mirrors the collaborative demands of the field, is popular among veterans of law enforcement and fire departments, as well as professionals looking for a career change or just to hasten their advancement in their current field.

“The program is really focused on developing middle- to senior-level managers in emergency and disaster management, as well as the business continuity field,” said Dean Tilokie Depoo, associate vice president for academic affairs. 

Though graduates of the program often find jobs with the Department of Homeland Security, as well as city and state agencies, others opt instead to enter the private sector, in the field of business continuity for large corporations, where they identify potential risks and develop contingency plans for carrying out operations uninterrupted in the event of emergencies. (During 9/11, for example, some companies relied on satellite sites operating outside the city). 

Another hallmark of the MPA in Emergency and Disaster Management is its intensive weeklong onsite visit to a disaster zone where students have the opportunity to study emergency responses and rebuilding efforts in progress. Recent destinations have included Chile, Italy, and Wyoming—in the wake of a mining accident, massive flooding, and devastating wildfires, respectively.

Not as dramatic, perhaps, though no less vital, the MPA in Public Affairs and Administration focuses on the human services city and private agencies deliver in areas such as housing, health care, education, child and homeless care.


“Public Affairs and Administration is about understanding the context of need, and how problems emerge—both historically and in the present—and how city, state and federal agencies address those problems,” said Dr. Daniel Katz, vice president for academic affairs.

Employing the same concept of Constructive Action, each semester students choose an issue to address, often in their own workplace. After identifying a problem, they proceed to analyze it and suggest solutions.

“We have been contacted by their supervisors or department heads who tell us that [our students] came up with impressive solutions that got implemented,” Dr. Katz said. “Our students wind up with promotions before even finishing their degrees.”

MCNY offers other graduate degree programs, including an MBA and Masters in Education, which are also designed with working adults in mind and can be completed in a single year. 

If you would like to go back to school, change careers or advance in your current field, MCNY is hosting an information session on April 9th, during which industry leaders, faculty members and admissions officers will be on hand to answer any questions you may have.

Click here to RSVP.