Health Sciences & Social Work

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We offer a Bachelor of Science Degree in Emergency Management.

The Emergency Management Degree Program is unique as it is the first and only university-level program of its type in the State of Illinois.  The program offers an undergraduate interdisciplinary degree which combines scholarship and practice. Courses are taught by Ph.D. holding faculty in a face-to-face classroom environment. Students can earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Emergency Management leading to professional employment opportunities in the public sector, the private sector, or at non-governmental organizations. 

Spring 2015 Semester Now in Session


Established in 2007, the WIU Emergency Management Program is an active teaching and research unit, it adds value to Western Illinois University, and the program also provides important services in support of public safety for residents of the State of Illinois. For example . . .

  1. During Spring 2015, Emergency Management faculty are offering a number of courses to prepare emergency management majors, minors, and graduate students to take leadership positions as the nation's future generation of university-educated emergency management professionals
  2. In January 2015, faculty provided comments to media about high school football and disaster recovery
  3. In February 2015, faculty and a graduate student presented research at the 2015 National Tornado Summit  
  4. In March 2015, faculty provided comments to media about the technological hazard of train derailments
  5. In April 2015, the WIU EM Program will be participating the in IESMA Conference in Springfield


The WIU Emergency Management Program currently has openings for new undergraduate-level students who are interested in enrolling for the Fall Semester 2015. 

If you are interested in disasters and you strive to work in occupations protecting the public by engaging in a career of response, recovery, mitigation, or preparedness, the WIU Emergency Management Program can meet your academic preparation needs for a successful career. 

As National Climatic Data Center information indicates, during 2014 there were 8 weather and climate disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion each across the United States.  Adding in the risks of man-made disasters to that tally, the trends suggest there will be no shortage of work for future emergency managers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics provides information on the status of emergency management careers. Such statistics suggests that it is with an entry level Bachelors Degree and experience, it is possible for Emergency Management Directors to earn $59,770 per year (2012 median pay).  For such careers, the projected employment growth rate is 8 percent from 2012 to 2022.   

Go to the Western Illinois University Web Site for Enrollment to start the process and specify Emergency Management as your major of choice.

The WIU Emergency Management Program is organizationally housed in the College of Education and Human Services, Department of Health Science and Social Work

FOR UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS: Specific information on undergraduate degree requirements and course descriptions can be found at the WIU Catalog by paging down to the sections "Bachelor of Science - Emergency Management" and "Course Descriptions - Emergency Management (EM)"

FOR GRADUATE STUDENTS: While WIU does not currently offer a Masters-Level Degree in Emergency Management, the program does offer specific emergency management coursework to graduate students in support of the Master of Science in Health Sciences Degree, Public Health option. 

For more information about the services provided by the WIU Emergency Management Program contact Dr. Jack Rozdilsky at email


Are you curious about what Emergency Management (EM) professionals do? 

From the proud traditions of Civil Defense to the modern era of Homeland Security and comprehensive, all-hazards Emergency Management, the safety of the nation requires the focus of the best and brightest students.  

An explanation of some of the EM basics are provided on the "What is Emergency Management" web page.  Also, this interesting you tube video "The Essential Emergency Manager" explains the EM profession.  While Emergency Management jobs reside in all sectors of the economy, government agencies such as the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Emergency Management Agency are examples of places where Emergency Managers can be employed.

Professional organizations supporting the Emergency Management profession include The Illinois Emergency Services Management Association (for the state of Illinois) and the International Association of Emergency Managers (for the nation and beyond).


The United States Department of Homeland SecurityFederal Emergency Management Agency, Emergency Management InstituteHigher Education Program has worked to support nation's Emergency Management academic programs. That entity also has developed standards that academic programs strive towards.  WIU Emergency Management Program's faculty are actively involved with activities of the FEMA Higher Education Program.

The WIU Emergency Management Program both supports and endorses the Principles of Emergency Management and The Emergency Management Higher Education Research Standards as developed by the FEMA Higher Education Program.


The WIU Emergency Management Program is a leading-edge program where faculty are frequently solicited by the press for expert insight into disaster-related issues.  Examples from 2015 include . . .

  1. January 14, 2015: WIU grad student, professor explore link between H.S. football and disaster recovery in NSF-funded study about Washington, IL
  2. January 16, 2015: Study shows Illinois high school football team helps community recover from deadly tornado
  3. March 2, 2015: A disaster waiting to happen
  4. March 6, 2015: Macomb's plan for derailment


The faculty in the WIU Emergency Management Program are frequent contributors to the scholarly body of knowledge in emergency management and disaster science.  These contributions come from sharing research results with the scholarly community, practicing professionals, and students.

In addition to teaching duties, faculty are engaged in "boots on the ground" activities in places where disasters have impacted communities.  Information collected from the field is then translated into scholarly works.  Such faculty research enhances classroom activities making the WIU Emergency Management Bachelor's of Science Degree very relevant to student's career goals.   

Please find selected examples of the program's scholarly productivity below. 


Rozdilsky, J.L. (2014). Paying my $27 respects to sacred space at the 9/11 museum. Natural Hazards Observer, 39 (2), pp.1, 9-10.

Link to Article on page 1 Natural Hazards Observer November 2014

Rozdilsky, J.L., Gleason, T. (2014, April). The invisible business continuity issue of community disruption due to disaster. International Association of Emergency Managers Bulletin, 31 (4), pp. 37, 40.

