AEM/CEM Application Resubmissions (Professional Contributions, Part 3)

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By Daryl Lee Spiewak, CEM, TEM, MEP, Lead Trainer for the CEM Commission, and Chair, IAEM-Global Communications Work Group

Last month we continued our discussion on resubmissions, with a focus on part one of the professional contributions requirements and the general errors Commissioners encounter while reviewing certification applications. This month I will continue the resubmissions discussion focusing on the second five of the 15 professional contributions.


(F) Speaking

The requirement here is for the candidate to “develop and participate in three presentations or panels (including radio, television, educational, video, etc.) during the last 10 years related to disaster/emergency management.” The requirement does not specify a time limit for the speaking engagement.


It used to be a minimum of 20 minutes each, but no longer. The difficulty many candidates encounter with satisfying this contribution is their failure to document that they actually spoke on three separate engagements. The criterion tells you, “In order to get credit for Professional Contribution F) Speaking, candidates must submit three separate entries. Candidates should not upload documentation of all three           speaking engagements in a single entry.” Be sure to make three separate entries with appropriate documentation, or the Commissioners will request a resubmission.


Another difficulty is with the documentation candidates provide. Commissioners are looking for independent documentation that validates the candidate actually spoke on a topic related to disaster/emergency management. A copy of PowerPoint slides does not validate the candidate actually spoke. Neither does an invitation letter to speak nor a program schedule.


Commissioners want to see three separate and independently produced documents that validate the candidate actually spoke each time. Two speaking engagements properly documented are not good enough to meet this contribution requirement, and the Commissioners will request that one additional speaking engagement not already accepted is properly documented and resubmitted.


(G) Teaching

The requirement here is for the candidate to “complete a formal teaching or instructing commitment relating to disaster/emergency management that equals or exceeds three hours of actual platform instruction.” Teaching is different from speaking, even when both use PowerPoint slides. Teaching requires a course syllabus, instructor notes, usually some type of reference material, and an exam. The participants must achieve some stated learning objectives in order to pass the training. Conversely, in a speaking engagement, there is no course syllabus; there are no instructor notes; usually there is no reference material, though sometimes reference material may be included; and participants do not need to pass an examination. Do not confuse the two, or the Commissioners will require a resubmission.


As with other contributions, this one too has documentation problems that often result in a resubmission request by the Commissioners. Candidates do not submit independent documentation validating they actually taught for a minimum of three platform hours. Remember it does not matter that the course of instruction was more than three hours; the candidate must document teaching for at least three of the hours for a longer course of instruction.

Additional documentation errors that often require a resubmission include copies of contracts that indicate the candidate is supposed to teach a course of instruction, a copy of a course syllabus the candidate developed, or class schedules with the candidate’s name on it. None of these documents, in and of themselves, validate three hours of platform instruction. Couple them with a pay stub, and that documentation usually works.


Letters or emails from students do not count, but letters from faculty or college administrators will usually work. Just be sure the documentation indicates the date of platform instruction, the course title, and the number of hours the candidate taught the course material, or the Commissioners will request a resubmission.


(H) Course Development

The requirement here is for the candidate to document that he or she “played a significant role in the development or extensive revision of an educational emergency management course of at least three hours in length.” That is, three contact hours; not to be confused with three semester or three quarter hours at the college or university level.


Often candidates are confused by the requirement of “playing a significant role.” This means you were actually developing or rewriting the course material and not simply a subject matter expert being interviewed by course developers. It does not mean you simply developed a PowerPoint slide show or acted in a video.


Further, it does not mean you simply supervised a contractor who developed the course of instruction. What it does mean is that you (or your team) established or updated the terminal learning objectives and the enabling objectives, and developed or updated the supporting materials, including audiovisuals, student handouts, instructor notes, references, and exam questions. The Commissioners want to see independently

produced documentation validating you either developed or updated the course of instruction all by yourself or as part of a team effort where you were a major contributor. Failing that, you will have to resubmit the appropriate documentation in order to receive credit for this professional contribution.


(I) Publication

The requirement here is for the candidate to “Publish a substantive disaster/emergency management article, research project, or other publication relating to the emergency management field. The article/publication must have an independent editorial review and be published in a document beyond the candidate’s control.”


Substantive here means more than a Tweet or short news piece or article, usually more than 750 words. Publish here could be a hard copy or electronic copy. Independent editorial review here means the material is published by someone other than the candidate or under the candidate’s control. An example would be an online web page controlled and managed by the Public Information Officer and not the candidate.


Commissioners often deny submissions of articles because they were published on the emergency management office web page that was actually controlled by the candidate him- or herself. A second and important part of the requirement is for the candidate to print and insert “a copy of the publication as documentation along with any explanatory details about the publisher, circulation, audience, etc.” Most publications are small enough to meet this requirement, but candidates often forget, which results in a resubmission letter. For publications that are too large, such as a textbook, a copy of the title page with the author’s name will usually suffice. Include a copy in your original submission to prevent a resubmission.


(J) Audiovisual and Interactive Products

The requirement here is for the candidate to “personally develop content for distributed emergency management video, computer software product or other audiovisual tool.” The documentation provided must validate the candidate’s personal participation and that he or she had a significant development role in the distributed emergency management audiovisual tool. As with the course development contribution, this one also requires personal involvement in the development process and not simply as a subject matter interviewer or contract supervisor.


Commissioners want to see independently produced documentation validating the candidate personally developed the product and that the audiovisual tool was actually distributed. They also want to see the product itself, so do not forget to include a copy. If the product is online and you include a URL link in your application, be sure the link is active during the review period. If the Commissioners cannot see the actual product, the candidate will receive a resubmission letter.


Final Words

To repeat what I said in the previous article, understanding and following the detailed requirements for each specific professional contribution category and providing adequate documentation that validates your claims will go a long way in preventing a resubmission. Should you still receive a resubmission letter from the Certification Commission, don’t despair. Read the instructions carefully in your resubmission letter, and follow them exactly. Do a final review of your resubmission and all of its associated documentation to ensure that you provided everything your resubmission letter specifies.


The Commissioners will use that letter to assess your resubmission. Not meeting the requirements therein will result in a rejection letter and the loss of your certification. When you conduct your final review, use the same procedures the Commissioners use (as described above) so you won’t be surprised.


Check to ensure the documentation you upload is complete, accurate, and validates the claim being made. Also ensure the documentation is readable. Download it and check it for readability before you hit the submit button. If we cannot read it, it will not count! It is your responsibility to ensure that the resubmission is correct and complete and submitted on time (within 90 days of the date of the resubmission letter).

Next Month

Next month I will complete our discussion about the professional contributions requirements by describing errors that the Commissioners encounter under the last five professional contribution categories. As usual, please send any questions you have about the examination or the certification process to me at info@iaem.com, and I will address them in future articles. 

IAEM Bulletin, September 2018

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