UAPI Workshop Illustrates Longevity of HLS Education

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Workshop participants

Even as universities across the nation have been forced to cut back course offerings in the face of financial constraints in recent years, homeland security education has maintained its momentum.

That was evident as the Center for Homeland Defense and Security University and Agency Partnership Initiative (UAPI) conducted its annual Faculty Development Workshop June 9-13 at the Naval Postgraduate School campus. The UAPI program seeks to assist existing and potential homeland security education programs by sharing curriculum and expertise.

Since January 2013, UAPI has gained 34 partners, bringing the total to 334 since its inception in 2006.

“Even though I’ve expected to see curtailment of programs, that is just not the case,” UAPI Co-Director Stan Supinski said. “It’s terrific to see that new programs are being established.”

The workshop included schools representing the associates, bachelor’s and graduate degree level as well as existing and burgeoning programs.

Pamela Mertens said the week gave her a better perspective on what the homeland security field encompasses.  Northeastern State University in Oklahoma, where Mertens is an Associate Professor, offers a criminal justice degree with a homeland security emphasis and a 24 credit-hour professional certificate program in emergency management. The latter has been fueled by a state requirement that emergency managers be certified, she said.

“It’s a program that is designed to take the practitioner, or previously educated student, to a higher level,” Mertens said. “It’s not a novice, entry-level certificate.”

Darryl Cleveland, Director of Public Safety at Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno, Nevada, said the gathering provided salient course content while also offering access to a network of educators in the field. The program at his school is scheduled to launch in 2016 and the workshop was an opportunity to fine-tune what his curriculum will look like.

Truckee Meadows Community College will offer the first bachelor’s degree in the college with a major in homeland security and emergency management. (Nevada is one of a handful of states that has begun offering baccalaureate degrees at its community colleges in recent years.)

“Our goal and mission is to create a graduate who is marketable to the public and the private sector,” Cleveland said. “We’re blending homeland security and emergency management because the two are so interrelated in today’s world. We are going to create a foundation and also offer avenues for people to specialize in.”

While the faculty workshop is valuable to newer programs, instructors of more established programs say it helps them stay abreast of trends.

“The beauty of this week is that you get two types of students,” said CHDS master’s degree graduate Mike McDaniel, Professor and Director of Homeland Security Studies at Thomas M. Cooley School of Law in Lansing, Michigan. “Then, there is the type of attendee who seeks to create a new Homeland security program at their school. There is nowhere, but CHDS, where they can find this kind of support and leading-edge curriculum.”

Content during the week was dual-purposed, he said, pointing to CHDS instructor Nadav Morag’s presentation on comparative homeland security policies. The talk exposes attendees to a relevant topic while also illustrating an approach to analysis – a quality graduate and law schools typically seek to instill.

Moreover, the workshop is an efficient way for CHDS and UAPI to share curriculum widely.

“The beauty is that for very little cost FEMA, using CHDS as its catalyst, is assuring a quality homeland security education by showing us this is ‘what it looks like, here are the standards,’” McDaniel said.