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 two 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 last five of the 15 professional contributions.
The requirement here is “any personalized award, honor, or special recognition received within the disaster/emergency management community or in conjunction with an emergency preparedness activity.” If the award is not addressed to the individual submitting the application, the Commissioners will not approve it.
Many candidates who receive resubmission letters for this contribution submitted an award or special recognition that was addressed to the office or was not addressed at all. It was not personalized. Other reasons for non-approval of a submission are longevity or routine performance awards.
However, there is an exception to the routine performance award. The application requirements state, “Routine, mass-mailed thank you letters or certificates of participation are acceptable, provided the candidate adequately describes why the award is unique or special.” Here the emphasis is on “unique or special.”
The requirement is for the candidate to have “earned a certification as an emergency manager through a government agency, state/province/tribal association, or professional association that is emergency management related, contains a continuing education unit (CEU) requirement, and a term of expiration.” In addition, the certification must be in comprehensive emergency management.
The Commissioners are looking for independent documentation that the candidate has earned an emergency management certification within the application period – 10 years for initial certification and five years for a recertification. They also want to see a document (a copy of the information from the web page is acceptable here) that describes their continuing education requirement and an expiration date for the certification.
Those candidates who receive a resubmission letter usually forget to upload one or both of the required documents. Candidates also will receive a resubmission letter when the certification is for something other than comprehensive emergency management (all four phases of emergency management).
Recently, some candidates have submitted a certificate in emergency management rather than a certification. It is different. A certificate is a document that demonstrates a candidate completed one or more courses of instruction on the given topic.
Certification is a warranty or guarantees that a person has accomplished a variety of requirements and possesses some specified level of skill(s). Don’t confuse the two, as the Commissioners do not confuse them.
The requirement is for the candidate to “contact an elected representative at the national, regional, tribal, or local government level regarding an emergency management issue.” The main requirement here is elected representative.
Candidates who must resubmit under this contribution usually claim an appointed official or a government agency leader. Neither person is an elected representative. The next requirement is that the issue is emergency management related. Ensure your issue involves some activity under one or more of the phases of emergency management.
Highlight the issue in your letter before uploading, to make it easy for the Commissioners to verify your claim. The last requirement here is that the candidate also must “submit a copy of his/her original correspondence and a copy of the reply or email receipt from the elected official.” Don’t forget to upload both documents. Submitting only one document will result in a resubmission letter.
The requirement is for the candidate to “play a significant role in the development and execution of an emergency management research project.” We define a significant role as being “the primary researcher and author or secondary researcher and author. It does not mean being “the research subject, interviewee, supervisor, college professor, photographer, typist, proofreader, printer, or similar role.”
Research in the requirement here is defined as “a systematic investigation, including research development, testing and evaluation, designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge.” These activities include research that may have been “conducted or supported under a program which is considered research for other purposes. For example, some demonstration and service programs may include ‘action’ research activities and they would be included in this definition of research.
Examples that qualify under the Research contribution include “professor-supervised graduate-level research for graduate thesis or dissertation, developing a project under the Natural Hazards Centers’ Quick Response program, publishing research that updates previous research projects with new data, producing independent analysis for government or nongovernment interest groups (ex. Congressional Research Service, IAEM, Rand Corporation), or research related to expert testimony before relevant government bodies with subpoena authority (state legislatures, some city councils).”
A key aspect most candidates overlook that may result in a resubmission letter is our list of examples that do not qualify under this contribution category. The requirements specifically state, “Producing after action reviews, local hazards analyses, and regular school reports and papers do not qualify under this contribution.
Being an interview subject for a research project does not qualify either.” Yet despite these specific instructions, candidates still submit these types of documents for “research” contribution credit. Don’t do it. The Commissioners will not approve the submission.
The requirement states: “Other contributions may be recognized if they do not apply to one of the other established categories. An example is volunteering to go on a disaster assignment not in your jurisdiction. Contributions must clearly demonstrate a commitment to the emergency management profession.” Candidates often submit a contribution here that clearly fits under a different category. When that occurs, the Commissioners may choose to move it to the category where it really belongs. If there is an approval already made for that category, the Other contribution is not approved.
Another issue resulting in a resubmission is that the documentation provided does not “demonstrate a commitment to the emergency management profession.” The documentation is about an activity not related to emergency management (four phases), but to something else. It could be tactical issues like fire, law enforcement, military, or medical. It could be a business issue not related to emergency management or a personal issue. If the activity does not “demonstrate a commitment to the emergency management profession,” Commissioners will not approve the submission.
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 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 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 that the documentation you upload is complete, accurate, and validates the claim being made. Also, ensure the documentation is readable. 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 I will describe continuing errors the Commissioners encounter with the essay. As usual, please send any questions you have about the examination or the certification process to me at email@example.com, and I will address them in future articles.
IAEM Bulletin, September 2018
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