CSU-Pueblo’s Homeland Security Studies certificate program provides competitive edge
PUEBLO – Now in its second year, the Homeland Security Studies certificate program offered through the Center for Study of Homeland Security (CSHS) at Colorado State University-Pueblo has experienced high demand and early success for its graduates.
Established in January 2010, the program prepares students, military, law enforcement and emergency personnel for careers in the industry, said CSHS Director Dr. David Malet. Students learn basic concepts of homeland security, how to react to disaster situations, and how to prevent potential disasters from happening.
In May, 14 students earned the certificate, according to Malet, while more than 80 students have taken at least one course in the program. Full-time traditional students and mid-career professionals in law enforcement are among the people who have earned the certificate, Malet said.
“Students are challenged to think outside of the box by making their own judgments about the best allocation of homeland security resources and to become familiar with technical and theoretical readings,” Malet said. “Those who do so are well-prepared for careers in the field.”
Earning the certificate provides students with a competitive edge employers seek from job applicants, as evidenced by the recent hiring of program graduate Amanda Romano, 23, who used her certificate to secure employment as community chapter manager and disaster specialist with the American Red Cross in Northwestern New Mexico. The Canon City native started her new job on August 1. Malet said Romano is a prime example of how the Homeland Security Studies Certificate prepares graduates to immediately assume leadership positions.
“The Homeland Security program taught me what can go wrong and what I can do to help fix the situation,” Romano said.
About 300 homeland security programs have been created at colleges and universities nationwide since terrorists attacked the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, Malet said. The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs was one of the first, Malet said, and CSU-Pueblo is using its state-approved curriculum for the certificate.
“We make an effort to focus on issues unique to the southwestern United States, particularly in the area of natural resource security and in the area of militant recruitment,” Malet said. “There have been a surprising and somewhat alarming number of Al Qaeda affiliated militants who were recruited in Colorado.”
The University plans to offer a minor in Homeland Security Studies during the 2012-13 academic year. Students will have to complete six courses for the minor, including Introduction to Homeland Security Studies, Terrorism, and Critical Incident Management to earn the certificate along with Intelligence and National Security, Threat and Strategic Planning, and Homeland Security and the Law.
“We offered these courses as a test in spring 2011, and all drew strong student interest,” Malet said. “Even though they would be for a minor, the six courses match accreditation guidelines for degree programs established by the National Homeland and Defense Education Consortium Association. Students would be exceptionally well-prepared for careers in the field.”
For more information on the Homeland Security program, contact Malet at 719-549-2800 or firstname.lastname@example.org.