The Office of Emergency Management (OEM) at UNC Charlotte was established in the early 2000s as a business continuity steering committee. The committee was formed as a result of an audit finding related to information technology and disaster recovery. At the time, the initiative did not have a full-time position to manage the program, but was steered toward an associate vice chancellor (AVC) level. The committee was guided by templates and approaches developed at other institutes of higher education. Around 2005, a full-time planner was hired to guide the development of department/unit plans and exercises, but still primarily focused on business continuity.
From 2006-2009, a number of internal and external incidents and events continued to highlight the importance of the program and heightened awareness for the need to expand. In April 2006, an explosion on campus resulted in injuries and a fatality as well as a four-day power outage. The following year, the mass shooting at Virginia Tech occurred, and in subsequent years, a variety of pandemics gained the attention of University leadership. These incidents all occurred during a time of exponential growth and change for the University. With a number of changes in University leadership and the retirement of the AVC/director of business continuity planning (BCP), the office was in a time of transition.
In 2014, the office began a new era of leadership and started taking on additional responsibilities. A new director and analyst were hired and renewed funding for office initiatives took place. Additionally, an emphasis was placed on standardizing the BCP program, developing a management tool and refining the planning approach. In 2016, a new full-time position focused on emergency planning was hired and the office was rebranded as the Office of Emergency Management (OEM). Along with the rebranding, the office continued to take on more roles and responsibilities that aligned with a traditional office of emergency management.
In 2018, the office was supported with an additional full-time position focused on emergency training and exercise (presently in the hiring process). Currently, the office has concluded an entire rewrite of the campus Emergency Operations Plan (EOP), developed a base Business Continuity Plan (BCP) and led the effort to develop both a comprehensive Crisis Communications Plan (CCP) and an associated Family Assistance Center (FAC) Plan.