This case study explored the impressions a homeland security course had on the emergency service student. The setting for the study was a state-sponsored university in the western United States. The 17 participants were declared, undergraduate emergency services majors that underwent a 7.5-week distance learning homeland security course. Grounded theory was used to analyze and develop themes from student reflections from the class. The findings of the study suggested that the most important impressions students took from the class were about global awareness, an understanding of the vulnerabilities of terrorism to the nation and the importance of a homeland security education. This study’s findings add to the existing body of knowledge associated with homeland security academia, suggesting that reflective thinking and journaling are well-suited for homeland security education where many of the learners are practitioners and non-traditional students.


Eric James Russell

Dr. Eric James Russell is an Assistant Professor with Utah Valley University’s Department of Emergency Services.  Eric retired early from the Department of the Air Force Fire and Emergency Services as a Captain, his service consisted of both active duty military and civil service as a Crash-Rescue-Firefighter.  Eric holds a Doctorate of Education in Organizational Leadership and a Master of Science-Executive Fire Service Leadership from Grand Canyon University; his research and writing involve servant leadership, aviation fire and emergency services, and homeland security education.  Eric serves as a consultant to the Aircraft Rescue Fire Fighting (ARFF) industry.

John Robert Fisher

Dr. John R. Fisher is an assistant professor of Emergency Services in the School of Public Services at Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah. He received his PhD from the University of Alberta (Canada), where he studied the impact of mass communication on public policymaking. His current research interests include the application of experiential learning in emergency services bachelor's degree programs, mass communication coverage of disasters, and public policy analysis and impact on public safety. http://works.bepress.com/john_fisher/

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The Impressions of Emergency Services Students in a Homeland Security Course: The Benefits of Reflective Thinking and Journaling

Suggested Citation

Russell, E. J. & Fisher, J. R. (2014). The impressions of emergency services students in a homeland security course: The benefits of reflective thinking and journaling. Journal of Homeland Security Education, 3, 14-24, https://jsire.org/the-impressions-of-emergency-services-students-in-a-homeland-security-course-the-benefits-of-reflective-thinking-and-journaling