Areas of Study

Required Core Courses

DEP-601 Interdisciplinary Foundations in Deaf-Centered Disability Inclusive DRR & Emergency Planning

DEP-602 Summer Institute: Deaf-Centered Disability Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction & Emergency Planning Fieldwork

IDP-774 Program Development and Evaluation for Social Change

IDP-775 Project Design and Implementation for Social Change


Elective Courses offered during the Fall of 2023 (select one):

MPA-795 Social Equity in Public Administration

PHS TOPIC:-595 Foundations of Environmental Health

SWK-713 Issues in Human Behavior and the Social Enviornment: Deaf and Hard of Hearing Populations


Elective Courses offered during the Spring (select one):

DAS-532 Fundamentals of Geographic Information Systems

PHS TOPIC:-595 Behaviorial Health Interventions

SWK-715 Disability Policy: Implications for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Populations

SWK-795 Trauma & Resiliency with Deaf Communities

Courses & Requirements

Summary of Requirements

Summer I

Climate change and humanitarian disasters are becoming more frequent and more severe, demanding specialists prepared to engage in disaster risk reduction and emergency planning-related advocacy, capacity-building, research, and training across a range of fields and service sectors. 15% of the world population or 1 billion people is comprised of people with disabilities, and 70 million people are Deaf, DeafBlind, Hard of Hearing, or Deaf-plus. This course introduces students to Disability inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction (DiDRR) frameworks, core areas of practice in Deaf-centered DiDRR, and key concepts, international policies and guidelines, assessment tools, and DiDRR entities and networks. The course includes field visits with disaster and emergency services organizations, and provides opportunities for hand-on practice within each core practice area.
Credits: 3

Students must be admitted to the certificate program in order to participate in the course.

Distribution: Certificate, Graduate, Hybrid

Fall I

IDP-775 introduces students to the design, planning, and implementation of community development projects with Deaf, DeafBlind, Hard of Hearing people, signed language communities, and people with disabilities with a focus on disaster and humanitarian contexts. Theoretical frameworks address the nature of social change in societies around the world, the interrelationship between inequitable social conditions and efforts such conditions, and the value of local constituencies’ involvement in shaping change. Students will develop essential skills for designing projects, as well as training in collaborative team-building and facilitation of projects that are sensitive to local communities’ viewpoints, social interests, and leadership in local and international development networks.

Credits: 3

Prerequisites: Current enrollment in the International Development Masters of Arts Program; or permission of instructor

Distribution: Graduate, Masters

This concentration course, taken in the second year, focuses on human behavior and the social environment of deaf and hard of hearing populations. The course looks at the complex interplay of psychosocial, system, and ecological forces in the life cycle development of individuals who experience deafness. The course explores forces of oppression and political and economic influences that impact the behavior, adaptation, and functioning of deaf and hard of hearing people.

Credits: 3

Prerequisites: SWK 705 and SWK 706

Distribution: Graduate, Masters

Spring I

This course focuses on collaborative formulation, development and evaluation of programs working with Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing people and people with disabilities in disaster and humanitarian contexts. Exploring current philosophical, theoretical, and methodological stances related to collaborative program development, course activities demonstrate the salience of international human rights frameworks for sign language-centered leadership and disability rights, and connect these to bi- and multilateral organizational and funding channels now undergoing enhancement as a result of the United Nations introduction of the Sustainable Development Goals. Using the latter as a foundation to identifying socioeconomic problems and barriers to self-determination, participation, and equity, students will design program proposals in response to an actual Request for Proposal (RFP). Work on peer teams, students will then submit an Evaluation Plan for an actual program. In addition to cultivating program development and evaluation skills, course activities provide students with opportunities to practice program management skills and grant-writing experience.
Credits: 3

Permission of the instructor

Distribution: Graduate, Masters

The course introduces students to ArcGIS Online, an online Geographic Information System (GIS) application from Esri. With GIS, the student can explore, visualize, and analyze data; create 2D maps and 3D scenes with several layers of data to visualize multiple data sets at once; and share work to an online portal. GIS analytics tools are used in many disciplines and fields of practice including public health, history, sociology, political science, business, biology, international development, and information technology. In the end of the course, students will have the opportunity to take additional training on GIS applications in their specific field of interest.

Credits: 3

Permission of instructor. This section is designed for Graduate students.

Distribution: Graduate

This course presents specialized content about social welfare policies affecting deaf and hard of hearing people and people with disabilities. These policies are discussed within the framework of analysis and evaluation to determine future directions for policy. The impact of the service delivery, funding, and organizational systems on the implementation of policy will be considered. The course will look at policies for people who are deaf-blind, developmentally disabled, and chronically mentally ill.

Credits: 3

Prerequisite: SWK 711.

Distribution: Graduate, Masters

Summer II

Climate change-related and humanitarian disasters are becoming more frequent and more severe, increasing the demand for specialists prepared to conduct research, training, and leadership across a range of fields and service sectors. This course is taught by an interdisciplinary faculty team, together with field-based deaf community and scientific organizational partners, to immerse students in settings where deaf community partners are committed to establishing Disability inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction and Emergency Planning resources, mechanisms, and networks. The Summer Institute places heavy emphasis on practical skill-building and communication with collaborative partners in such activities as community-led situational analysis and capacity-building, DiDRR advocacy, and coalition-building with key disaster/emergency, science, and governmental entities. Fieldwork sites will be determined each year, depending on level of community interest, disaster impact, and safety of the sites under consideration, including international or domestic locations.
Credits: 3

Students must be admitted to the certificate program in order to participate in the course.

Distribution: Certificate, Graduate
Program Outcomes

1. Describe the relationships between climate change, disasters, and human adaptation and resilience with respect to international research findings and policy recommendations.

2. Identify the needs of deaf, hard of hearing, and deaf-disabled people and communities in disaster planning and relief.

3. Describe the theory, practice, and purpose of Disability Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction.

4. Demonstrate knowledge of government systems and international treaties and mechanisms governing Disability Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction and Emergency Planning (e.g. IASC, UN Security Council Resolution on PWD in situations of conflict)

5. Conduct community participatory disaster risk assessment and mitigation planning with deaf, deafblind, hard of hearing people and people with disabilities, their families, and communities.

6. Advocate for development of information and communication materials, mitigation planning and response protocols, disability inclusive policy guidance, and hiring of deaf DRR trainers and specialists with organizations and government entities.


Faculty and Staff

Caroline Solomon

School Director

Hayley Stokar
Social Work

Assistant Professor

Kota Takayama
Social Work

Assistant Professor

Maegan Shanks


Emily Shaw

Associate Professor

Geoffrey Whitebread

Assistant Professor

Get the Details

Fill out our inquiry form for an Admissions Counselor to contact you.

Inquiry Form
Apply Today

Create an account to start Your Applications.

Create an Account
Contact the Admissions Office?
Graduate Admissions

Contact Us

Certificate in Global Leadership in Deaf-Centered Disability Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction and Emergency Planning

(202) 246-5036

(202) 601-9522 (VRS)


Select what best describes your relationship to Gallaudet University so we can efficiently route your email.
By submitting this form, I opt in to receive select information and deaf resources from Gallaudet University via email.
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.