Buies Creek, N.C. — Campbell University will become the first college campus in North Carolina to offer a bachelor’s degree in homeland security, beginning this fall.
Administrators said the new degree offering is the result of rising interest in the field since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
“What’s interesting about that is what you see is that the discipline itself is maturing,” said David Gray, a criminal justice professor at Campbell. “It’s only been really a discipline for 12 years, since 9/11, but it’s starting to get more mature and more robust and more definition as far as what the topics are.”
About 50 students have already declared the major at Campbell, a private institution in Buies Creek. The degree is an expansion of coursework already offered in criminal justice and other areas.
“It seems like a logical thing to do to help educate men and women to help with the global war on terrorism,” said Mark Hammond, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “For us, the idea of expanding a very popular concentration in criminal justice and changing that into a full-blown homeland security (degree) became a no-brainer when we realized that very few institutions across the nation offer such academic programs.”
Indeed, a search of the national Center for Homeland Defense and Security website shows 380 security-related academic programs in the country, and many of those are two-year degrees.
The major is a big draw for students Joshua Kinney and Blaine Rhyne, who both want to pursue careers in the field.
“Every day has got to be different for me,” Kinney said. “(I want) to work my way up to a federal agency level.”
Added Rhyne: “When I saw that Campbell had a homeland security (degree) starting, it really was a no-brainer.”
Gray said recent events, including the Boston Marathon bombings, heighten the public’s perception of what homeland security is. And he strives to put such events into context for his students.
“There’s a number of lessons that we learn from the Boston Marathon attack,” he said to students during a recent class. “You have to understand the importance of some of the international dynamics of what’s going on in Chechnya, because it comes home to good ol’ US of A.”
Gray and Hammond said they have no doubt the degree will be a popular one for years to come.
“There is interest. It will continue,” Gray said. “I’ll bet a large chocolate milkshake on that.”