Emergency Planning and Management, B.S.
Adult Professional Studies

As the only major in EPM in this region, Immaculata’s emergency planning and management bachelor’s degree-completion program is recognized by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

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An impending snowstorm may not strike fear in people like a hurricane or earthquake but graduates of Immaculata’s emergency planning and management (EPM) program have been trained to know that you still need to be prepared. Just like the terrorist events of September 11, you typically cannot “plan” for a catastrophic event – but you can be as prepared as possible.

With a Bachelor of Science in emergency planning and management (EPM) you will be prepared and will help others be prepared by planning and directing disaster response or crisis management activities, providing disaster preparedness training, and creating emergency plans and procedures for natural and man-made disasters. Professionals must understand the role of governments at every level, plan effectively, assess vulnerability, and manage the distribution of resources during a crisis.


An advisory board guides the program, and board members have extensive emergency management expertise. If you’re interested, you can become a member of the Immaculata University chapter of the Order of the Sword and Shield National Honor Society, Omicron Sigma Sigma.

The frequency of natural and man-made disasters has created a demand for professionals who can respond to the physical, psychological and economic needs of the people, organizations and communities affected. Even as hiring in the occupation is expected to grow 5-8% by 2020, most organizations now expect EPM professionals to have a college degree and specialized training.

Credit for Prior Learning

You may obtain college credit for learning through life experience. Military training and education, technical and professional programs, and testing through exams such as CLEP or DANTES (Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support) are acceptable ways of earning college credits for prior learning. Each student’s experiences are handled on a case-by-case basis.

Emergency Planning and Management Advisory Board

Immaculata’s Emergency Planning and Management program advisory board utilizes the expertise of its members to provide strategic advice that helps guide the development and administration of the program. Our board offers valuable guidance to help ensure that our program offerings fulfill the needs of the profession. Our advisors volunteered to work pro bono because they recognize the benefits of our bachelor’s degree for emerging leaders in emergency management. Their advice is non-binding and they bear no legal responsibilities with the institution.

Board Members

Robert P. French
Major General (Retired), U.S. Army

Former Director of PEMA, PA Emergency Management Agency

The culminating point of Major General (Ret.) Robert P. French’s long service to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania was his service as director of the Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) and simultaneously as the governor’s Homeland Security Advisor from 2007 to 2011. He also served in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard from 1972 through 2009, retiring at the rank of major general.

General French served in a variety of key positions while in the Headquarters State Area Command, including director of personnel, chief of staff for the Headquarters State Area Command, Joint Force Headquarters deputy commander, and assistant adjutant general. During his service, one of his primary responsibilities was to ensure that guard units were ready for emergency services throughout the Commonwealth.

General French earned his baccalaureate degree in education from Mansfield University of Pennsylvania and a master’s degree in strategic studies from the U.S. Army War College. He also earned several related government and military certificates in leadership, logistics, and management.

Throughout his career, he has received numerous meritorious and service awards, including the Distinguished Service Medal, the Pennsylvania Distinguished Service Medal and the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal.

General French remains involved in a number of professional and civic organizations. He continues his service to the nation as a civilian aide to the secretary of the army.

Dennis Dougherty 
Director of the Department of Campus Safety and Protection, Immaculata University

Dennis Dougherty manages the daily operations of campus safety, directs security at large-scale campus events and is responsible for the institution’s emergency management and planning efforts. He coordinates the University’s annual tabletop exercises and is a member of the exercise planning team with facilitators from the Chester County Department of Emergency Services.

Prior to coming to Immaculata University, Dougherty was employed by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Regional Task Force where he served as the task force’s law enforcement liaison and coordinated the purchase of emergency response equipment for first responders in Philadelphia and the surrounding counties. He worked closely with city and county emergency management representatives to ensure compliance with the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency’s (PEMA) guidelines and with the Department of Homeland Security’s Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) grant requirements.

Dougherty served with the Pennsylvania State Police for 26 years, retiring at the rank of captain. For nine years, he was the officer in charge of a state police station in Chester County, managing the daily operations of 60 state troopers and support staff. As a station commander, Dougherty collaborated with schools, community groups, and emergency response agencies in incident response and crisis management. During his career with the state police, he managed the department’s criminal intelligence section, instructed at the State Police Academy, supervised a criminal investigation unit, and investigated the distribution/sale of illegal drugs.

Dougherty received a Bachelor of Science in administration of justice from Shippensburg University and a master’s degree in business administration for Drexel University. He is also a graduate of the FBI National Academy law enforcement executive program and the Pennsylvania State University police executive development program.

In addition to extensive law enforcement training, he has completed several FEMA training courses including multi-hazard planning for higher education (L363).

Heather Morgan
Training and Exercise Coordinator, Montgomery County Department of Public Safety

Heather Morgan is responsible for the design, development, and implementation of a variety of training exercises and whole community disaster drills which are designed to test the capabiities and capacities of the Department and emergency stakeholders in Montgomery County.

Morgan has worked for the Chester County Department of Emergency Services (CCDES) and the Tulsa Area Emergency Management Agency as their finance and grants coordinator. As the Training and Exercise Coodinator for CCDES, she managed PEMA certifications for county and municipal staff, provided trainings for emergency management stakeholders, and designed and conducted exercises for the department and community. In Oklahoma, she was involved in addressing tornado outbreaks including the 2013 Moore, Oklahoma tornado.

In addition to working for the county, Morgan serves as the finance and administration manager for Team Rubicon region 3. She has also conducted wildfire and animal evacuation research and co-authored the teacher’s manual for the textbook Social Vulnerabilities to Disaster.

Morgan earned her Bachelor of Science in meteorology and a master’s degree in emergency management from Millersville University in Lancaster, PA. She is also a graduate of FEMA’s Basic Leadership Academy and master exercise practitioner program.

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