Emily Bentley

Emily Bentley, J.D.

Program Chair

Senior Lecturer

Ariail House

803.786.3907 3906 Email


Ms. Bentley is chairperson of the Columbia College Disaster and Emergency Management and Fire Science programs. She oversees curriculum and scheduling for these programs, teaches courses, and advises and mentors students. She has been with Columbia College since 2015. She enjoys teaching the next generation of leaders who will make a difference by improving preparedness, resilience, and response in communities and organizations throughout the state and the nation.

From 2013-2015, Ms. Bentley served as a member of the Emergency Management Higher Education Accreditation Focus Group sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which recommended national criteria for emergency management higher education programs. In November 2014, she testified at a Congressional hearing regarding, “Emergency Preparedness: Are we ready for a 21st-century Hurricane Hugo?”.

Before joining Columbia College’s Online Programs, Ms. Bentley was coordinator of the Homeland Security and Emergency Management program at Savannah State University, where in addition to overseeing the bachelor’s degree program, she led a research project examining preparedness challenges for vulnerable populations in Chatham County, Georgia. Before her work in higher education, she served as executive director of the Emergency Management Accreditation Program (EMAP), the national standards and assessment program for state and local government emergency management during its formative years and worked with the National Emergency Management Association (NEMA) on policy and preparedness issues.

In earlier professional roles, she practiced law, serving as associate general counsel of the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards, and was an award-winning journalist. Ms. Bentley earned her bachelor’s degree from Auburn University and juris doctor from Jones School of Law at Faulkner University.