Center to offer new cultural fluency degree

By Travis Lisle
On April 8, 2010

The Center for Security Studies, a new center on campus, will soon offer a Bachelor of Arts in International Cultural Fluency.

The degree will be available to non-military and military students alike, with a focus on the language, culture and traditions of the Middle East, Europe, Africa and China.

"The beauty of this program is that it is not classified," President Dr. Joseph C. Rallo said. "Four to 5 years from now, when this program is up and running, you'll have a 19-year-old student sitting next to people who have spent the last year in Afghanistan, so it's a great thing, and they can benefit from each other."

The CSS funding will be used to prepare offices and classrooms in the Hardeman building, as well as for technological improvements all over campus.

One of the improvements will be a massive upgrade to the planetarium in August.

"I wanted to have a 'wow factor' when you come to campus, in terms of recruiting," Rallo said. "We have a wonderful planetarium but the technology is really outdated."

A full overhaul of the planetarium will take place, and offer IMAX-like features that can focus around any area of study, from Nursing to Geology.

Other improvements to the infrastructure are expected to follow or be completed in the near future.

Rallo hired ASU alumni Susan J. Williams March 26 as the Deputy Director of Security Studies.

"ASU graduates have to be prepared to compete and succeed in a challenging global environment," Williams said. "No matter what students study, this environment is the most globalized to date."

Williams, previously with Goodfellow Air Force Base, has received multiple awards for her past work including Air Education and Training Command's Outstanding Intelligence, Contributor of the Year in 2003 and Surveillance and Reconnaissance Civilian Contributor of the Year in 2007.

"I was looking for someone who had knowledge and intimate details, and demonstrated experience in the intelligence world as far as building curriculum, understanding how the federal government works, understanding Goodfellow, working with faculty - and she's been doing that for well over 10 years now," Rallo said. "She was the perfect person for the job."

Currently, the Hardeman Administration Building is undergoing the last of renovations that include creating offices for the CSS. The temporary CSS offices are at UC 106.

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