Dr. Cameron Carlson is the Director of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. He earned a BS in biology from Monmouth University in 1986 and an MA in international relations from Webster University in 1995. He earned his Ph.D. in security and disaster management from UAF in 2017.
How did you first get involved with SOM?
My first encounter with Mark Herrmann was when we both went to the Academic Leadership Institute in 2004. At that point, I led the ROTC program and he asked me to teach as an adjunct. I taught sports leadership for several years and then I heard SOM was considering a bachelor’s of emergency management. By then I had retired from the military as a Lieutenant Colonel and was working as an emergency manager at UA Statewide. Mark asked me to launch the program, expand it and enroll more students.
What’s the best thing to happen since you started working at SOM?
I don’t know if there has been one single thing. It sounds like such a cliché but I really do enjoy my job. I like getting up in the morning and coming in. I like teaching and the interaction with the students. I enjoyed the Ph.D. process. The other faculty members really helped me a lot to narrow my focus and realize what my field is all about. Also, I enjoyed getting into the research world and working on some of the contracts that we have had with Northcom, the US Nothern Command, and the US Alaska Command. Working with them on Arctic Domain Security Orientation, what it’s going to look like in the arctic and why it’s important. As things heat up with North Korea, people are starting to understand that Alaska is more strategically significant than we originally thought.
How do you define good teaching?
Good teaching is the ability to engage students. I make sure they are being heard and that their questions are resolved. It is our duty to make sure something of value is provided to them since their next step is to secure a job.
How do you spend your summers in Alaska?
Working on articulation agreements with college programs out of state. Outside of work, I enjoy the weather by riding my mountain bike and spending time with my wife on our deck tasting wines. We are planning our next trip to Napa Valley to visit our family.
What advice do you have for current students?
Accept some risk, push the envelope a bit and learn something that makes you slightly uncomfortable. We’re wired to seek out comfort, which is why it’s hard to let go. If you challenge yourself, it will actually help you perform at your peak.
What would you like to tell us about your family?
Every member of our family has worked for UAF at one point or another. My wife currently works at UA Statewide, but she got her start in the UAF Business Office while I was still on active duty. Our youngest daughter Shelby recently left her position with UAF financial systems, and took a job out of state. Our youngest daughter Shelby and I walked through 2017 Commencement together, she for her MBA and me for my Ph.D. Our daughter Courtney received her undergraduate and graduate degrees from SOM. Our first-born daughter Dani also got her undergraduate degree from UAF. Fun fact? Dani was the Nanook bear mascot at one point.
- Next TV binge watch in queue? Wonder Woman
- What is one thing you think everyone should own no matter the cost? A good mountain bike
- Latest song gone earworm? Run by the Foo Fighters
- In a next life, what would your career be? The exact same thing
- If you were granted one wish to change the world what would it be? To do away with cancer