I am trained as a political scientist, with a specialization in the public policy process. I am best known for my work on the politics of sudden, attention-grabbing “focusing events” such as natural disasters and industrial accidents.
After 12 years at the State University of New York at Albany, in 2007 I joined the School of Public and International Affairs at NC State, attracted by the infectious energy and enthusiasm of the people at NC State and in the Research Triangle. In my current role as Associate Dean for Research and Engagement in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, I see this energy and enthusiasm in our college every day.
I am originally from the Pacific Northwest, having grown up in Seattle and Anchorage. I have been fortunate to have been involved in recent research in Alaska.
I am working on three main lines of research. I am a member of an interdisciplinary, multi-institutional research team, the Risk and Social Policy Working Group (riskandsocialpolicy.org), which is undertaking a wide range of projects related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Second, I am part of a team of researchers from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, University of Alaska at Anchorage, LeMoyne College, and Clemson University, to study how improvements to preparedness and infrastructure might help to respond to maritime emergencies in a warming and busier Arctic. Third, I am part of a large team led by Dr. Stanley Grant at Virginia Tech University studying the governance of a problem known as “freshwater salination syndrome” in a watershed in Northern Virginia. My work on the concept of “focusing events,” for which I am best known, is ongoing.
POLITICS, POLICY PROCESSES AND MANAGEMENT
DeLeo, Rob A., Kristin Taylor, Deserai A. Crow, and Thomas A. Birkland. 2021. “During Disaster: Refining the Concept of Focusing Events to Better Explain Long-Duration Crises.” International Review of Public Policy 3 (3:1). http://journals.openedition.org/irpp/1868.
Birkland, Thomas A., and Kathryn L. Schwaeble. 2019 “Agenda Setting and the Policy Process: Focusing Events.” Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics. 26 Jun. 2019. https://oxfordre.com/politics/view/10.1093/acrefore/9780190228637.001.0001/acrefore-9780190228637-e-165.
Birkland, Thomas A. 2019. An Introduction to the Policy Process: Theories, Concepts, and Models of Public Policy Making, 5th ed. (New York: Routledge). (Prior editions, 2001, 2005, 2010, 2015, M.E. Sharpe)
Birkland, Thomas A., 2013. “Disasters, Focusing Events, and Sociolegal Studies.” in Susan Sterrett, ed. Disaster and Sociolegal Studies. New Orleans: Quid Pro Books.
Birkland, Thomas A. and Sarah DeYoung. 2012. “Focusing Events and Policy Windows,” in Routledge Handbook of Public Policy, Eduardo Araral, Scott Fritzen, Michael Howlett, M Ramesh, Xun Wu, eds. London: Routledge.
Birkland, Thomas A. 2010. “Federal Disaster Policy Learning, Priorities, and Prospects for Resilience.” In Arjen Boin, Louise Comfort, and Chris Demchak, eds., Designing Resilience: Preparing for Extreme Events (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press). invited contribution
Birkland, Thomas A. 2009. “Emergency Management and the Courts in the Wake of Hurricane Katrina.” in Austin Sarat and Javier Lezaun, ed., Catastrophe: Law, Politics, and the Humanitarian Impulse (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press). invited contribution
Birkland, Thomas A. 2009. “Disasters, Lessons Learned, and Fantasy Documents.” Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management 17 (3): 146-156. peer reviewed
Birkland, Thomas A., and Sarah Waterman. 2009. “The Politics and Policy Challenges of Disaster Resilience.” In Resilience engineering perspectives. Volume 2: Preparation and Restoration, ed. C. P. Nemeth, E. Hollnagel and S. Dekker. (Burlington, VT: Ashgate). invited contribution
Birkland, Thomas A., and Regina G. Lawrence. 2009. “Media Framing and Policy Change after Columbine.” American Behavioral Scientist 52 (10):1405-1425. peer reviewed
Birkland, Thomas A. and Sarah Waterman. 2008. “Is Federalism the Reason for Policy Failure in Hurricane Katrina?” Publius. 38(4): 692-714. peer reviewed
Birkland, Thomas A. 2006. Lessons of Disaster: Policy Change after Catastrophic Events. (Washington: Georgetown University Press).
