National Fire Academy partners with Columbia Southern University for enhanced Executive Fire Officer program

October 20, 2023

The National Fire Academy (NFA) Executive Fire Officer (EFO) Program “Applications in the Exercise of Leadership: Capstone I” (M5104) course is now available through Columbia Southern University (CSU).

Spanning over 6 months, this collaboration will guide students through their capstone research and paper.

“It is exciting to join forces with CSU to add this new dimension to the flagship program of the National Fire Academy: and by doing so add important benefits to executive officers in their pursuit of leadership excellence,” expressed Ed Kensler, EFO Program Training Specialist at the NFA.

The enhanced NFA/CSU partnership promises several advantages for EFO students:

  • Prolonged faculty advisement throughout the program. Previously, the course lasted 3 months with an extra 3 months for independent research. Now, CSU faculty will support students for the entire 6 months, including during the research project.
  • A streamlined capstone research process, with consistent faculty guidance to ensure success.
  • Access to university resources previously unavailable via the NFA, such as writing assistance, extended research infrastructure, and institutional review board approval if needed. However, the National Emergency Training Center (NETC) library remains open to EFO students throughout the program.

This structural modification will further enhance the EFO Program’s longstanding commitment to providing top-notch preparation for fire officers, ultimately aiming to boost the safety and resilience of their communities. Since its launch in 1987, the EFO Program has successfully trained 4,659 graduates.

Misti Kill, Ph.D., vice provost for Academic Affairs and dean of CSU’s College of Safety and Emergency Services, commented: “Our partnership with the National Fire Academy allows CSU another opportunity to collaborate with budding firefighter leaders, positively influencing their departments and the broader profession. Partnering with the NFA and offering additional academic assistance to the fire and EMS leaders they cater to is truly an honor.”

Prospective EFO Program candidates must undergo a structured, fair, and competitive selection process. For detailed information on program requirements and application processes, individuals can consult the U.S. Fire Administration’s EFO Requirements/Application information page.

Key Dates for the National Fire Academy Program

  • Oct. 15-20, 2023: “Exercise of Executive Leadership: Community” (R5203)
  • Oct. 29-Nov. 3, 2023 & Dec. 3-8, 2023: “Applications in the Exercise of Leadership: Capstone II” (R5204)
  • Oct. 30-Nov. 10, 2023: “Exercise of Executive Leadership: Self” (R5201)
  • May 12-18, 2024: “Exercise of Executive Leadership: Organization” (R5202)
  • September-October 2024: “Exercise of Executive Leadership: Community” (R5203)

FSJA Comment

The collaboration between the National Fire Academy and Columbia Southern University is a monumental step in advancing the education and training of executive fire officers. By combining the strengths of both institutions, future leaders in the fire and emergency services will receive a comprehensive education that’s supported by both practical and academic expertise. With the extended program and the support of CSU’s faculty, students will be better equipped to tackle their roles in their respective communities, driving positive change and enhancing safety standards across the board.

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