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Academic Engagement Overview

Building Relationships with the Academic Community 

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) maintains numerous relationships with members of the academic community and directly engages with school administrators, faculty, and students on a range of issues. Offering internships to talented students and recent graduates, providing resources to strengthen the resilience of campus communities, and partnering with universities on research are just a few of the ways DHS works closely with the academic community. 

In 2011, DHS strengthened its outreach efforts to academic institutions by forming the Office of Academic Engagement (OAE), which supports DHS’ mission by building, improving and leveraging relationships with the academic community. 

Our Areas of Focus 

OAE’s work with the academic community occurs across DHS, and focuses on five key areas: 

  • Campus Resilience: Campus resilience involves colleges’ and universities’ abilities to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from and mitigate crisis and disaster situations, and aligns with DHS’ goal to build a more resilient nation.
  • Student and Recent Graduate Recruitment: With more than 240,000 employees across the world, DHS offers unique career opportunities in a variety of fields. Attracting talented students and recent graduates to work at DHS is crucial in building the next generation of homeland security leaders.
  • International Students: International students bring invaluable contributions to our nation, and DHS is committed to advancing the opportunities for international students to study in America while maintaining the integrity of the process.
  • Homeland Security Academic Programs: Over the past ten years, homeland security education has grown significantly, with more than 350 new certificate and degree programs created. Aligning these academic programs to DHS’ mission helps create an educated and informed workforce now and in the future.
  • Academic Research and Faculty Exchange: DHS taps the expertise of the nation's colleges and universities to address pressing homeland security needs and incorporate scientific findings into DHS’ operations. 

Resources and Programs for the Academic Community 

DHS’ work to support the academic community has resulted in a variety of resources, tools, initiatives, and programs for students, faculty, and academic institutions. 

To strengthen our engagement with the academic community, DHS formed the Homeland Security Academic Advisory Council (HSAAC) in March 2012. The HSAAC is a federal advisory committee comprised of university presidents and academic leaders and provides advice and recommendations to the Secretary and senior leadership at DHS on matters related to homeland security and the academic community. 

By working with our partners throughout government, DHS provides numerous programs, best practices and tools to actively engage the academic community in building more resilient campus communities. 

Through the Study in the States initiative, announced by Secretary Napolitano in 2011, DHS works to enhance coordination between the federal agencies that most directly affect international students and the academic institutions that host them. As part of this initiative, DHS maintains an innovative website, Study in the States, dedicated solely to the international student community and frequently updated with tips, news, and other helpful information.  

DHS also offers a variety of internships and resources for students and recent graduates, and provides professional development opportunities and training programs in a variety of fields.

Download overviews of OAE and the HSAAC for more information.

See Academic Engagement Results

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