International Security sequence to be added at UTM
former congressman among lecturers
Published: Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Updated: Monday, April 25, 2011 21:04
Starting with a new topics course, POSC 490, offered in the Fall semester of 2011, Political Science plans to add a new concentration, called International Security Studies. "In the Fall 2011 semester, a topics course in Political Science could be offered, an introduction to International Security Studies," wrote Dr. Malcolm Koch, outlining his vision of the concentration. "Lectures by Gen. Castellaw and hopefully by Rep. Tanner would be built into the course outline. The goals of this course would be to build interest in the subject and to highlight the career potential for this field of study."
The concentration will subsequently be built through a number of avenues. First, Koch says that no additional faculty will have to be hired for the concentration and no new courses will have to be added, though he says some might need to be modified. That allows for a versatile course of study that will not require any new additional budgeting.
"There are a number of courses currently being offered within the University which logically could be incorporated within an International Security Studies curriculum," Koch writes. "We can leverage existing course in political science, economics, geography and agriculture."
The second avenue making the new concentration possible is that political science was already planning on hiring another professor, who would specialize in International courses.
"His specialty is in Asian politics," Koch said of the new professor the department is planning on hiring. "That means we are going to be able to offer four International courses per semester. That gives us flexibility to add some new courses."
While Koch says no new faculty will have to be hired, he sees the program growing. But he envisions the program bringing in new funding to pay its own way.
"It's definitely a medium-term goal of mine that we get federal funding" from the department of defense's strategic language program "to hire an Arabic language teacher and a Mandarin language teacher. And we have the benefit of having students from those languages on campus to participate in discussion groups and conversation groups," Koch said.
Koch sees the medium-term goal coming to fruition within three to five years.
"I think you have to have some success in putting this International Security Studies program together before you go out and try to get federal funding. But that's not unrealistic to get Federal funding for that kind of thing," Koch said.
Another benefit that Koch sees for students who choose this concentration is internships and travel studies.
"We have had successful travel study trips to Washington, D.C. for years," Koch writes. "It should not be difficult to add a group of International Security students, with their own agenda, into a larger travel study trip to Washington. Gen. Castellaw and Rep. Tanner would be instrumental in obtaining meetings with relevant U.S. Government departments and agencies which, hopefully, would lead to internships."
Another advantage UTM has for this type of program are departments and lack thereof among schools in the area.
"No one, at least what I could find, had this kind of program in International Security Studies," Koch said. "So it's not like we're trying to do something that four other schools have been doing for five years in our area."
He also said that not every school can integrate as many disciplines into a program like this, such as agriculture and
geography, to name just two.
Another class expected for the concentration that students might find exciting is Cyber Security, which will be taught by someone in computer science.
What led Koch to begin developing this concentration was a nagging question he kept asking himself: "What skills does our country need?"
"When you look at the involvement of this country internationally, you say 'we need young people with new skills.' So I started working on this and then it just really came together.