Urby, H., McEntire D.A. (2013). Applying public administration in emergency management: The importance of integrating management into disaster education. Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, 11 (1), pp. 39-60.

Link to Publication Site Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management

Rozdilsky, J.L., Brooks [Albrecht], B.A. (2013, July). Advice for EM students: Take full advantage of your undergraduate studies. International Association of Emergency Managers Bulletin, 30(8), p. 28.

Rozdilsky, J.L., Ninness, A. (2013, March). Lessons learned: The 2012 Harrisburg Leap Day EF-4 tornado. International Association of Emergency Managers Bulletin, 30(3), pp. 13-14.

Rozdilsky, J.L. (2012). City as a sandbox for green building. Natural Hazards Observer, 36 (2), p.7-10

Link to Article on page 7 Natural Hazards Observer May 2012


Swope, N., Rozdilsky, J.L. (2014). High school football as a catalyst for disaster recovery: The case of the November 17, 2013 Washington, Illinois tornado. Natural Hazard Center Quick Response Grant Report series; 252.

Link to Quick Response Report 252

Rozdilsky, J.L. (2012). Disaster management with limited local resources: The 2012 Illinois Leap Day EF-4 tornado. Natural Hazards Center Quick Response Grant Report Series; 233. 

Link to Quick Response Report 233


Rozdilsky, J.L., Wombles, D.A. (2015, March). Addressing the emergency management challenges of debris removal from farmland in the wake of a tornado. Presentation at the 2015 National Tornado Summit, Oklahoma City, OK.

Swope, N., Rozdilsky, J.L. (2015, March). High school football as a catalyst for disaster recovery. Presentation at the 2015 Graduate Research Day - Western Illinois University, Macomb, IL.

Urby, H., Rozdilsky, J.L. (2014, June). Incorporating radiological hazards into emergency management curriculum. Presentation at the 16th Emergency Management Symposium - FEMA Emergency Management Institute, Emmitsburg, MD.

Rozdilsky, J.L. (2014, June). Developing the next generation of emergency management researchers: Creating post-disaster field research experiences for students. Presentation at the 1st Emergency Management Theory and Research Workshop - Emergency Management Institute, Emmitsburg, MD.

Urby, H., Rozdilsky, J.L. (2013, November). Short-Term and Long-Term Considerations for Sustainable Disaster Recovery. Presentation at the 2013 Sustainable Disaster Recovery Conference - St. Louis University, St. Louis MO.

Link to Sustainable Disaster Recovery Presentation

Rozdilsky, J.L. (2013, September). Attempting to balance agent and response generated demands during tornado disasters. Association of Minnesota Emergency Managers 53rd Annual Conference, Breezy Point, MN.


Rozdilsky, J.L. (2014). Emergency preparedness and response. In Rowe, D (Ed.), Achieving Sustainability: Visions Principles, Practices - Volume 1 . (pp. 290-297). Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA.  

Urby, H., McEntire, D.A. (2009). Emergency management in Mexico: A good beginning, but addition progress needed - Chapter 27. In McEntire, D. (Ed.), Comparative Emergency Management. Emmitsburg, MD: FEMA Higher Education Program.

Urby, H., McEntire, D.A. (2009). Emergency Management in Paraguay: A landlocked county not without disasters or accidents - Chapter 31. In McEntire, D. (Ed.), Comparative Emergency Management. Emmitsburg, MD: FEMA Higher Education Program.

Urby, H., McEntire, D.A., and Ekong, J.P. (2009). Emergency Management in Peru: An Andean country with significant disaster and emergency management challenges - Chapter 32. In McEntire, D. (Ed.), Comparative Emergency Management. Emmitsburg, MD: FEMA Higher Education Program.

Link to Emergency Management in Peru Book - Chapter 32

Afedzie, R., McEntire, D.A., Urby, H. (2009). Emergency Management in Costa Rica: A unique model for developing and developed nations - Chapter 30. In McEntire, D. (Ed.), Comparative Emergency Management. Emmitsburg, MD: FEMA Higher Education Program.

Rozdilsky, J.L. (2009). Emergency management in Israel: Contexts and Characteristics - Chapter 14. In McEntire, D. (Ed.), Comparative Emergency Management. Emmitsburg, MD: FEMA Higher Education Program.

Link to Emergency Management in Israel Book - Chapter 14  


Rozdilsky, J.L. Swope, N. W., et al. (2014, May 5). Washington Illinois economic recovery rapid appraisal study. A Final Project Report from the Spring 2014 WIU EM 461 class.  Macomb, IL: Emergency Management Program, Western Illinois University.


The core faculty for the WIU Emergency Management Program are highly qualified specialists with proven credentials.

Doctoral Dissertation Reference: Rozdilsky, J.L. (2005).  Taking a systems approach to risk assessment and disaster recovery: The Montserrat case (unpublished doctoral dissertation).  Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan.

Link to Dr. Rozdilsky's Dissertation Reference

Doctoral Dissertation Reference: Urby, H., (2010). Perceptions of disaster professionalism in Mexico: Adding a new public management perspective to emergency management (unpublished doctoral dissertation). University of North Texas, Denton, Texas.

Link to Dr. Urby's Doctoral Dissertation Text

This page is maintained by and was last updated in March 2015 by Jack Rozdilsky

Contact: Prof.  Jack L. Rozdilsky