Degree Program Courses

Mitigating and Managing a Crisis (MLD-381)Harvard Kennedy School, Juliette Kayyem. How an institution responds to a variety of crises - whether a terrorism attack, a major hurricane, a plane crash, a foreign entity abusing a social media platform – is one of the most challenging and consequential aspects of leadership.  Understanding what a crisis is, when you are in it, and what skills are needed to manage through it is an essential skill for government and private sector leaders.  To understand crises response takes more than skills in communication, leadership or incident command; though necessary, it also takes an understanding of the complex political, regulatory, international, ethical, and legal regimes that govern the incident and the skills to manage these different and sometimes conflicting concerns. Drawing mostly on case studies and lessons learned, from crises as far ranging as Hurricane Katrina to Haiti earthquake to the Boeing air crashes, the course will provide to all students a deeper understanding not merely of the mechanics of crises response but how the law, politics, and policy empower and hinder our capability to respond.

Protecting a Homeland: Managing the Flow of People, Goods, and Ideas (IGA-615)

*Not offered in Academic Year 20/21*

Harvard Kennedy School, Juliette Kayyem. In the United States, "homeland security" is commonly understood as the collective effort to stop bad actors from doing dangerous things. The challenge for any nation, however, is much more complicated. Homeland security is fundamentally about the secure flow of people, goods, networks, and ideas. Security is about movement as much as it is about walls. In this course, students will examine and debate how governments around the world can best minimize all risks, maximize national defenses, and still maintain who they are as open societies. In a world where threats – from terrorism and cybersecurity, to climate change and pandemics – have no borders, this balance can be fraught. While offered within IGA, this course is also, in many respects, a domestic policy course because it wrestles with issues such as immigration, federalism, infrastructure, commercial activity, and civil liberties.

To provide students the tools necessary to conceptualize the challenges facing homeland security in the United States and abroad, this course will examine what is commonly referred to as the "homeland security enterprise," a broad array of federal agencies, levels of governments, businesses, and nongovernmental organizations, individuals, families, and communities. Students will leave this course with a stronger conception of the kind of nation they want to secure, and a better understanding of how to weigh and implement the policies and choices about safety and security in their homeland.

Enterprise Risk Management: Strategy and Leadership in the Face of Large-Scale Uncertainties (HBS 1518):

*Not offered in Academic Year 20/21*

Harvard Business School, Dutch Leonard. This HBS capstone course is designed for anyone who, over the course of his or her career, will lead an organization that faces large-scale risks - like earthquakes, storms, terror incidents, and product liability or other brand reputation crises - as a supplier, as a responder, or as a potential or actual victim (and, hopefully, as a survivor). The course will cover principles and concepts of emergency management, and will examine best organizational processes and practices, including the Incident Management System (a broadly-applicable and widely-embraced structure for organizing teams to manage crisis situations). The course will go beyond looking "into the moment" of crisis, taking a much broader strategy perspective on enterprise risk management to include prevention and preparation before an event takes place and recovery after an event in addition to actions taken during an event. 

Harvard Extension School Courses

Crisis Management and Emergency Preparedness (MGMT E-5090): Offered by PCL Faculty Co-Director Arnold Howitt, this course emphasizes a managerial perspective on crisis management and emergency preparedness, examining the stresses that crisis places on individual and group decision- making; crisis communications; strategies to address “routine” and “crisis” emergencies; and methods for implementing responsive actions.

Disaster Relief and Recovery (MGMT E-5095): Taught by PCL Faculty Co-Director Arnold Howitt, this course focuses on the management of humanitarian relief—shelter, food, medical care, and the restoration of critical public services and basic economic activity—once disaster rescues have been accomplished. It also looks at the dynamics of community recovery in the aftermath of major disasters, using examples from the United States and several other countries. 

Douglas Ahlers

Douglas Ahlers lectures on disaster recovery in urban areas. Photo: Patrick Semansky.