Saturday, October 20, 2007

REPORT: Homeland Security Academic Environment

A new report on the growing and changing nature of the HS Academic Environment.

The Homeland Security Academic Environment: A Review of Current Activities and Issues for Consideration
http://www.hsdec.org/downloads/springsym07/Rollins2.pdf
written by John Rollins and Joseph Rowan for the Homeland Security and Defense Education Consortium (HSDEC).

Executive Summary

The Homeland Security and Defense Education Consortium (HSDEC) requested a report that reviewed the academic programs that now comprise the homeland security academic environment. Publicly available data was gathered and this information formed the basis of the analytic judgments contained in this report. The schools and programs listed, and their accompanying information, are the product of interaction with homeland security consortiums, discussions with academic colleagues, review of school brochures and online material, and receipt of university press releases.

The homeland security academic discipline is currently an evolving ungoverned environment of numerous programs purporting to prepare students for various positions of responsibility. Many of today’s homeland security offerings are an amalgam of pre-9/11 programs and courses that have since been revised to reflect some undetermined level of education and instruction in homeland security issues. Homeland security programs can take numerous forms including: certificate, associates, bachelor, masters, and doctoral. While commonalties do exist in the course offerings of many of these programs, it appears many programs were established using current institutional courses that have since been revised to address homeland security related issues. As the discipline continues to mature, program commonalities, core teaching areas, and course standardization may emerge that shape the homeland security academic environment and produce graduates conversant on a standard set of homeland security topics. Many in the profession of homeland security seek such standardization; however, some members of the academic community and other homeland security professionals are concerned that the diversity of issues related to the discipline does not lend itself to identifiable core teachings. Using homeland security topics as the foundation, some in the academic community have suggested emphasis on teaching critical analytic thinking skills and imaginative approaches to problem solving rather than focusing on contemporary security-related issues.

Based on a review of the available data it does not appear that the homeland security academic environment has matured to the point that common core courses are being taught at any level of higher education. To date, formal program or course recommendations have not been offered to the bodies currently supporting homeland security academic development. The DHS University System was recently established to address training and education efforts for current Departmental employees. As this System matures, it is possible that DHS will attempt to identify homeland security areas of focus that could form the core of future academic offerings. However, before there is agreement and recognition of homeland security as an academic undertaking, there needs to be acceptance and an understanding of the discipline as a profession.

Most homeland security practitioners and academicians agree that greater attention is needed to the role and utility of homeland security as a permanent and well-understood discipline. Many agree that in order for the field to mature the homeland security environment must be further defined which in turn would support the development of core educational objectives.

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