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Terrorist threats continue to challenge the capabilities of federal, state and local governments, the military, emergency services, businesses and agricultural agencies responsible for protecting the homeland. But that’s not the only concern. The baby-boom generation is reaching retirement age, and these organizations are beginning to lose some of their most experienced employees. For example, about one-third of federal career employees and more than 60 percent of career executives will be eligible to retire between now and 2012, according to a Government Accountability Office report.
To help prepare individuals to meet the continuing threat, Penn State is launching an online Intercollege Master of Professional Studies in Homeland Security program.
“The discipline of homeland security has become a consortium of many different specialties,” says Robert A. Cherry, M.D., program chair for the master’s degree program. Cherry, a trauma surgeon and associate chief quality officer at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, adds, “Penn State’s program was created to complement these diverse specialties with a homeland security education portfolio that will suit the needs of many individuals working in this field.”
Research, Scholarship and Experience Inform the ProgramPenn State’s colleges of Liberal Arts, Medicine, Earth and Mineral Sciences, Information Sciences and Technology, and Agricultural Sciences, the Graduate School, Penn State Harrisburg’s School of Public Affairs and Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, are partnering on the 33-credit program. The program is delivered entirely online through World Campus to enable working professionals to participate.
Cherry explains, “It’s about bringing together a diverse group of academic professionals with expertise and practical experience in the homeland security field to mentor, teach and develop the leadership and technical skills of our students.”
Five Ways to Customize the Degree ProgramThe Homeland Security Base program is aimed toward National Guard personnel, emergency managers and others who wish to study homeland security and defense policy and administration. Participants will focus on homeland security policy, strategic development, planning and implementation to become leaders in preventing, responding to and analyzing natural and man-made catastrophic events. Participants will learn about the major legislation shaping homeland security policy and the impact of catastrophic events on society and domestic and global economies.
According to Jeremy Plant, Ph.D., director of the homeland security base option, “We patterned our courses on those of the Naval Postgraduate School, which Congress designated the lead educational institution in homeland security.”
Focusing on Geospatial IntelligenceThe Geospatial Intelligence option prepares professionals who are or aspire to become leaders in the field of geospatial intelligence and homeland security. Penn State holistically approaches geospatial intelligence as actionable knowledge, a process and a profession. The program is focused on educating the professional to describe, understand and interpret geospatial information so as to anticipate the human impact of an event or actions. These competencies are key to solving important national security, homeland security and business problems.
Todd Bacastow, Ph.D., director of the Geospatial Intelligence option and member of the Dutton e-Education Institute, points out that the best geospatial intelligence resource is an educated analyst. Bacastow comes to the program with years of experience working in the field.