Home Uncategorized APUS’ Emergency and Disaster Management Program Receives Foundation of Higher Education Specialty Accreditation

APUS’ Emergency and Disaster Management Program Receives Foundation of Higher Education Specialty Accreditation


Institutions receive accreditation from either a regional or national accrediting body.  Generally, it’s the institution that receives accreditation which covers all the programs offered by that institution at the time of the accrediting visit.  There are other accrediting bodies that accredit individual programs only, and that form of accreditation is referred to as specialty accreditation.  Recently, we received notice that our Emergency and Disaster Management program had received specialty accreditation from the Foundation of Higher Education.  I asked Dr. Chris Reynolds, Program Manager for our EDM program and our Fire Science program, to provide a little background on what the FoHE accreditation means for this program.

In 2007, the Emergency and Disaster Management program of the American Public University System initiated its accreditation request with the Foundation of Higher Education for Disaster and Emergency Management and Homeland Security. The Foundation of Higher Education (FoHE), working through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Higher Education initiative, along with practitioners and academics from around the world, developed a set of emergency and disaster management educational standards based on a hierarchy of educational objectives (much like Bloom’s Taxonomy).  These emergency management standards are centered on emergency management “best” practices, as defined by NFPA 1600 and the FEMA Higher Education initiative.

FoHE accreditation consisted of an in-depth analysis of our program with a team of assessors.  The assessment team conducted student interviews and an in-depth examination of our program objectives and student outcomes.  The process concluded with an on-site visit with the assessment team.   FoHE measures a university’s performance against 23 Standards of Excellence.  These standards are measured against general education programs, emergency management curriculum, and overall resources that impact educational quality.  Compliance with standards is measured by performance criteria, expressed as “indicators.”  A program can be determined to in “compliance,” “partial compliance,” or “non-compliance.”  In order to be accredited, a program must comply or partially comply with all 23 Standards of Excellence.  Our program was successful in each of these indicators.  Additionally, FoHE determined the quality of our student performance was one of the determinant factors that ultimately led to APUS achieving accreditation. 

It is noteworthy that American Public University System’s Emergency and Disaster Management program is the first 100% on-line university to achieve this distinction.   This also means that APUS’s Emergency and Disaster Management program is recognized among its peers as being among the top higher educational emergency management institutions in the United States.

Wally Boston Dr. Wallace E. Boston was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of American Public University System (APUS) and its parent company, American Public Education, Inc. (APEI) in July 2004. He joined APUS as its Executive Vice President in 2002. In September 2019, Dr. Boston retired as CEO of APEI and retired as APUS President in August 2020. Dr. Boston guided APUS through its successful initial accreditation with the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association in 2006 and ten-year reaccreditation in 2011. In November 2007, he led APEI to an initial public offering on the NASDAQ Exchange. For four years from 2009 through 2012, APEI was ranked in Forbes' Top 10 list of America's Best Small Public Companies. During his tenure as president, APUS grew to over 85,000 students, 200 degree and certificate programs, and approximately 100,000 alumni. While serving as APEI CEO and APUS President, Dr. Boston was a board member of APEI, APUS, Hondros College of Nursing, and Fidelis, Inc. Dr. Boston was appointed to the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity by the U.S. Secretary of Education in 2019. He also serves as a member of the Board of Advisors of the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA), as a Trustee of The American College of Financial Services, as a member of the board of Our Community Salutes - USA, and as a member and chair of the board of New Horizons Worldwide. He has authored and co-authored papers on the topic of online post-secondary student retention, and is a frequent speaker on the impact of technology on higher education. Dr. Boston is a past Treasurer of the Board of Trustees of the McDonogh School, a private K-12 school in Baltimore. In his career prior to APEI and APUS, Dr. Boston served as either CFO, COO, or CEO of Meridian Healthcare, Manor Healthcare, Neighborcare Pharmacies, and Sun Healthcare Group. Dr. Boston is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Management Accountant, and Chartered Global Management Accountant. He earned an A.B. degree in History from Duke University, an MBA in Marketing and Accounting from Tulane University’s Freeman School of Business Administration, and a Doctorate in Higher Education Management from the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education. In 2008, the Board of Trustees of APUS awarded him a Doctorate in Business Administration, honoris causa, and, in April 2017, also bestowed him with the title President Emeritus. In August 2020, the Board of Trustees of APUS appointed him Trustee Emeritus. In November 2020, the Board of Trustees announced that the APUS School of Business would be renamed the Dr. Wallace E Boston School of Business in recognition of Dr. Boston's service to the university. Dr. Boston lives with his family in Austin, Texas.



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