Schaefer, Todd, and Thomas A. Birkland, eds. 2006. Encyclopedia of Media and Politics. (Washington: CQ Press).
Lawrence, Regina G. and Thomas A. Birkland. 2004. “Guns, Hollywood, and Criminal Justice: Defining the School Shootings Problem across Public Arenas.” Social Science Quarterly, 85(5): 1193-1207. peer reviewed
Birkland, Thomas A. 1997. After Disaster: Agenda Setting, Public Policy, and Focusing Events. (Washington: Georgetown University Press).
ENVIRONMENTAL AND DISASTER MANAGEMENT AND POLICY
Bhide, Shantanu V., Stanley B. Grant, Emily A. Parker, Megan A. Rippy, Adil N. Godrej, Sujay Kaushal, Greg Prelewicz, Niffy Saji, Shannon Curtis, Peter Vikesland, Ayella Maile-Moskowitz, Mark Edwards, Kathryn G. Lopez, Thomas A. Birkland, Todd Schenk. 2021. “Addressing the Contribution of Indirect Potable Reuse to Inland Freshwater Salinization.” Nature Sustainability, April. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41893-021-00713-7.
Roberts, Jennifer D, Katherine L Dickinson, Elizabeth Koebele, Lindsay Neuberger, Natalie Banacos, Danielle Blanch-Hartigan, Courtney Welton-Mitchell, and Thomas A Birkland. 2020. “Clinicians, Cooks, and Cashiers: Examining Health Equity and the COVID-19 Risks to Essential Workers.” Toxicology and Industrial Health 36 (9): 689–702. https://doi.org/10.1177/0748233720970439.
Lewis, Zachary; Schwaeble, Katy; Birkland, Tom. 2020. Crisis Agenda-Setting and Aviation Security Policy after the September 11 Attacks. In Encyclopedia of Crisis Analysis. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/acrefore/9780190228637.013.ORE_POL-01595.R1.
Birkland, Thomas A. 2019. “Natural Hazards Governance: An Overview of the Field.” Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Natural Hazard Science. https://oxfordre.com/naturalhazardscience/view/10.1093/acrefore/9780199389407.001.0001/acrefore-9780199389407-e-358.
O’Donovan, Kristin and Thomas A. Birkland. 2019. “The Politics and Governance of Mitigation: Considerations for Planning.” Routledge Handbook of Urban Disaster Resilience. Chapter 5. New York: Routledge.
Sharkey, Thomas C., Thomas Birkland, Martha Grabowski, Marie Lowe, and William Wallace. 2019. “Breaking the Ice: ISE to Play Key Role in Shaping Arctic’s Future.” ISE Magazine, November: 28–33.
Pyles, Loretta, Juliana Svistova, Suran Ahn, and Tom Birkland. 2017. “Citizen Participation in Disaster Recovery Projects and Programmes in Rural Communities: A Comparison of the Haiti Earthquake and Hurricane Katrina.” Disasters, October. https://doi.org/10.1111/disa.12260. PEER
Birkland, Thomas A. 2016. “Policy Process Theory and Natural Hazards,” Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Natural Hazard Science. New York: Oxford University Press. doi: 10.1093/acrefore/9780199389407.013.75 PEER REVIEWED
Birkland, Thomas A. 2016. “Commentary: Conceptualizing Resilience,” Politics and Governance 4(4). DOI: 10.17645/pag.v4i4.823.
