Homeland Security and Defense Education Consortium Association

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1 Homeland Security and Defense Education Consortium Association General Overview for academic programs (associate s, undergraduate and graduate) seeking program accreditation. SPECIAL NOTE HSDECA has designed specific sets of program outcomes for each degree level seeking accreditation What follows are general comments designed by the HSDECA accreditation committee to help academic programs interested in program accreditation to begin to consider how they must prepare. Please stand by and monitor the HSDECA website for further announcements and accreditation updates. Page 1 of 6

2 General Information The following guidelines and standards apply to academic programs that are a part of regionally accredited colleges or universities. Indeed, only programs that exist in regionally accredited colleges or universities need apply to HSDECA for program accreditation. These accreditation criteria apply to homeland security or homeland defense or similarly named programs. Accreditation may be sought for such programs at the undergraduate degree level. The information that follows is a brief synopsis of the HSDECA accreditation process and requirements. Full details are available only to HSDECA members. Membership information follows at the end of this document. HSDECA is currently awaiting recognition by the US Department of Education as an accrediting organization. Overview of the Accreditation Process The self study (SS described below) provides essential input for the evaluation team as part of the overall accreditation process. The HSDECA accreditation process consists of the following steps: 1. Request by the institution for an accreditation evaluation of its program(s); 2. The program completion and submission of a self study, and placement of the SS and all supporting accreditation materials on a secure web site; 3. A comprehensive and virtual evaluation by a team of HSDECA program evaluators; 4. Submission of an Accreditation Audit Form prepared by the HSDECA evaluation team to the dean and program director at the conclusion of the evaluation. The institution (dean or program coordinator) may respond to the team's finding and/or note errors of fact or findings and respond to HSDECA within 14 days; 5. Submission of a Preliminary Accreditation Decision to the Institution, based on the team's findings and on the institution's (dean or program director) response, for review and comment; 6. Revision of the Preliminary Accreditation Decision by HSDECA in light of the institution's response; 7. Formal consideration by the HSDECA Executive Committee resulting in a Final Accreditation Decision which is communicated to the Institution. Self-Study Requirement As part of the accreditation process, HSDECA includes a self study. The self study (SS) is an outcomes-based analysis of the capacity of a program and institution, the degree to which it achieves required student learning outcomes and how it conducts a continuous quality improvement process. As such, the self study is expected to be both a qualitative and quantitative assessment of the strengths, accomplishments and limitations/growth opportunities of the institution and program. Although the institution and program determines how it will conduct the self study process, HSDECA specifies the content in the document entitled Self Study Guidelines. Completion and on-time submission of the self study satisfies the HSDECA requirements for initial information on the institution and its programs prior to the formal accreditation evaluation. In addressing certain sections of the self study, particularly those relating to Page 2 of 6

3 objectives, outcomes and processes, HSDECA strongly recommends that input from constituencies such as industry advisory boards, students, alumni, and employers of the institution's graduates be considered among the data obtained as measures of the outcome of the educational programs. Program Self Study Topical Outline The Program Self-Study Report (SSR) should be a professionally prepared document that completely describes all facets, pedagogy and accomplishments of an academic program in Homeland Security or Homeland Defense or a similarly named program. Toward this end, the table of contents below is a description of how HSDECA recommends each program prepare its SSR. Background Information Standard 1. Students Table 1-1 History of Admissions standards for Past Five Academic Years Table 1-2 Transfer Students for Past Five Academic Years Table 1-3 Enrollment Trends for Past Five Academic Years Table 1-4 Program Graduates Table 1-5 Student Transcript Analysis Standard 2. Program Educational Objective(s) Standard 3. Program Outcomes (see following) Table 3-1. Comparison of Course Learning Outcomes to General & Specific Core Area Program Outcomes for each course in the core curriculum. Standard 4. Continuous Improvement Standard 5. Curriculum Table 5-1. Curriculum Table 5-2. Course and Section Size Summary (this belong under curriculum?) Standard 6. Faculty Table 6-1. Faculty Workload Summary Table 6-2. Faculty Analysis Standard 7. Facilities & Resources Standard 8. Institutional Support Table 8-1. Support Expenditures Standard 9. Distance Education Appendices Appendix A. Course Syllabi Appendix B. Faculty Resumes (CVs) Appendix C. Field and Laboratory Equipment Appendix D. Institutional Summary Table App. D-1. Faculty and Student Count for Institution Table App. D-2a. (Part 1) Programs Offered Page 3 of 6

