NJCU Doctoral Program Alumnus & Student to Present at 11th Annual Homeland Defense/Security Education Summit

NJCU Doctoral Program Alumnus & Student to Present at 11th Annual Homeland Defense/Security Education Summit

NJCU’s Department of Professional Security Studies will be well represented at the Center for Homeland Defense and Security’s University and Agency Partnership Initiative (UAPI) 11th Annual Homeland Defense/Security Education Summer from October 11 – 13 in Albany, NY (see https://www.uapi.us/programs/2077) with presentations by both a recent alumnus of the doctoral program as well as a doctoral candidate.

Dr. Anthony Abruzzese, a May 2018 graduate of NJCU’s doctoral program in Civil Security Leadership, Management & Policy and an administrator at Boston University School of Medicine, will present on the Challenges of Assessing Community Disaster Resilience in a Pre-disaster Context. Michael Barany, who earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees from NJCU (2014 and 2016), serves as Assistant Coordinator of Veterans Services at Middlesex County College and NJCU adjunct professor. He is currently an NJCU doctoral candidate and will present An Assessment of the Township of Woodbridge, New Jersey’s Community Emergency Response Team in Furthering Community Resilience.

The work of both Dr. Abruzzese and Professor Barany stems from the research agenda they pursued in their studies as part of NJCU’s Doctoral Program in Civil Security Leadership, Management & Policy (see https://www.njcu.edu/professional-security-studies/dsc-civil-security).  The program offers one of the first doctoral degrees in the field of Security Studies in the U.S. Launched in the summer of 2012, students are immersed into a generalist civil security doctorate using the three distinct areas recognized by ASIS - International: National Security (Homeland Security and Intelligence), Corporate Security, and Information Assurance/Cyber Security. The DSC is a scholar-practitioner degree, with a strong research and analysis component that is ultimately demonstrated by a successful dissertation. 

The 2018 UAPI Summit emphasizes educational practices and research leading to identifying, understanding and providing solution to the most complex challenges facing the Homeland enterprise. 

Abstracts of the presentations are below:

  • A. Abruzzese, Challenges of Assessing Community Disaster Resilience in a Pre-disaster Context.
    • Resilience has become the new buzzword. People use it all the time, without really knowing what resilience is. Most people believe that being resilient is simply recovering from what some would consider to be trivial setbacks. Others believe that they are resilient because they are simply prepared to face one expected challenge or another. Is this truly resilience? How do people know that they are or can be resilient in the face of a disaster without first experiencing the disaster? Are they resilient because they have been able to recover from one event? Or, are they resilient because of capabilities and capacities that exist inherently in their communities? In a doctoral study conducted over the summer of 2017, an existing survey was used to assess and compare the perceptions held by local emergency managers and members of the local chambers of commerce regarding the level of resilience in their communities. This presentation will examine the concept of resilience and some of the challenges encountered in attempting to measure the perceptions of community disaster resilience during this study: the challenge of estimating the level of community engagement, an apparent lack of confidence among one group; non-applicability of questions to the specific practices of the community; a misunderstanding of the influence of county government on EM; an assumption that all communities are equal and that resilience can be assessed in terms of all hazards planning. 
  • M.Barany, Assessing the Township of Woodbridge, New Jersey Community Emergency Response Team in Furthering Community Resilience.                                                                                  
    • Natural and man-made disasters have increasingly strained the resources of emergency response personnel in local governments. Townships often turn to Community Emergency Response Teams (CERTs), which are community-based teams comprised of trained volunteers managing and assisting emergency response teams in pre and post disaster/crisis events. In times of crisis, research shows that much of the American public believes that Federal, State, or Local emergency services will be available to assist those in need. In certain areas however, community-based volunteer organizations such as CERTs are the first to respond to nature-made crisis events such as flooding, tornados, and hurricanes. CERTs may be a cost-effective measure for promoting community resilience and preparedness within a town, but questions remain regarding how the community views their effectiveness. CERTs are normally evaluated by surveying CERT coordinators along with local and state government and emergency management officials, which may fail to consider the perceptions of the citizens of a community. In utilizing the Conjoint Community Resiliency Assessment Measure (CCRAM) in CERT evaluation, towns can not only gauge community resilience, but potentially assess their citizens’ understanding and perceptions of the effectiveness of their local CERT. The CCRAM is a validated community resilience tool developed in Israel that measures the community’s perception of leadership, collective efficacy, preparedness, place attachment, and social trust. This study considers the impact of the CERT team on the residents of the Township of Woodbridge, New Jersey.