Professors developing five new degrees

Degrees: First of 'breadth and depth' in the nation

By Scott Dykowski
On October 21, 2010

  • The Belles celebrate after a tough win against Tarleton State February 26. Pam Belcher

Three new professors on campus are writing the curriculum for five degrees, some of which are the first in the nation to cover their subject so extensively.

The Texas Tech Board of Regents approved Oct. 15 the new degrees.

The new professors plan to start classes for the degrees fall 2011.

Border Security

James Phelps, assistant professor of Criminal Justice, is writing two of the programs, a Bachelor's in Border Security and a Master's of Science with a major in border security.

"[This is]the first degree plan in the nation to cover the subject of border security with such a great degree of both breadth and depth," CSS Director Dr. Robert Ehlers said.

Phelps said it is also the only Border Security program in Texas.

"This is much bigger than topics relating only to the border two and a half hours south of us," Ehlers said. "We're studying issues relating to the sovereignty of America's borders in their entirety."

Phelps said some topics include homeland security, human trafficking, narcotics trade, and immigration.

"The information we have today is not what we will have in five years," Phelps said. "We plan to have extremely fluid classes that might be altered every single year to keep up with the pace of the changing world around us."

Both the bachelor's and the master's degrees will open online fall 2011 to Air Force students. The program opens to everyone fall of 2012. Phelps hopes to move into the classroom no later than August 2013.

Security Studies

Bruce Brechtol, associative professor of Political Science, and Robert Nalbandov, assistant professor of political science and criminal justice, are writing three of the programs, a Bachelor's of Cultural Competence and Security Studies, a Bachelor's of Cultural Fluency and Security Studies, and a Master's of Security Studies.

The Security Studies program is less about theory and more about practice, Bechtol said.

It will focus on cultural competency, and cover subjects such as national security and globalization.

"Foreign diplomats don't have the cultural depth they need," Bechtol said.

Nalbandov used the movie "Inglorious Basterds" to explain the importance. In one scene, Americans posing as Germans make a mistake by using the American hand sign for three. This mistake cost the characters their lives.

"How good at foreign diplomacy can you be in a culture you don't understand," Bechtol said.

The Bachelor's of Cultural Competence and the Bachelor's of Cultural Fluency will begin online fall 2011, and is the first of its kind to be offered online, Bechtol said.

Both programs will be initally offered to Air Force students. Eventually, the programs will be offered to all students both online and in-residence, although, a number of factors will determine when, Bechtol said.

The Master's in Security Studies will begin fall 2011 and is open to everyone, Bechtol said.


"This is the heart of what we do," CSS Deputy Director Susan Williams said.

The purpose of the programs is to give military personnel, federal civilian employees, and traditional civilian students an understanding of how to keep America safe and prosperous within a complex and dangerous world, Ehlers said.

"There are more people wanting to take this material than there are courses offered at various schools around the country," Ehlers said. "The scope is broader and deeper than anything else out there."

CSS plans to hire two more professors to help write the material, as well as three instructional developers to help the professors place their material online.

"Essentially, the professors are the subject matter experts and the instructional designers with whom they work directly are the facilitators to help them make the material as effective as possible online," Ehlers said.

The assisting faculty will work with Information Technology to put the courses online, Ehlers said.

CSS hired Monday Program Adviser Kerri Mikulik, completing their four piece leadership staff, including Ehlers, Williams and Office Coordinator Kim Mapel.

The board of regents also approved a Master of Science with a major in criminal justice, also written by Phelps.

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