Security Magazine

He’s Got Your Back

June 12, 2008

Vincent Henry, director of the Homeland Security Management Institute at Long Island University, sees value in building a faculty with high level experience and education, with most in working positions. Henry did not want Security Magazine to picture his face due to the sensitive nature of his Institute and students.



“We’ve built a program around the needs of the practitioner, the real needs. Our aim: decision makers in the field who are managers or executives who are making homeland security decisions,” said Vincent Henry, CPP, PhD, associate professor and director of the Homeland Security Management Institute at Long Island University.

Henry, who requested that his face not be shown in this story due to the sensitivity of his topic and students, shares his fine focus on reality with colleagues at scores of colleges, universities and institutes throughout North America.

Annually, Security Magazine surveys teaching institutions to determine offerings related to private security executives and public law enforcement and government agency executives. In this issue, there is a list of 100 best degree programs. Information was collected through forms, telephone interviews, e-mail requests and research through the Internet of individual institutions. Helping in this effort was the security industry research firm, Maddry Associates.


MOST ARE TRADITIONAL PROGRAMS

Dominating the listing are traditional programs centering on security management, criminal justice and public safety. But emerging in a visible way were degree programs less known five or ten years ago. They include emergency and disaster management, business continuity, computer and information security, biometrics security, global security and intelligence, forensics and economic crime investigation.

For Henry, the Institute spotlights another growing trend. “Our program is online for maximum flexibility. No matter what time of the day or night, students can do their work, build their extended education into other responsibilities. It is essential to understand how people do their jobs” and complement schedules and job needs.
 
At the University of Denver, there is a mix of traditional, international and homeland offerings with emphasis on contemporary security issues. Within the University College, there is a Master’s degree in security management which focuses on strategic security for private and government organizations. At the Graduate School of International Studies, there is a Master’s degree in international security which focuses on policy for both international governmental and non-governmental organizations.
In a connection to the Rocky Mountain Center for Homeland Defense and Preparedness, offerings focus on counter-terrorism, homeland defense and emergency preparedness.

SOME HAVE A LOCALIZED VISION

There are institutions with a more localized vision.

At Pikes Peak Community College, with three locations in and around Colorado Springs, Colo., in between computer sciences and culinary arts is a solid Associate degree program in criminal justice. The college also offers distance learning.

Then there’s California University of Pennsylvania where there are offerings ranging from legal studies and homeland security to criminal justice. It also offers a homeland security certificate program.

That’s another trend identified in the Security Magazine list of the 100 best degree programs. More established colleges and universities with Bachelor, Master and Ph.D. programs are now present a variety of certificate programs. Some of these are offshoots of the more traditional degree programs while others plow new ground in specialty areas as practitioners seek ways to enhance their ongoing careers, increase their paycheck or test new waters.

Other institutions including Bellevue University, which was the cover subject of last June’s best degree program coverage, aim at underserved but motivated and highly trained potential student audiences. According to Bellevue’s Willi Woolford, its “Learn While You Serve” program recognizes men and women in uniform, whether in the armed forces, law enforcement or firefighters. In its commitment to real learning for real life, Bellevue insists that all students complete the Kirkpatrick Signature Series on American Vision and Values, which includes unique work on freedom and responsibility.


FACULTY FROM THE FIELD

Reflecting the life-and-death importance of security, criminal justice, homeland security and life safety, what Security Magazine’s 100 best degree programs all share is a commitment to well-grounding their offerings. And, of course, that includes having the most effective and experienced instructors.

“The Homeland Security Management Institute, a DHS National Security Center of Excellence, boasts a faculty of highly experienced homeland security professionals who hold doctoral degrees and other outstanding academic credentials.  Our faculty of senior fellows, which includes four Fulbright Scholars, is highly experienced practitioners with exceptional academic and professional credentials who do the work they teach,” pointed out Vincent Henry.

Agreeing with other college and university security program heads elsewhere, Henry added, “You cannot call yourself an expert without experience in the field. About 90 percent of our faculty is employed in the field.”

Henry’s Institute and many other homeland security programs across the country are aware of the importance and sensitivity of the overarching topic.

“There are constitutional issues, civil liberties, which run through (the curriculum). The last thing we want to do is infringe on liberties. Our underlying mission is to protect the government and the American way of life. The challenges that we all face together are huge. Where we are today shows we have moved light years ahead. We still have a long, long way to go.”


SIDEBAR: About the List

The material is based on a survey of colleges and universities that have responded as well as research, e-mail responses and online information. It is not intended to be a complete listing. If there are errors or you know of a program that should be listed, e-mail security@bnpmedia.com and the editors will add confirmed information to the Security Magazine Web listing and well as printed updates in the future.



Checklist cards on eight security and law enforcement topics come in handy on the job. American Military University created them and distributes them free.

SIDEBAR: Checklist Cards Offer Critical Tips for Those in the Field

It’s all in the cards for American Military University (AMU), which prides itself on its strong mix of academics and “real world” knowledge. One way AMU meets that challenge is through its simple, but effective, public safety checklist cards. Today, thousands of professionals nationwide refer to the public safety checklist cards from AMU for vital tips, emergency numbers and more. They keep them close, tucking them in car visors or carrying them in wallets or shirt pockets. The Department of Homeland Security even used one card when it trained local law enforcement for security at the Super Bowl. 

“Today’s public safety officers and security professionals need to be prepared on so many levels,” said Sgt. John Dell of the Central DelCo Tactical Response Team, Delaware County, Pa. “The checklist cards can help law enforcement officers and others quickly make better decisions,” he said. Dell uses the cards in his training courses.

The project began in 2005 as the university looked for ways to leverage its knowledge base and expand its outreach directly to the public safety and security communities. The card approach was a logical tie-in to the Miranda warning card that law enforcement officials already carry.

Each card project begins with a brainstorming session with faculty, staff and even students. The session identifies overall topics, key information, important agency contacts and more. AMU then validates the information’s accuracy and usefulness with law enforcement and security experts in the public and private sector. AMU initially provided the cards at conferences and meetings. Soon, the university received numerous requests as agencies began incorporating the cards into training programs.

AMU now offers eight checklist cards:

  • Advanced explosive countermeasures - developed with A-T Solutions, a security consulting company, and the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security.
  • Methamphetamine lab advisory.
  • Officer safety -  developed with Gerald Garner, chief of police, Ft. Lupton, Colo., police department and Police magazine.
  • Officer stress management.
  • Patrol response to critical incidents - developed with Sgt. John Dell, Central DelCo Tactical Response Team, Delaware County, Pa.
  • Suicide bomber.
  • Weapons of mass destruction response - developed with the National Sheriffs’ Association.
  • Improvised explosive device countermeasures - developed with A-T Solutions.

Security professionals can order the free cards by contacting Jeff Kuhn, AMU director of public safety programs: jkuhn@apus.edu, 703-396-6437. Kuhn spearheaded the project. The card information can be downloaded from this site:

    http://www.apus.edu/resources/AMU-Community/Checklists/Checklists_PDF/AMU_IED0108.pdf


Steven W. McNally, CPP, PSP, PCI, CFE, who is program director and assistant professor for American Military University’s security management degree program.