By R.T. Gonzalez
The emergency management and homeland security program at this college attracts Transportation Security Administration officers, Michael Parsons, coordinator of the emergency management/homeland security program, said Jan. 28.
The TSA is a federal agency that was created after the catastrophic 9/11 events to strengthen the security of the nation’s transportation systems and ensure the safety of travelers.
In fall 2013, of the 52 students enrolled in the homeland security program, 39 were TSA employees. This spring, 80 students are enrolled in the program and 29 are TSA employees. Parsons said the TSA arranges enrollment for at least 15 students per semester. All courses are taught online.
TSA employees taking classes for the homeland and transportation security degree can be qualified for promotions, he said. Students with a degree containing homeland security training can earn a salary ranging from $70,000-$150,000 a year, Parsons said.
The program offers three homeland security associate of applied science degrees: emergency management and homeland security; emergency management homeland and Transportation Security Administration option; and fire science/firefighting with an emphasis in homeland security.
The new fire science/firefighting program with an emphasis on homeland security program allows active service firefighters to incorporate homeland security courses.
This program began in fall 2006.
New students who enroll in homeland security courses can network with peers who are already in the field during their courses through online collaborations and discussion areas on Canvas, a learning management system, at this college.
While students attend the courses to complete the degree programs, they can receive Level 1 and 2 certificates in emergency management/homeland and transportation security.
The department has employed three new adjuncts since the beginning of the fall semester.
“All of the instructors (the department has hired) are either former or still current responders,” Parsons said.
Pauline Kline is an adjunct who teaches HMSY 1340, Homeland Security Intelligence Officers; HMSY 1343, Weapons of Mass Destruction; and HMSY 1371, Transportation Security. Kline retired in 2007 from the U.S. army with experience in the medical field.
Tim Stanford, who also teaches HMSY 1340, has experience as a police officer for the Orange County (California) Sheriff’s Department.
Adjunct Richard Giusti teaches HMSY 1337, Introduction to Homeland Security, and is the chief officer for Battalion 1 of the San Antonio Fire Department.
Before taking the position of coordinator in spring 2013, Parsons noted there had only been one faculty member to help with public relations.
“We finally have enough staff in order to start promoting (the department),” Parsons said.
The emergency management administration and homeland security degree program provides students skills to implement a strategic plan, or continuity plan, designed to maintain operations in the case of a catastrophic event at their workplace, Parsons said.
Parsons said it is easy to network with students because when the adjuncts are called on runs, or emergency responses, they talk with current students who are employed in public agencies, such as the fire department.
Students interested in advising can visit the program office in Room 136 of Chance Academic Center or call the office at 210-486-1692.