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Tulane SoPA faculty collaborates with Naval Postgraduate School to establish Pracademic Affairs journal

January 21, 2021 3:45 PM
Roger Dunaway roger@tulane.edu
Tulane SoPA’s Michael Wallace is a co-founder of Pracademic Affairs, a new journal that will catalog the experiences of practitioners in the fields of emergency management and homeland security/defense, for use in higher education. (Photo by Sally Asher)


Two professors in Tulane University’s School of Professional Advancement’s Emergency & Security Studies Program have recently partnered with the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) Center for Homeland Defense and Security (CHDS) to establish Pracademic Affairs, a journal featuring the work and experiences of practitioners in the fields of emergency management and homeland security/defense, for use in higher education.

Pracademic Affairs was officially launched at the 13th Annual Homeland Defense and Security Education Summit in November 2020, and the inaugural edition will debut online this spring.

The journal’s mission is to provide emergency management and homeland security practitioners an inviting platform to record their extensive and valuable knowledge from real-life experiences, such as responses to natural or human-caused disasters like hurricanes and tsunamis, floods, wildfires, pandemics, industrial accidents or terrorism. These articles will provide for peer-to-peer sharing of lessons learned and best practices to help improve community resilience.

“We’re focused on the practitioner-scholar and want to provide a voice in higher education for homeland security and emergency management.”

- Michael Wallace

The concept for the Pracademic Affairs journal came from Michael Wallace, the director of SoPA’s Emergency and Security Studies Program, and Meghan McPherson, an adjunct professor for SoPA and the director of emergency management for Mount Sinai Queens Hospital in New York City.

“We had an idea for a publication that could provide practitioners with an opportunity to share their experiences across academics and in the practical side of our community,” said Wallace. “We’re focused on the practitioner-scholar and want to provide a voice in higher education for homeland security and emergency management. We believe this journal meets an essential need.”

“Working in both the operational and academic spheres of emergency management, it became clear there is a real deficit in this space. It can be hard to find the right fit to publish and disseminate this important information. We wanted to create a welcoming space for our colleagues across the country to share important perspectives effectively,” said McPherson.

With their vision still in the planning stages, Wallace and McPherson reached out to Steve Recca, the University and Agency Partnership Program director for the NPS Center for Homeland Defense and Security. Recca recommended approaching the editors of Homeland Security Affairs, the NPS Journal for Homeland Defense and Security, to discuss a possible partnership. Wallace and McPherson pitched the journal idea to the editors, and the concept was not only accepted but deemed very timely.

“Tulane University has been one of the stalwart partners for the Center for Homeland Defense and Security since 2007. We have maintained a close working relationship with Tulane that is very much valued by the CHDS and contributes to the overall effectiveness of homeland security education in the United States. We have worked to join projects together, including symposium planning, the sharing of valuable information on education activities on classroom learning that has been valuable, not just for Tulane and the Naval Postgraduate School, but for larger partnership networks that I manage,” said Recca, who is also a member of the Pracademic Affairs review board.

With the hope of bridging the academic and practical side with real-world situations, Wallace and McPherson put together a six-person editorial review board that features a balance of individuals from the public, private and academic sectors.

Among the board members is Bradley Hubbard, the Senior Emergency Response Specialist for Shell Oil Company. Hubbard oversees emergency preparedness and response for onshore and offshore exploration/production operations in North and South America. He has also served on the advisory board for the emergency management program at Tulane for several years and is a member of the Pracademic Affairs review board.

“The partnership and initiative serve to fill a need in the emergency management space. The journal will provide an outlet for individuals on both the academic and practitioner sides to publish and share lessons learned in real-time experiences in a way that can support the academic community. This will showcase the practitioner’s ability to work collaboratively with other academic entities to advance emergency management as a modern and relevant professional discipline needed in our communities,” said Hubbard.

Submissions for the first edition are due by Jan. 31, 2021. Guidelines and detailed information are available here. The topic-driven journal will be distributed twice a year.

“We’re trying to get the word out about the journal and are encouraging submissions from all levels of practitioners. This journal should be accessible to everyone in the field,” said Wallace.