Warnement, Megan K., and Thomas A. Birkland. 2015. “Organizational and Policy Learning: Post Crisis Assessments.” In Organizing after Crisis: The Challenge of Learning, edited by Nathalie Schiffino, Laurent Taskin, Céline Donis and Julien Raone, pp. 235-256. Brussels: Peter Lang. invited contribution
Birkland, Thomas A. and Megan Warnement. 2015. “Critical Infrastructure in Extreme Events,” in Controversies in Science and Technology, 4th ed., Daniel Lee Kleinman, Karen A. Cloud-Hansen, and Jo Handlesman, eds. New York: Oxford University Press, Chapter 3. invited contribution
Birkland, Thomas A., and Megan K. Warnement. 2014. “Focusing Events in Disasters and Development.” In Disaster and Development, edited by Naim Kapucu and Kuotsai Tom Liou, 39–60. New York: Springer International Publishing. http://link.springer.com/10.1007/978-3-319-04468-2. invited contribution
Birkland, Thomas A., and Sarah E. DeYoung. 2011. “Emergency Response, Doctrinal Confusion, and Federalism in the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill,” Publius: The Journal of Federalism 41, no. 3 (May): 471-493. doi:10.1093/publius/pjr011.
Comfort, Louise K., Thomas A. Birkland, Beverly A. Cigler, and Earthea Nance. 2010. Retrospectives and Prospectives on Hurricane Katrina: Five Years and Counting. Public Administration Review, 70(5):669-678.
Suter, Larry, Thomas A. Birkland and Raima Later. 2009. “Disaster Research and Social Network Analysis: Examples of the Scientific Understanding of Human Dynamics at the National Science Foundation.” Population Research and Policy Review 27 (6): 1-10. peer reviewed
Horton, Benjamin, Michael Bird, Thomas Birkland, Susan Cowie, Ong Jin Eong, Andrea Hawkes, Gong Wooi Khoon, Lisa Law, Colin Macgregor, Aileen Tan Shau-Hwai, Teh Tiong Sa, Zulfigar Yasin. 2008. “Environmental and Socio-Economic Dynamics of the Indian Ocean Tsunami in Penang, Malaysia.” Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography 29(3): 307-324. peer reviewed
Birkland, Thomas A. and Carrie A. Schneider. 2007. “Emergency Management in the Courts: Trends after September 11 and Katrina.” Justice System Journal, 28(1), 20-35. peer reviewed
Birkland, Thomas A., Pannapa Herabat, Richard Little and William Wallace. 2006. “The Impact of the 26 December 2004 Tsunami on Tourism in Thailand.” Earthquake Spectra 22 (S3): S889-S900. (Special issue on the Great Sumatran Earthquakes and Indian Ocean Tsunamis of 26 December 2004 and 28 March 2005.) peer reviewed
Birkland, Thomas A., 2004. “Everything Has Changed—Or Has It? Policy Change in the Months after September 11.” Review of Policy Research 21 (2), 177-198. peer reviewed
Birkland, Thomas A., 2004. “Environmental Successes and Continued Challenges in the Hudson Valley.” Albany Law Environmental Outlook 8(2): 187-211.
National Science Foundation, “Workshop on Resilient Infrastructure for Sustainable Communities: Arlington, Virginia, 2014.” CMMI-1413857. February 1, 2014-January 31, 2015; no-cost extension to January 31, 2016. $96,834.
National Science Foundation, “Enabling the Next Generation of Hazards and Disaster Researchers.” CMMI-0758424, June 1, 2008 to May 31, 2010. Approximately $241,000 (including supplement). No-cost extension to 5/31/2011.
Subcontract to University of New Orleans (Funder: Ford Foundation) on “Implementation of the Stafford Act.” May 2008 to March 2010, approximately $39,000.
Member, project team, Statewide Logistics Study, funded by the State of North Carolina (George List, Civil Engineering, PI). My contribution: $3800.
National Science Foundation, “Physical and Social Infrastructure Impacts and Interdependencies in the December 2004 Tsunami in Southern Thailand.” $76,819, March 2005-February 2006. Awarded March 2005. Supplement to study Hurricane Katrina awarded October 2005 (approximately $11,000). No cost extension to 2008.
