UAPI workshop illustrates evolution of homeland security education

More than 30 educators participated in the Center for Homeland Defense and Security University and Agency Partnership Initiative’s annual Faculty Development Workshop held on the Naval Postgraduate School campus June 26-30.

The event marked the ninth iteration of the workshop that is designed to expose higher education professionals to emerging topics in the homeland security discipline. The discourse of the week illustrated the maturity of the discipline, said UAPI Co-Director Stephen Recca. Technology, cyber security and drones were among the top subjects.

More than 30 educators participated in the Center for Homeland Defense and Security University and Agency Partnership’s annual Faculty Development Workshop held on the Naval Postgraduate School campus June 26-30. (Photo by Guadalupe Javier Baltazar)

“Our partners are coming in with much more awareness of the of the core issues of homeland security, so we’re able to use this workshop to explore more complex and new challenges,” he said. “The trick is not to be overwhelmed by the shiny new object but how we integrate and absorb changes in an education framework.”

Participants represented a mix of community colleges, undergraduate and graduate programs along with agencies that work in the homeland security arena.

Kristy Paine said a presentation on social network analysis was beneficial for her as she is amid developing a course on criminal analysis at Moreno Valley College in Riverside, California. She welcomed the resources that remain available to participants long after the workshop, such as CHDS Self Study course and the Homeland Security Digital Library. She further lauded discussions about cyber security.

“I am partnered with a computer instructor at our college for cyber security, and the workshop gave me a better understanding of foundational issues that will help me see how our program should or could be structured,” Paine noted.

The workshop provides the foundation for curriculum designs in homeland security and emergency management that can serve the needs of varying regions, said Michael Dunaway of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

“In Louisiana, we see frequent storm-related flooding and hurricanes, and developing a workforce of professional emergency and risk managers while improving general disaster resilience, are high priorities for the state,” Dunaway said. “The UAPI Workshop is an opportunity to engage with fellow leaders in homeland security education, and learn of new approaches and best practices for building this emerging profession.”

Kate Hawkins, Dean of the College of Humanities and Behavioral Sciences at Radford University in southwestern Virginia, said the workshop was helpful to understanding the context in which educational institutions should be operating as the school develops homeland security related programming in units in my college and across the university.

“I strongly recommend participation in this workshop to department chairs, school directors, deans or others in administrative roles at colleges and universities interested in developing curriculum in homeland security, including such diverse areas as criminal justice, political science, communication, geospatial science, information technology, forensic accounting and others,” Hawkins noted.

Tiffany Danko of Northeastern University in Boston said the workshop provided a greater understanding about the concerns and initiatives that homeland security educational programs are facing nationwide. She stressed the importance of inclusion and collaboration.

“The inclusion of all levels of higher education, from community colleges to graduate schools, provided an opportunity for us as professionals to discuss the issues relevant to our students, both academically and professionally, across the spectrum of Homeland Security education,” Danko noted.

Two presentations were exceptionally helpful as they touched on topics Danko would like to incorporate for her program – one a session on community initiatives in emergency management and how students can participate as an experiential learning opportunity and the other a segment presentation on student opportunities for internships and experiential learning.

“Each of these highlighted different types of opportunities for our students to engage the critical thinking skills and application of knowledge essential to leveraging their homeland security education into real-world professional skills,” Danko said.

UAPI was established in 2006 with the aim of generating a “multiplier effect” of CHDS academics to spread homeland security education across the nation. More than 300 academic institutions and agencies partner with UAPI, which shares CHDS curriculum free of charge and hosts two workshops each year, one focused on faculty development and the other on emerging curriculum.

“I believe we’re coming to point where we understand that homeland security is not about theory, but about understanding process and organizational structure and how we integrate best practices to shape behaviors,” Recca said.