Northeastern State University homeland security program
Northeastern State University homeland security program recognized as one of the best in the nation
(Tahlequah, Oklahoma) — Northeastern State University’s homeland security program was recently ranked as one of the best in the country.
NSU’s homeland security program was listed at No. 6 as part of Study.com’s best bachelor’s in homeland security degree programs rankings. NSU’s homeland security program is the only bachelor’s degree program in the field in the state.
“I was delightedly shocked,” James Buster Hall, assistant professor of criminal justice at NSUBA, said about the recent rankings.
Hall said before the events of 9/11 the term homeland security did not exist. In the wake of that tragic event, he said the Department of Homeland Security at NSU was created with an accompanying academic curriculum on the subject.
Hall said at NSU this particular academic offering began as a concentration for Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice majors. About six years ago, faculty got approval to offer a stand-alone bachelor’s degree in Homeland Security.
Hall said officials made the transition from a concentration to a stand-alone degree based on feedback from students applying for jobs and experts in the field seeking potential employees. He added as part of the transition officials dropped a number of required criminal justice courses to focus more on those relating to homeland security issues.
Dr. Rebekah Doyle, assistant professor, said the program at NSU differs from others across the country as it focuses almost evenly on homeland security issues and emergency management. She added the two areas complement each other as each focuses on how to coordinate responses to different types of emergencies. She also said this approach has opened up the potential job market for NSU graduates. Students not only learn skills that could be applied to jobs with federal agencies like the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Federal Emergency Management Agency, but also at the state and local level as members at county emergency and health departments or other related fields.
Doyle thinks the reason why the program is being recognized is because students are seeing the value of the education.
Hall said along with a bachelor’s degree, the university also offers a certificate in Emergency and Disaster Planning which is part of the broader homeland security program through the College of Extended Learning.
He said the certificate program was started as part of a joint effort with the Oklahoma Office of Emergency Management. Hall said they wanted to set up a certificate program so that emergency managers across the state could get college credit for additional training. Since getting the necessary approvals, Hall said they have helped train a number of emergency managers from across the state.
To learn more about the program visit academics.nsuok.edu/criminaljustice/DegreePrograms/HomelandSecurity.aspx.