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Cheryl Peck


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This Year



UIS part of governor’s new homeland security field of study plan

January 23, 2006

SPRINGFIELD – The University of Illinois at Springfield is part of a landmark partnership announced by Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today to introduce homeland security as a new field of study in higher education, to establish it as a mainstream academic discipline, and to promote future careers in the industry.

The governor is launching the partnership with Illinois universities to design, implement, and support courses, seminars, workshops, internships, and programs (both degree and non-degree) for the student or professional pursuing a career related to homeland security in a number of key fields, including engineering, chemistry, biology, and emergency management.

“With a heritage of public affairs activities and strong graduate programs addressing the principles of preparedness and security, UIS is uniquely positioned to provide graduate-level professional education for emergency preparedness and homeland security administrators,” said Dr. Pinky Wassenberg, Dean of the College of Public Affairs and Administration at UIS.

She said that UIS is developing a Graduate Certificate in Emergency Preparedness and Homeland Security that will be offered beginning fall 2006.  The 20-hour interdisciplinary certificate program will be administered by UIS’ Department of Environmental Studies but will include courses from several other UIS departments as well including Criminal Justice, Legal Studies, Political Studies, Public Administration, and Public Health.

Jack Lavin, Director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), announced at the news conference in Chicago that, in addition to UIS, the following universities will take part in the partnership:  University of Illinois at Chicago, Northern Illinois University, Eastern Illinois University, Western Illinois University, Southern Illinois University, and Governor’s State University.

Gov. Blagojevich, in coordination with the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE), is supporting the study program with $75,000 in Opportunity Returns funding to NIU for development of a core homeland security studies course, and a web-based version of the course that will be used by the partnering state universities.  Opportunity Returns is the governor’s regional economic development strategy to create jobs in Illinois.

The study program will also be supported by a new scholarship program funded by Caterpillar, which will provide $25,000 in scholarships to selected students at the participating universities.

Wassenberg said the courses leading to the Graduate Certificate at UIS will be taught by both full-time faculty and by selected adjunct faculty with “substantial practitioner experience in relevant fields.”


    The University of Illinois at Springfield, one of three U of I campuses, is a small, public liberal arts university that offers 42 degree programs – 21 bachelor’s, 20 master’s, and the Doctorate of Public Administration. UIS has a special mission in public affairs and service and is known for extraordinary internships, a wireless campus, extensive online offerings, and a commitment to teaching.