More than 1 million people in the United States work in a homeland security-related field, according to Paulette Laubsch at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck. "Many of them would like to expand on their particular knowledge area," Laubsch told The Jewish Standard. In January, the university will offer a master’s degree program the first of its kind in New Jersey specifically for them. The program is geared toward adult learners who are already working in a homeland security field such as law enforcement, immigration, and emergency management, said Laubsch, director of the program.
It is also geared toward those who may want to change from one security field to another, such as going from law enforcement to transportation security.
"We would like to train and educate people who are early- to mid-career and make them aware of some of the issues in the homeland security venue," Laubsch said.
FDU is limiting enrollment to people already in the field so that it does not have to run excessive background checks on prospective students.
"If we’re talking about terrorism and boarder security issues, we probably don’t want to train everyone," Laubsch said.
FDU has had a master of administrative science program for 10 years, which draws people in first-responder type fields. Many of those students have been asking for a degree program similar to the homeland security program. Laubsch looked at other homeland security programs across the country and found that only a handful existed.
While Laubsch hopes for an enrollment of ‘5, no students have yet signed up. An enrollment push will begin shortly.
The program has four mandatory classes homeland security and constitutional issues, research and policy analysis, weapons of mass destruction/terrorism awareness, and strategic planning, implementation, and evaluation.
The first course looks at maintaining both security and constitutional rights. "How much are people willing to give up to make sure they’re safe and secure?" Laubsch asked. "That’s an issue probably unique to the United States."
Another issue the program looks at, according to Laubsch, is terrorism awareness identifying terrorists beyond the stereotypes of who looks like a terrorist.
"We have homegrown terrorists. There’s a wide range of people who should be classified as terrorists," Laubsch said.
The program is scheduled to begin with six courses, at a cost of $1,303.50 per class. The 36-credit program should take about two years to complete.
The Department of Homeland Security played no role in creating the FDU program. However, Laubsch said, the department has been useful in reviewing course information and Homeland Security wants to have a representative on the program’s advisory board.
"We’re looking to be the provider of choice of this type of training on the East Coast," Laubsch said, acknowledging that goal may be a little ambitious.
For more information, visit www.fdu.edu/mshs