Southwest Tennessee Community College

January 26, 2007

For more information, contact: Kimberly Kreider (901) 333-4023

First Time Homeland Security Class Taught at Southwest
Release written by: Kimberly Kreider

The race for the first to receive a new certificate is on.

Ten students came to the very first class!!!!!

Ten students are in a race to see who can receive the first Homeland Security Assessment Technical Certificate from Southwest!!!

The Spring semester is the first time the new technical certificate has been offered to students. And Introduction to Homeland Security, taught by Tracy DeWitt, is the first class in the certificate to be taught.

With the consistent threat of global terrorism, the ever present reminder of the September 11 tragedy, and the ongoing concern over natural disasters and how they effect the area, Southwest has designed a program, the technical certificate for Homeland Security Assessment that will allow individuals to learn top-to-bottom assessment against “all hazards” for the protection/recovery of all assets, information, and human resources.

The value that this program will add to the business world in Memphis is as varied as the background of the first ten students. The class consists of current military personnel, former military personnel, workers from the state of Tennessee, workers from Shelby County, workers from corporate America, future educators, full-time students and others that found the idea interesting and wanted to see what it was about.

For example George Smallwood is currently in the U.S. Navy. A 28 year veteran who is about to retire sees this class and certificate as a way to further his post-military career. “The military is strict with its security, especially with all the things that are going on in the world today,” said Smallwood. He said that he can see how this certificate will help him working with non-military companies that work with the military. Currently Smallwood is working towards a Mid-management Associate degree and an Industrial Engineering degree from Southwest.

Another student, Renee Daniel, is a paralegal. “I work for the state of Tennessee with child welfare and sometimes we have to deal with parents that are not Americans. We stay on alert for potential threats all the time,” said Daniel. “I feel like this class will help me handle my job better and understand the need for being on alert.”

Daniel isn’t the only student that has a future with children in it. Jenny Kobeska is a future art teacher. She is currently getting her Education degree from Southwest. Kobeska, like Daniel, knows that our children are important and are our future. “I’m not sure how it will help me as an art teacher, but it will be interesting to see where it leads me and how I can use this in the field of education,” said Kobeska.

Then there’s Carolyn Smith, who is close to finishing up her degree at Southwest. “Initially I was advised to take the course to help me finish up my degree,” said Smith. “But when I got into class and heard what it was all about I was inspired by the instructor and other students to really want to continue with this certificate.” Smith feels that the certificate will definitely give her a boost in finding a job.

Basically all ten students in the class see this certificate as a way to a better paying, more fulfilling job in their future.

“After surveying employers in the Memphis area, Southwest was told there was a strong demand for this vital training for their employees and potential new-hire employees in their security/risk management areas,” said Thurston Shrader, Coordinator for Business Administration. Ninety-three percent of the employers surveyed stated that there was a need for a Homeland Security/Disaster Preparedness program of study.

The program consists of five courses that will train professionals to look at an organization and tell where its vulnerability lies, whether it’s within the organization itself or extends outwards to its vendors. This will be the only academic program in the nation that will train students in assessment. Currently only large consulting firms are offering this type of assessment to businesses.

The courses that are included in the program are: Introduction to Homeland Security, Legal Aspects of Homeland Security, Survey of Information Security, Organizational Behavior and Homeland Security Risk Assessment.

Introduction to Homeland Security, which is the first class being taught in the certificate program this Spring, is a class where students will be trained in the policies and procedures for Homeland Security to achieve higher domestic security and protection of economic assets within the public and private sectors against all hazards. Legal Aspects of Homeland Security is designed to acquaint the student with various legal aspects associated with assessment. Students will explore statutes, regulations, constitutional law and common law associated with Homeland Security Assessment.

Organizational Behavior investigates personal and group behavior at work while pursuing the nature of group dynamics and corporate culture. Principles of effective psychological work attitudes are developed using contemporary concepts of organizational behavior authorities. Survey of Information Security is an introduction to network security. It tackles the different terminology, products, services and elements of networking security by looking at how hackers operate, providing an introduction to the threat and then security policies and protocols and prevention response.

The final class is Homeland Security Risk Assessment. This capstone course covers the assessment of an organization’s exposure to all hazards using the Baldridge Criteria. Students will use risk management tools to develop an organizational security assessment from top-to-bottom for protection/recovery planning. Students will be able to complete the certificate in approximately one year.

For more information on the program or on Southwest visit the Web site or call
(901) 333-5000.

Cut line for attached picture: Pictured are the first 10 students striving for the Homeland Security Assessment Technical Certificate at Southwest. Seated (left to right) Jenny Kobeska; Carolyn A. Smith; Randy Morgan, Sr.; and Renee Daniel. Standing (left to right) Tracy DeWitt, instructor for the course; George Smallwood; Irvin Carter; Guy Sullivan; Jonathan Noah; Willie Robinson and Jerald Harris.