DRC-Disaster Research Center

Dr. Tricia Wachtendorf

Associate Director
166F Graham Hall
Newark, DE 19716-2581
Phone: (302) 831-1254
Fax: (302) 831-2091
Email: twachten@udel.edu
Click here for a PDF version of Tricia's Curriculum Vitae

Teaching Schedule
On Sabatical 2010-2011

Office Hours
By appointment


Tricia Wachtendorf is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Delaware and the Associate Director of the Disaster Research Center - the world's oldest research center devoted to the social science aspects of disasters. Her research over the past decade has focused on such topics as transnational disaster coordination, community based approaches to disaster mitigation and partnership building, and multi-organizational responses to natural and terrorist-induced disasters. She has conducted quick response and reconnaissance field work following such major disaster events as the
1997 Red River Flood, the 2001 World Trade Center disaster, the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, Hurricane Katrina in 2005; the 2008 Wenchuan China Earthquake, and the 2010 Haiti Earthquake. Wachtendorf has received several grants from the National Science Foundation and the University of Delaware Research Foundation to study such topics as the waterborne evacuation of Lower Manhattan on 9/11 (with University of North Texas); materiel convergence and supply chain systems following disaster (with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute); community evacuation following hurricane events (with Cornell University); and multi-organizational leadership (with Georgia State University and the Department of Homeland Security's Center of Excellence for Natural Disasters, Coastal Infrastructure, and Emergency Management). She also has funding from the University of Delaware’s University Transportation Center to study codified and actor-anticipated interaction to a transportation corridor disaster.

Wachtendorf has been involved in numerous other projects, including DRC's assessment of a FEMA supported community mitigation initiative (known as Project Impact), risk perception and willingness to pay for loss-reduction measures in California, as well as the long term disaster impacts on business districts in California and Florida.

Dr. Wachtendorf has experience working directly with practitioners and community-based organizations on the implementation of loss-reduction and harm-reduction strategies. She teaches courses at the University of Delaware on the social science aspects of disaster, sociology, social vulnerability, and qualitative research methods.

Current Studies

“Collaborative Research Proposal on Improvisation and Sensemaking in Sudden Crisis.” Funded by the National Science Foundation and the University of Delaware Research Foundation

“DRU: Contending with Materiel Convergence: Optimal Control, Coordination, and Delivery of Critical Supplies to the Site of Extreme Events.” Funded by the National Science Foundation

“DRU: Integrated Optimization of Evacuation and Mass Care Sheltering for Hurricanes” Funded by the National Science Foundation

“Infrastructure Security and Emergency Preparedness” Funded by the University of Delaware US Department of Transportation, Research and Innovative Technology Agency, Delaware Center for Transportation and Delaware Department of Transportation

"Multi-Organizational Collaborative Leadership and Interaction.” Funded by the Department of Homeland Security as a project under the Center of Excellence for Natural Disasters, Coast Infrastructure and Emergency Management

“Resiliency of Transportation Corridors during Disaster.” Funded by the University of Delaware University Transportation Center

Selected Publications

Wachtendorf, Tricia, James M. Kendra, and Brandi Lea 2010. Community Behavior and Response to Disaster, in International Disaster Nursing (eds. Elaine Daily and Robert Powers). World Association of Disaster and Emergency Medicine and Cambridge Press.

Wachtendorf, Tricia. 2009. Trans-System Social Ruptures: Exploring issues of vulnerability and resiliency, Review of Policy Research 26(3) July.

Wachtendorf, Tricia, Bethany Brown, and Marcia C. Nickle. 2008. Big Bird, Disaster Masters, and High School Students Taking Charge: The Social Capacities of Children in Disaster Education, Children, Youth, and Environments 18(1), 456-469.   

Holguín-Veras, J., N. Pérez, S. Ukkusuri, T. Wachtendorf, B. Brown. 2007. Emergency Logistics Issues Impacting the Response to Hurricane Katrina: A Synthesis and Preliminary Suggestions for Improvement, Transportation Research Record 2022, 76-82 

Kendra, James M. and Tricia Wachtendorf, 2007. Improvisation, Creativity, and the Art of Emergency Management, Understanding and Responding to Terrorism (eds. H. Durmaz, B. Sevinc, A.S. Yala and S. Ekici). IOS Press, 2007 324-335.

Kendra, James M., and Tricia Wachtendorf, 2006. Community Innovation and Disasters. The Handbook on Disaster Research (eds. Havidan Rodriguez, E.L. Quarantelli, and Russell R. Dynes). Springer: New York, NY.     

Wachtendorf, Tricia, 2005. Suggestions for Canadian Interorganizational Collaboration in Disaster Mitigation, Emergency Management Canada. Vol. 1, No. 2, Pp. 18, 20-22, 24-

Wachtendorf, Tricia, 2004. Improvising 9/11: Organizational Improvisation in the World Trade Center Disaster, Dissertation #35. Disaster Research Center: Newark, DE.  

Kendra, James M., and Tricia Wachtendorf, 2003. Creativity in Emergency Response after the World Trade Center Attack. Beyond September 11th: An Account of Post-Disaster Research. Special Publication #39 Natural Hazards Research and Applications Information Center, University of Colorado: Boulder, CO.

Kendra, James M., and Tricia Wachtendorf, 2003. Reconsidering Convergence and Converger Legitimacy in Response to the World Trade Center Disaster. Terrorism and Disaster:  New Threats, New Ideas (ed. Lee Clarke). Research in Social Problems and Public Policy (11), 97-122.

Wachtendorf, Tricia, 2000. Interaction Between Canadian and American Governmental and Non Governmental Organizations During the Red River Flood of 1997. Report Submitted to the International Joint Commission Ottawa/Washington, Disaster Research Center: Newark, DE.