This essay provides insights into Pierce College’s Homeland Security Emergency Management (HSEM) Program’s COVID-19 experiences. The essay provides critical institutional demographics and the College’s initial exposure to the pandemic. What follows is a synopsis of HSEM’s transition from traditional face-to-face (F2F) classes to online (OL) classes, impacts on
student’s Veterans Administration benefits, COVID-19–focused internships, special topics classes, the suspension of the Tribal HSEM program, and impacts on the Running Start program.


John E. Pennington

John E. Pennington serves as Chair and Associate Professor of Homeland Security and Emergency Management for Washington's Pierce College and is one of four lead-faculty for FEMA’s National Emergency Management Advanced Academy. Prof. Pennington is a former FEMA Region 10 Director and has led response and recovery to over 30 federally declared disasters on behalf of the federal government, tribes, and local jurisdictions. John served as Washington's 11th House Speaker Pro Tem (three terms) representing South West Washington and Mt. St. Helens. He is a Certified Emergency Manager and an Indigenous Studies Ph.D. student at the University of Alaska – Fairbanks.

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Adapting to COVID-19: Pierce College Homeland Security-Emergency Management