National Science Foundation. “Exploring Flood Mitigation Policy: A System Dynamics Approach.” CMS 0408994, approx. $200,000, June 2004-May 2006. Awarded May 2004.
“The Courts and Emergency Management after September 11.” Center for Court Innovation, $5,000, 2003-2004.
Division of Disability Determination (DDD), various projects, approximately $140,000, 2003-2005.
National Science Foundation. “Determinants of State-Level Disaster Policy Change, Improvement, and Learning.” CMS 9732233. $125,112 (estimated). June 1998-June 2000. Awarded June 1998.
New York State Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities. “UCP Personal Outcomes Project.” 1998-2005. $240,000.
State Office for the Aging (SOFA). “Evaluation of Elderly Nutrition Programs.” Approximately $75,000. September 1, 1998–April 1, 2000.
Faculty Research Assistance Program (FRAP), University at Albany. “Policy Maker Response to Focusing Events: Influences on Agenda and Policy Change.” April 1996–April 1998, $3,958.
Other Publications, Opinion Pieces and Reports
Birkland, Thomas A. 2009. “Still Too Much Risk in the Beach Plan.” News and Observer, (Raleigh, NC), September 22. http://www.newsobserver.com/opinion/columnists_blogs/story/60531.html.
Birkland, Thomas A. 2009. “Economics Nobel Sends a Message.” Charlotte Observer, October 14. http://www.charlotteobserver.com/viewpoint/story/999836.html.
Birkland, Thomas A. 2009. “Advancing FEMA in the Post-9/11 World.” Invited Comment. Natural Hazards Observer 34(2): 18-20. invited contribution
Birkland, Thomas A. 2009. “FEMA Again a Victim of Politics.” Wilmington (NC) Star-News, May 8. http://www.starnewsonline.com/article/20090508/ARTICLES/905084006?Title=Thomas-Birkland-FEMA-again-a-victim-of-politics.
Birkland, Thomas A. 2003. “Jokes Aside, The Case for Being Prepared.” Times Union (Albany, NY), February 20, A13.
Selected Papers and Presentations
Roundtable participant, “Talking about ‘Big Events’ in Environmental History,” American Society for Environmental History, Seattle, WA, March 2016.
Co-organizer, “Ambiguity and Crisis,” invited symposium co-sponsored by the Journal Policy & Politics and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, North Carolina State University, February 2016.
“Lesson Drawing from Natural Hazards and Disasters,” invited presentation, Coastal Resilience Center and Department of City and Regional Planning, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, January 2016.
Visiting Scholar, Valente Center for Arts and Sciences, Bentley University, Waltham, Mass., October 5-8, 2015.
- “Do People Ever Learn from Disasters? A Revision of the Idea of Event-Driven Policy Change,” public lecture, October 5, 2015
- “The State of the Art in Disaster Studies,” faculty seminar, October 7, 2015
“Bringing Biodiversity into Environmental Policy, or Bringing the Environment to Policy,” invited discussion, 20th Anniversary Workshop for the Biodiversity and Conservation M.S. Program, University at Albany, SUNY, Rensselaerville, NY, May 2015.
“What We Talk About When We Talk About Disasters,” invited presentation, Wayne State University, Department of Political Science, Detroit, MI, February 2015.
Warnement, Megan K., Susan E. Camilleri, and Thomas A. Birkland, “Idea Emergence within the Policy Process: Examining the Earthquake Policy Domain,” American Political Science Association, Washington, DC, August 2014.
“Converting Disaster Research into Effective Public Policy,” invited plenary presenter, Disaster Research Center 50th Anniversary Workshop, University of Delaware, Newark, DE, May 2014.
“Idea Emergence, Agenda Change, and Learning,” with Susan Camilleri and Megan K. Warnement, Western Political Science Association, Seattle, April 2014.
“Disasters, Learning and Policy Change: Research Opportunities and Challenges,” invited presentation, Department of Political Science, Clemson University, Clemson, SC, March 2014.
