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April 25, 2005

Homeland Security Degree Approved By Trustees

A new master’s degree program in homeland security was approved by the Board of Trustees last week.

The 36-credit online degree will take two years to complete, and is designed for emerging leaders in the Department of Homeland Security, a newly created agency that has 180,000 federal employees in a variety of professional fields.

“There is a strong market for a master of professional studies with a specialty in homeland security and emergency management leadership,” says Krista Rodin, dean of continuing studies. “Homeland security and emergency management are two of the fastest-growing areas in high education.”

The curriculum is based on one developed by the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS), which was charged by the Office of Domestic Preparedness with developing training programs. NPS will provide UConn faculty with course curricula and exercise simulation materials, including scenario-based exercises conducted in a city in cyberspace.

The goal is to provide students with theoretical insights and analytic skills, and allow them to test those skills on terrorism prevention problems in a risk-free environment.

The NPS courses, simulation exercises, and digital library will form the core of UConn’s new courses, but faculty will customize the courses based on the students’ needs and their professions. Students are expected to be drawn from such disciplines as public health, business administration, and public policy.

During the past three years, the College of Continuing Studies has developed relationships with state, local, and federal homeland security leaders through its Workforce Development Institute.

Projects undertaken include developing and delivering a leadership development program for U.S. Customs and Border Protection; developing a bioterrorism leadership class for state and local public health offices; developing and overseeing the Connecticut Homeland Security Education Center, which – in collaboration with the Connecticut Department of Public Safety – helps train First Responders and senior leaders in homeland security preparedness; and overseeing the recent TOPOFF terrorism exercise program, the largest counter-terrorism exercise in North America.

The master’s program in homeland security is subject to approval by the state Board of Higher Education.