4 Page 4 of 6 Table App. D-2b. (Part 2) Degrees Awarded and Transcript Designations Table App. D-3. Supporting Academic Departments Table App. D-4. Personnel and Students Table App. D-5. Faculty Salary Data Table App. D-6. Program Enrollment and Degree Data: Educational Unit Table App. D-7. Program Enrollment and Degree Data: Program

5 Program Level Outcomes HSDECA requires accomplishment of each of the program outcomes that follow. Collectively, HSDECA believes these outcomes define the professional field of Homeland Security. However, HSDECA appreciates the many forms degrees in Homeland Security now take; that is, associate s degrees, undergraduate degrees and graduate degrees are each now fairly common. As such, HSDECA requires slightly different levels of accomplishment from each degree level as follows below. Ultimately, each program needs to accomplish the specific set of outcomes in its core curriculum, that is, the curriculum ECH student needs to take to satisfy the main degree requirement. For example, it is unwise to integrate required outcomes into concentrations, tracks, minors, etc that not all students take. HSDECA requires each program to accomplish both general and specific outcomes. Satisfying general outcomes indicate that programs meet a minimum set of professional and intellectual standards in their degree curriculum. Though some of the following outcomes may be satisfied by program coursework, some may be satisfied by the institution s general education requirements, course test out, etc. o Core Area (CA) Outcomes (HSDECA 1-22) Applied to all Degree Levels Core area outcomes demonstrate professional breadth of preparation as it applies to the field of homeland security or homeland defense. Programs satisfying core area outcomes should include the following curricular (i.e., core academic) areas. Suggested definitions for each academic area follow. Although programs can assume some latitude in how their specific curriculum integrates or operationalizes each of the core areas below, programs must accomplish each of the following outcomes. To most flexibly meet the needs of each program s constituents, associate degree programs seeking accreditation are required to meet a reduced set of general outcomes and the outcomes of any 5 of the 8 core areas. In addition, associate degree programs are not required to contain a capstone experience or internship. All other self study sections and standards apply as appropriate to the degree level HSDECA considers graduate education in homeland security or defense to be similar in structure to bachelor s degree education, but more advanced in its execution. That is, while graduate programs seeking accreditation must demonstrate accomplishment of all core area outcomes, they must accomplish them at a higher level of learning. For example, undergraduate programs must demonstrate understanding, knowledge and application of each core area outcome; however, graduate programs must demonstrate analysis, synthesis and evaluation. In addition, graduate programs must accomplish a modified set of general outcomes designed to be sensitive to the needs and characteristics of graduate students. In addition, graduate level programs must demonstrate that their students participate in a capstone experience; a thesis, a graduate research project or a written, comprehensive exam 1. Graduate programs also should indicate the number of faculty that are tenured, on tenure track (see the faculty worksheet) and provide the criteria for graduate faculty status. 1 Comprehensive exams at the graduate level can be designed and administrated in a number of ways. HSDECA suggests that each graduate student work with their major advisor to design a written exam that includes any 5 of the 8 core outcome areas. Page 5 of 6

6 Definitions of each core area and the exact set of accreditation outcomes are available only to HSDECA members. Core areas include: Intelligence Law and Policy Emergency Management Risk Analysis Critical Infrastructure and Key Resources Strategic Planning Terrorism Strategic Communication Conclusion HSDECA believes that accreditation is central to the success of the homeland security or defense profession. Through adherence to an external set of student learning outcomes, accreditation ensures that programs continuously improve. Ultimately, accreditation greatly enhances the integrity of the degree and the quality of the education received by those in accredited programs. This document is meant to provide a brief synopsis on the character and requirements of program level accreditation as envisioned by the Homeland Security and Defense Education Consortium. Programs seeking accreditation through HSDECA are strongly encouraged to begin: 1. To integrate both the general and core area specific outcomes into their core curricula. 2. to ensure that their master course outlines cover each required outcome, 3. They begin to collect data from their core courses (exams, projects, presentations, portfolios, etc) that demonstrate how each outcome is accomplished. 4. To complete a course mapping matrix of all general and core area outcomes to each core course. 5. Developing their self study report. 6. Developing a method to display their self study report, and all supporting documentation virtually and a way for a HSDECA evaluation team to access and evaluate these materials online. Questions about how best to prepare accreditation materials may be directed to: HSDECA Executive Director Cell: (516) Questions about how to become a member of HSDECA may be directed to: Marjan Davey Website: Page 6 of 6

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