“The College of Arts and Sciences Works with the VP for Research,” panelist, Council of Colleges of Arts and Sciences Annual Meeting, Jacksonville, FL, November 2013.
“Policymaking for Resilience: Trade-offs between outcomes and politics of disaster risk reduction,” invited inaugural lecture at the King’s Centre for Integrated Research on Risk and Resilience, King’s College London, October 2013.
Defining, Explaining, and Testing the Role of Focusing Events in Agenda Change: 30 Years of Focusing Event Theory, with Megan K. Warnement, American Political Science Association Annual Meeting, Chicago, Illinois, August 2013 (revised version of the ECPR paper, below).
“Risk and Crisis Management in the Policy Process: Permanent or Evanescent Concerns?” with Megan K. Warnement, First International Conference on Public Policy, Grenoble, France, June 2013.
“Focusing Events in Disasters and Development,” with Megan K. Warnement (presenting author), American Society for Public Administration, New Orleans, Louisiana, March 2013.
“Multiple Streams, Focusing Events and the Policy Process: Testing and Refining the Multiple Streams Approach,” with Megan K. Warnement, ECPR 41St Joint Sessions of Workshops, Workshop on “Decision-Making under Ambiguity and Time Constraints: Assessing the Multiple Streams Framework,” Johannes Gutenberg Universität, Mainz, Germany, March 2013
“Will we ever learn from disasters? Disturbing trends and hopeful signs,” invited presentation, Center for Natural Hazards Research, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC, February 2011. Also presented at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in March 2011, and again to a visiting Chinese delegation at UNCC, December 2011.
“Disasters as Focusing Events,” Workshop on Sociolegal Studies of Disaster, Onati International Institute for the Sociology of Law, Onati, Spain, July 2011 (workshop co-organizer).
Panelist, roundtable on “Theorizing Disaster Recovery,” Natural Hazards Research and Application Workshop, Broomfield, Colorado, July 2011.
“Plus ça change: Learning, Forgetting, and the History of U.S. Disaster Policy,” 2010 Policy History Conference, Columbus, OH, June 2010.
“Reconciling Theories of Organizational and Policy Learning,” with Branda Nowell, Kristin O’Donovan, and Deena Bayoumi, Midwest Political Science Association, Chicago, IL, April 2010.
“Disaster Recovery and the Stafford Act: Problems of Policy Design,” topic of roundtable discussion on Balancing Support and Accountability in Disaster Recovery: Lessons from Katrina, American Society for Public Administration, San Jose, CA, April 2010.
Invited Member, Research Work Group, “Resilient American Communities: Progress in Practice and Policy,” Sponsored by University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Center for Biosecurity, Washington, D.C. December 2009.
Invited workshop participant, Forward Look Project: Security: Advancing a Framework for Enquiries (SAFE). Sponsored by NATO and the European Science Foundation. Paris, France, November 2008.
“Space for the River—Space for People? Social and Policy Connections between Rivers and People.” and “Shocks as Catalysts for Institutional Change: Focusing Events, Agenda Change, and Learning.” (Both invited), Freude am Fluss final conference, Radboud University, Nijmegen, Netherlands, October 2008.
“Learning from Disasters: An Elusive Goal?” and “Actors and Institutions in Risk Reduction and Hazards and Disaster Management.” Keynote presentation and invited lecture, program for the Certificate of Advanced Studies in Disaster Risk Reduction: Vulnerabilities and Capacities in the Context of Climate Change, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland, September 2008.
“Cities, Disasters, and Homeland Security.” American Political Science Association, Boston, Mass. August 2008.
Invited keynote speaker, “The Future of Hazards and Disasters Research in the Homeland Security Era: Threats and Opportunities.” Hazards and Disasters Research Meeting, Natural Hazards Research and Application Workshop, Broomfield, Colorado, July 2008.
