The following are courses and continuing education opportunities informed by the latest research and exemplary practices developed by our expert faculty.
COURSE OFFERINGS & EXPERTISE
American Community Survey 101
The American Community Survey—adopted by the Census Bureau for the 2010 Census—contains publicly-available and critical datasets required to understand current community conditions, characteristics and the spatial distribution of populations. Understanding what data is available and how to use it is essential to a sound understanding of complex community dynamics and essential to effective decision making.
Hazard Vulnerability Mapping
This course describes vulnerability mapping, why it is important, and how it can be used. The course defines hazard exposure, focusing on physically vulnerable areas with special emphasis on social vulnerability—or characteristics of a population which may make it more vulnerable than others. The course summarizes the latest research on factors planners and emergency managers should look for when mitigating, preparing for, responding to, and recovering from disasters.
Texas Coastal Planning Atlas
Learn to use this web-based tool to gather data about your community and assess your vulnerabilities. This geographical information system tool is specifically designed for emergency managers and planners to develop a sound fact basis for decision making and evaluating coastal hazards in Texas.
Asset or Opportunity Mapping
This course compliments vulnerability mapping by focusing on opportunities to increase resilience through mitigation, preparedness, response and/or recovery planning. Participants will learn how to identify community safe zones, alternative uses for public facilities, and ways to improve local coordination in times of need.
Hazard mitigation is a required element of emergency management plans. This course describes structural and non-structural mitigation techniques that are effective for emergency managers as well as city and regional planners. The course describes a study that assessed hazard mitigation plans throughout Texas. A metric was developed to measure plan quality that can be used in assessing local plans. The study found significant gaps and weaknesses and suggests specific ways communities can bolster their hazard mitigation and increase resilience. There are many cost-effective and politically acceptable strategies that can be incorporated into the comprehensive planning process—techniques that are well established, but often overlooked.
Resilience is the ability of a community to resist and absorb impacts, rapidly recover from those impacts, and to adaptively learn from the experience. Participants will learn how to form teams, gather information and data, and align the perceptions of local knowledge with data. Participants will also learn how to form a community vision to guide the community where it wants to be and how it will get there. Participants will hear promising strategies for mobilizing human and fiscal resources, both internal and external to the community. Participants will also determine a timeline based on the community vision.
We work with organizations, departments, non-profits, and small businesses to determine the daily threats to operations and the probability of occurrence. Groups will learn what factors affect the prioritization of hazards and the planning process for such events. Instructors teach the foundations of organizational planning; the factors that determine readiness, effective communication, ways to manage disasters, and strategies to target foundations for financial assistance.
Planning for disaster recovery can greatly reduce your recovery time and increase your resilience. We will discuss elements that should be considered when developing a disaster recovery plan, as well as stakeholder engagement and case studies of effective disaster recovery plans. Participants will be able to evaluate existing recovery plans and discover elements which create high plan quality.
Plan Implementation 101
Plans not only should have high quality but most importantly should be able to be implemented. We will discuss planning strategies that promote implementation. The foundation of such plans is in the quality of goals, objectives, and actions, and identifying responsible parties and policies. Participants will use their own plans and other case studies to determine components which lead to implementation.
Emergency Management 101
Participants will learn the hierarchical structure of disaster management and the role federal, state, regional and local jurisdictions play in the process. The structure and function of Emergency Operations Centers (EOC) will be explained as well as the use of formal decision making procedures such as Incident management System (IMS). We will cover the role of planning, the behavioral components of disasters, and suggested strategies to determine protective actions.
Participants will learn about both traditional and innovative tools and techniques to attract new businesses and support existing ones in their communities. Tools for assessing economic strengths and weaknesses, development incentives and financing, and business attraction and retention will be explained, along with what local governments can do to support economic development programs in their communities.[I1]
Increasing Housing Choice
The provision of housing choice in communities is basic to helping all residents’ access high-quality opportunities, including schools, health care, jobs, fresh foods, and recreational opportunities. This course helps communities assess their own “impediments to fair housing,” and explains ways cities can increase housing choice through land use planning, capital investment programming, and review of codes and ordinances for disparate impacts.