Educators convene for UAPI Faculty Development Workshop

More than 30 educators gathered at the NPS Center for Homeland Defense and Security June 11-15 for the University and Agency Partnership Initiative Faculty Development Workshop.

The annual workshop brings together homeland security educational programs from around the nation to discuss the latest trends and emerging issues. The goal of UAPI is to spread homeland security education and share proven curriculum with academic programs.

Educators from around the country participated in the NPS-CHDS University and Agency Partnership Initiative Faculty Development Workshop June 11-15.

“This year’s workshop brought together the most diverse group of university participants yet, with representation across the U.S., both new and mature programs, and with the full spectrum of academic levels,” UAPI Co-Director Steve Recca noted. “The engagement with partner institutions as an enabler for innovation, networking and quality is a force-multiplier for the homeland security enterprise.”

Schools represented included UAPI newcomers Pierce College and the University of North Georgia along with longtime partners such as Eastern Kentucky and Embry-Riddle University. Sessions during the week included traditional homeland security topics from NPS-CHDS subject matter experts as well as conversations about legal issues driving security policy, medical emergency services and Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA) and Homeland Defense.

“Important for the community, we are seeing the evolution of the National Training and Education System and its leadership in working with UAPI partners to provide DHS requirements and strategic direction,” Recca said.

NPS-CHDS master’s degree graduate Eric Powell, currently Visiting Professor at the Army War College, said understanding DSCA is essential for academics and practitioners alike.

“Those are issues that are emerging that not only the military is going to have to deal with but also the homeland security enterprise, so we are making connections not just with the operational stakeholders but certainly with academia.” Powell said.

Similar to participants in other CHDS academic programs, afterhours discussions help reinforce the classroom content.

“At breaks and early evenings the confluence of ideas are just as valuable. We get one on one time after we synergize thoughts during day,” Powell said. “That’s exactly what we did in the master’s curriculum.”

The networking was also beneficial for St. John’s University Assistant Professor Bernard Jones, who attended for the first time. Jones researches cultural factors affecting resiliency and also specializes in business continuity and teaches homeland security, emergency management and critical infrastructure protection. Networking with fellow educators provided an opportunity to discuss his work on resiliency with educators who come from various professions.

“This workshop allowed me to talk about that with folks to foster a continuing discussion,” Jones said. “My hope is when I leave here I’ve made such solid connections that I’d like to pick up the phone and keep going with this. It would be a tragedy not to take advantage of professional and academic insights offered through the partnership.”

NPS-CHDS master’s degree alumna Tammy Chamblee, who teaches at Tulane University, said getting an update on homeland security issues was helpful five years after graduation. Also, she was able to discuss and champion the role of public health and medical courses within the homeland security curriculum, as is the case at Tulane.

“Probably the most valuable part is the learning from instructors from various parts of country, whose programs may not be just like our program, and being able to connect to those individuals and institutions for the betterment of our program back at home,” Chamblee said.

The UAPI program has about 400 partners offering degrees and certificates in homeland security-related studies. Part of the original NPS-CHDS mission was to spread homeland security across the nation in a cost effective way. UAPI does this through sharing the Center’s curriculum, distance learning technology, Homeland Security Digital Library, and all other resources. In return, partners share their curriculum and specialized expertise with the UAPI partners.