Invited panelist, roundtable discussion on “The 2008 Presidential Candidates and the Future of Emergency Management.” Natural Hazards Research and Application Workshop, Broomfield, Colorado, July 2008.
“Guns, Hollywood and Criminal Justice: Defining the School Shootings Problem across Public Arenas.” Invited presentation to the High Seminar in the Institute for Information Technology and Media (ITM), Mid-Sweden University, Sundsvall, Sweden, May 2008.
“Are Lessons Learned Documents Fantasy Documents?” Invited presentation, Conference and Workshop on Learning from Crises and Major Accidents, Sponsored by CRISMART (part of the Swedish National Defense College), the Swedish Rescue Agency, and the Swedish Emergency Management Agency, Stockholm, May 2008.
“The Politics of Land Use Planning in Hazard Mitigation: Barriers to Learning.” Invited presentation, National Earthquake Conference, Seattle, April 2008.
“The Future of Crises and Disasters in the Homeland Security Era.” invited presentation, Stephenson Disaster Management Institute Inaugural Conference, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, April 2008.
“Hurricane Katrina, Popular and Elite (mis)Understandings of Intergovernmental Disaster Policy” (invited), Southern Political Science Association, New Orleans, LA, January 2008.
Ph.D. Political Science University of Washington 1995
M.A. Political Science Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey 1985
B.A. Political Science University of Oregon 1984
Area(s) of Expertise
My research interests have centered on the politics of natural hazards and industrial accidents. I approach my work from two angles — as a subject matter expert in this field, and as a contributor to public policy theory. In particular, my main interests are What causes some events to get on the agenda, while others do not? and Do we learn anything from sudden "focusing events" to prevent disastrous events from recurring or from being as damaging as their precursors?
Dr. Birkland will contribute his expertise on environmental policy and on key theories of the public policy-making process, with a focus on operationalization of the Institutional Analysis and Development-Socio-Ecological Systems (IAD-SES) framework.
Dr. Birkland will contribute his expertise on emergency planning and management, based on his background in the public policy process and his first-hand knowledge of the politics and culture of Alaska to meet overall objective of creating prescriptive models that help to determine where, when,and how to make infrastructure investments in the Arctic that both improve global emergency response (ER) capabilities and provide benefits, as identified through local knowledge, to Arctic communities.
Observing trends across specific SAS product forums allows for evidence-based research to drive the development of new product lines for SAS Publications.
This proposal is for a workshop on Resilient Infrastructure for Sustainable Communities(RISC). This workshop will engage the research communities that are traditionally engaged in the Resilient and Sustainable Infrastructures (RSI) cluster, such as engineering, architecture, engineered materials, systems design, and social sciences. Much of our nation's physical infrastructure--including, but not limited, to buildings and structures, power, water, transportation, and telecommunications--will experience significant loss of function, operations, and/or integrity due to its vulnerability to different natural and technological hazards. Furthermore, the design, construction, use, operations, maintenance, and deconstruction of buildings and infrastructure rely on patterns of materials, energy, and water use that threaten the earth's natural systems and the long-term ability to maintain our nation's standard of living. Buildings and infrastructure designed to be resilient to multiple hazards are less susceptible to significant damage and have the capacity to recover more rapidly from natural and technological disturbances. Buildings and infrastructure designed to be sustainable enable the long-term persistence of function of the systems, thereby saving money and protecting communities from the significant negative effects of building and infrastructure failure and the costs of systemic decay. This workshop hopes to close the gaps in our knowledge of these problems by reviewing existing knowledge, identifying potential research directions, and identifying the research infrastructure needed to put these research ideas to work.
Thomas Birkland, PhD will engage in the following activities in support of the project - contribute to literature review and conceptual development of research drawing from political science and public policy literature; consult on methodological Issues Including sampling, questionnaires and measures; contribute to data analysis and articulation of findings; assist in disseminating research results to scholarly journals and to stakeholders; and provide editorial support for final research reports.
