Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

College Courses Examine Terrorism

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

College Courses Examine Terrorism

Article excerpt

New Jersey's proximity to the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks on the World Trade Center left profound and indelible impacts on the region, one reflected today in college courses offered on terrorism studies and homeland security.

Both Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck and Rutgers University in Camden report strong and sustained interest in programs delving into topics such as the roots of terrorism, global efforts to counteract it and what can be done locally to guard against another such attack.

For example, on a recent evening, former Bergen County Executive William "Pat" Schuber addressed a class that Fairleigh Dickinson University offers to first responders. Speaking to the class at the Ridgewood Police Department, he reviewed the legal issues surrounding the use of unmanned drone aircraft equipped with strike weapons.

The course is part of a 32-credit Master of Science in Homeland Security program that FDU started in 2008. The year-round program has about 100 students enrolled.

FDU also offers courses in homeland security studies on affiliated campuses in Canada and England, and online.

The online program, funded in part by a grant from the National Guard Foundation, also has enabled Schuber and other FDU faculty to teach classes to soldiers deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"We have people from all over the world," Schuber said, adding that he often uses debates still fresh in the news as a starting point for class discussion.

"It's essential to keep the course current while the issue of counterterrorism is continuing to morph in a post-bin Laden era," he said.

The course also has attracted some returning war veterans. Their presence has added a dimension to the classroom discussion, Schuber said. For instance, in discussions about global terrorism, he noted it helped to have some students who had been security guards at the Guantanamo Bay prison where suspected terrorists are held.

Law-enforcement interest

The program's director, Ronald E. Calissi, said FDU offered courses on national security long before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. But in their aftermath, Calissi said, there was a groundswell of interest in the topic, particularly among law enforcement and other first responders. …

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