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Interactions between risk managers and publics represent the ‘coalface’ for disaster risk reduction. Despite the centrality of these relationships, they are rarely the focus of teaching and learning. This challenge is acute in the context of ‘risk management’, where competing theories and the diversity of cases and factors contribute to masses of content, often with little connection to skill development for students. Furthermore, risk is by its nature difficult to study and often dangerous, making experience-based inquiry exceptionally rare but desperately needed. This subject addresses this gap by providing students with active participation and experience with community engagement through self-directed field research.
This subject will train students to utilise the Community Engagement for Disaster Risk Reduction (CEDRR) methodology, which uses traditional door-knocking between the emergency services and publics, but alters those interactions in order to nurture inter-personal relationships. The subject and method is premised on research that demonstrates that publics do not respond to ‘top-down instructions’ nor to awareness raising. In this subject, students will learn community engagement by doing it with individuals in their social networks (e.g., friends, neighbours, family).
Students will use the web-application for data collection, producing data that will form the basis of their assessments. The subject will deliver skills not currently taught in Australian universities, skills that organisations are increasingly seeking given acceptance that community engagement, participation, and citizen science are required for effective governance.
Intended learning outcomes
On completion of this subject students will:
- Understand and be able to compare a range of risk theories, recognizing the strengths and weaknesses of different theories;
- Be able to apply numerous methods designed to elicit and assess perceptions relating to risk;
- Be able to recognize and apply different risk framings (e.g., deficit model; citizen science), including the debate over expert-public knowledge;
- Be aware of the complicated process of risk communication and management (i.e. government-stakeholder interactions);
- Appraise the challenges of community engagement to construct a strategy for their data collection and analysis;
- Design and conduct data collection on perceptions of risk with sub-populations;
- Create an original summary document using data that they collected.
Students will learn how to conduct community engagement through experience and practice-based learning.
Last updated: 24 January 2023