Professor John Balaban will supervise an ongoing project to digitize all writing on paper (the woodblock library at the Temple), on stone (carved into gates, tombs, and stone stele), and on wooden placards throughout the 1000-year old Temple complex. These written materials, with their metadata, will be placed in an electronic record open for the first time to Vietnamese and scholars on the worldwide web.
This project builds on two previous NSF-sponsored projects to develop a cohort of researchers who will investigate societal aspects of hazards and disasters. The proposed project responds to two serious issues in the field: the increasingly interdisciplinary nature of natural hazards research, and the lack of an adequate cohort of junior faculty to sustain scholarship about societal aspects of extreme events into future generations. The education and training initiative we propose addresses this issue by developing a comprehensive, creative program of mentoring for recently appointed junior faculty at research universities. The objectives of the proposed mentoring program are to (1) identify and recruit another cohort of well-trained social scientists and engineers with an appreciation for the social aspects of hazards, who will undertake research about societal aspects of extreme events; (2) engage this cohort of researchers in discussions about interdisciplinary social science scholarship as it relates to research about extreme events; (3) enable this cohort of researchers to undertake sustained research on these topics by providing tutorials on proposal development and research dissemination, particularly in scholarly outlets; and (4) foster an expanded network of social scientists undertaking research on extreme events. To accomplish these objectives we will bring bright, newly appointed faculty in sustained contact over a one-year period with seasoned researchers who have strong track records in research in these areas. The faculty panel of seven senior faculty members represents the disciplines of engineering, economics, political science and public policy, sociology, and urban planning. They will engage in an intense period of mentoring with 14 junior faculty members who will be competitively selected to participate as fellows. In all, the proposal is for a two-year period that will involve detailed planning, two workshops, one-on-one mentoring, and research and writing activities. A final evaluation report will assess the program?s effectiveness.
The overall focus of the "Stafford Act Study" is to investigate the implementation of the Stafford Act and related legislation in Louisiana and Mississippi following the 2005 hurricanes Katrina and Rita to determine if federal implementation followed the law and what impact the Act had on recovery and rebuilding at the state and local levels. Due to a change in leadership of this project and the extension of the prime agreement, additional work is necessary to complete the goals of this project. As stated, this in an on-going project and this agreement will allow Drs. Thomas Birkland and Branda Nowell of North Carolina State University to continue to act as key members of the Stafford Act Study project team under the Principal Investigator, Shirley Laska, Ph.D.. Dr. Birkland's role will focus on the coordination of project findings to date and interpreting and summarizing those findings. Dr. Birkland will also present findings to date at project related conferences to include the Annual Natural Hazards Research and applications Workshop. Dr. Nowell will work additional hours to coordinate/integrate previous work with new work being done by new members of the UNO project team. This coordination will ensure that each research component benefits from the findings of other components. Drs. Birkland and Nowell will also continue to contribute to the documenting of all project findings and the dissemination of those findings.
The focus of this study is to investigate the implementation of the Stafford Act in Louisiana and Mississippi following the 2005 hurricanes Katrina and Rita to determine if decisions made at the federal level followed the law and what impact they had on recovery and rebuilding at the state and local levels. Current thinking in Louisiana is that untimely implementation, lack of uniformity of implementation, differential interpretation of regulations, delays in developing exceptional policy such as zero match (not until May, 2007), ignoring of requirements such as use of local contractors and uncertainty of use of funds such as for for-profit utilities all delayed and in many cases reduced the restoration of losses to victims, both individuals and governmental entities. With regard to the Stafford Act?s mitigation requirements, the problems in developing an agreed-upon plan with Louisiana for use of the mitigation funds as part of the recovery and the interpretation of the mitigation requirements?recommended or required?are currently considered to have permanently reduced the opportunities for post-disaster mitigation and thus future storm resiliency of the affected areas. How this could occur when the act contains specific mitigation actions and requirements is an example of the questions that will be explored.