Dave Neal



Contact Information

210 Murray Hall
(405) 744-2524

Research Interests

Emergency Management
Sociology of Disasters
Sociology of Science

PhD, The Ohio State University, 1985

Dr. Neal obtained his Ph.D. in Sociology from The Ohio State University. During this time, he served as a research assistant at the Disaster Research Center. His dissertation, chaired by Henry Quarantelli, compared U.S. and Swedish disaster response. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Bowling Green State University.

Since obtaining his Ph.D., he has held positions at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the University of North Texas, Jacksonville State University, and currently with Oklahoma State University. He has received external funding from the National Science Foundation, Department of Homeland Security/FEMA, NASA, American National Red Cross, Texas Division of Emergency Management, Oklahoma Department of Homeland Security and other related organizations. During his career, he has served as Principal Investigator (PI) or co-PI on 22 external grants and contracts worth close to $1.3 million. Over $900,000 of that amount has been awarded during his ten (10) years at Oklahoma State.

About a year after joining Oklahoma State in 2004, he established the Center for the Study of Disasters and Extreme Events (CSDEE) and served as its director until 2013. Under his leadership, the center brought in $1.3 million in external funding, including four grants from the National Science Foundation, and other funding from the Department of Homeland Security, and Oklahoma Department of Homeland Security. Over 30 students from different programs in Arts and Sciences received funding and/or participated in funded research. PIs and Co-PIs of CSDEE projects were members of Geography, Sociology, Physics, Computer Science, and Engineering programs. In addition to local print and electronic media exposure, such outlets as National Public Radio, The Weather Channel, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Boston Herald, USA Today, among many other national and international outlets interviewed CSDEE members.

Recently he has published in Natural Hazards (with Cynthia Chen and Mengeu Zhoa), The International Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disasters, and Sociologiska Forsking. Along with former Oklahoma State and CSDEE members Brenda Phillips and Gary Webb, he co-authored Introduction to Emergency Management with CRC Press in 2012. With Mid-Sweden University disaster researchers Erna Danielsson and Roine Johansson, he served as co-guest editor for the August 2015 issue of the International Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disasters on “Nordic Disaster Research.” He just completed as co-PI an NSF grant (with Cynthia Chen of the University of Washington and Mengeu Zhoa from the New Jersey Institute of Technology), using of unobtrusive measures to understand the interaction of social time, social disruption, and disaster.”

Neal has also spent much of his career advocating for, writing about, and participating in emergency management degree programs. He was the first full time Ph.D. hired in a disaster degree program and the first with full academic credentials to serve as director. He has a number of publications on the topic, and has served as a consultant for different emergency management and fire degree programs. This year at the annual Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Higher Education conference, he was given the Dr. B. Wayne Blanchard award for academic excellence in emergency management higher education.

      Celebrating books 2012
Dr. Neal discusses his textbook during OSU's Celebrating Books 2012 event.

Recent Publications

    • Neal, David M., 2013. “Social Time and Disaster.” International Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disaster. 31(2): 247-269.
    • Chen, Cynthia, David M. Neal and Mengeu Zhou. 2012. “The Evolution of a Disaster – A Framework for Assessing Crisis in a System Environment. Natural Hazards.
    • Neal, David M. 2012, “The Survivability of Swedish Emergency Management Related Research Centers and Academic Programs: A Preliminary Sociology of Knowledge Analysis,” Sociologiska Forsking, 49 (3): 227-42.
    • Phillips, Brenda D., David M. Neal, and Gary Web. 2012. Introduction to Emergency Management. CRC Press / Taylor Francis.
    • Phillips, Brenda D., David M. Neal, and Gary Web. 2011. Instructor’s Manual for Introduction to Emergency Management. CRC Press / Taylor Francis.

Recent Grants

    • 2012-2014 Cynthia Chen, PI, David M. Neal and Mengchu Zhou, co-PIs, National Science Foundation, $376,000, "Collaborative Research: Using Cell Phone Data to Analyze Continuum of Disaster and Irregularity in Spatio-Temporal Movements."
    • 2012-2013 Co-PI (with Brenda Phillips, PI, Tom Wikle and Tamara Gull co-PI's), "Livestock in Wildfires," $2,000 from the Natural Hazards "Quick Response" program, University of Colorado-Boulder.
    • 2009-2012 Co-Principal Investigator (PI, Steven McKeever, Co-PI's Mike Larranaga and Jerry Malayler), Department of Homeland Security STEM grant, $390,000.