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Academic Engagement Results

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has worked closely with partners throughout government and in the academic community to develop programs and resources for students, faculty and school administrators. DHS’s work to support the academic community has resulted in a variety of resources, tools, and programs for students, faculty, and academic institutions.

Academic Research and Faculty Exchange 

  • Science and Technology (S&T) developed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with DHS Components to enhance collaboration and further formalize the communication process. The MOUs will ensure that DHS Components regularly identify and communicate their research priorities to S&T, engage in S&T’s project reviews and participate in S&T’s Centers of Excellence (COE) funding opportunity panels.
  • S&T finalized a departmental definition of research and development, based on existing definitions at the Office of Management and Budget and Department of Defense but tailored to DHS, that was signed by the Secretary as an annex to S&T’s official delegation.
  • S&T hosts and coordinates seminars on homeland security topics featuring guest lecturers from academia.
  • S&T coordinated short term exchanges of COE professors to various DHS Components.
  • S&T established Federal Coordinating Committees for each COE, which are comprised of 5 – 10 Federal representatives that advise S&T on the COEs’ plans and performance. Through the committees, DHS Components are provided opportunities to support planning and funding efforts for COE research and education initiatives.

Campus Resilience 

  • Through the Blue Campaign, DHS has engaged the higher education community in combating human trafficking by partnering with selected institutions of higher education (IHEs) on a six-month pilot program to determine ways in which DHS can best engage with and expand the campaign to colleges and universities across the country.
  • Together with the Departments of Education, Justice and Health and Human Services, DHS developed and released model, high quality planning guides to aid in the development of emergency operations plans for schools, houses of worship and IHEs.
  • DHS launched the National Seminar and Tabletop Exercise for Institutions of Higher Education (NTTX), a series of campus-based events to test and promote campus resilience. The events promote the White House’s all-hazard, Guide for Developing High-Quality Emergency Operations Plans for Institutions of Higher Education, and provide insight into common planning, preparedness and resilience best practices and challenges of the academic community when faced with an emerging threat. The first exercise took place at Northeastern University, which included workshop sessions featuring a variety of issues relevant to campus resilience as well as a tabletop exercise involving participant role play in the campus response to a fictitious infectious disease outbreak.
  • DHS launched the Campus Resilience Pilot Program (CR Pilot), a joint initiative of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Student and Exchange Visitor Program, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Office of Academic Engagement, that engages colleges and universities to help develop and pilot an emergency preparedness and resilience planning process. Using information gathered from campus engagement sessions at selected colleges and universities, DHS has developed a process and toolkit to help IHEs build campus resilience.
  • FEMA’s National Exercise Division integrated the Campus Resilience Enhancement System (CaRES) into its preparatory tool kit. Through the CR Pilot, DHS in coordination with the Community and Regional Resilience Institute developed CaRES, a web-enabled tool that guides IHEs through a resilience planning process.


  • Designed specifically for students pursuing a cyber-related degree or interested in the field of cybersecurity, DHS hosts National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) Student Events. The events include a tour of the NCCIC and a panel discussion with DHS cybersecurity experts.
  • DHS Stop.Think.Connect. Campaign launched the Academic Alliance program specifically for sharing cybersecurity awareness materials and best practices with universities. Through the program, the Department has supported cybersecurity awareness events at universities. 
  • DHS expanded the Secretary’s Honors Program Cyber Student Volunteer Initiative, providing opportunities for unpaid student volunteers’ assignments at local DHS field office locations across the country. Through the initiative, student volunteers will gain invaluable hands-on experience and exposure to the cybersecurity work performed by DHS cybersecurity professionals. The program is specifically designed for current college students pursuing a program of study in a cybersecurity-related field.
  • DHS launched a series of cybersecurity awareness engagements with institutions of higher education. The engagements feature presentations from DHS subject matter experts on the landscape of cyber threats facing colleges and universities. As part of its cybersecurity engagement efforts, DHS created a Cybersecurity Resources Fact Sheet outlining the Department’s cybersecurity resources, programs and tools available to the higher education community.

Homeland Security Academic Programs 

  • DHS has expanded its relationship with the Department of Defense (DOD) Senior Service Schools by establishing a DHS faculty chair at each school. Eligible DHS employees can apply to attend any of the DOD Senior Service Schools.
  • DHS’s Office of the Chief Human Capital Officer hosted an Education Fair for DHS employees to promote and highlight training and educational opportunities available for the DHS workforce through IHEs with an existing relationship to the Department. In addition to the all-day Education Fair, there were two seminars throughout the day focusing on homeland security education.
  • The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) National Training and Education Division developed a Course-to-Capability Mapping Tool as a method to crosswalk and systematically align security- and resilience-related courses to the core professional capabilities identified in FEMA’s National Preparedness Goal.
  • FEMA came to an agreement with the American Council on Education (ACE) to provide credit recommendations for courses offered at FEMA’s National Emergency Training Center and Emergency Management Institute (EMI). ACE reviews EMI’s resident and off-site courses to determine their eligibility for inclusion in the National Guide for Education Credit for Training Programs. EMI students who are enrolled in a degree program at a university may request that the ACE recommendation for an EMI course be applied as credit toward their degree. This arrangement enhances career development for the student and academic status for EMI’s curriculum.

International Students  

  • The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) published its Final Rule “Adjustments to Limitations on Designated School Official Assignment and Study by F-2 and M-2 Nonimmigrants” which grants school officials more flexibility in determining the number of designated school officials to nominate for oversight of campuses while providing greater incentive for international students to study in the U.S. by permitting accompanying spouses and children to enroll in study at an SEVP-certified school so long as any study remains less than a full course of study.
  • ICE SEVP has issued 14 pieces of draft guidance/fact sheets on the Study in the States website for public comment on planned changes or clarifications to existing policies.
  • ICE, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and U.S. Customs and Border Protection participate in outreach events with stakeholders from the international student community.
  • DHS continues to expand the Study in the States website and leverages social media tools and webinars to engage with stakeholders
  • ICE SEVP integrated standardized risk-based criteria to streamline adjudications, reducing certification time from approximately 270 to 80 days.

Student and Recent Graduate Recruitment

  • The Office of Academic Engagement, in coordination with the Office of the Chief Human Capital Officer, executed the Department-wide Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) with the following higher education associations (HEAs): American Association of Community Colleges; American Indian Higher Education Consortium; Asian American and Pacific Islander Association of Colleges and Universities; Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities; and National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education. The MOUs will incentivize collaboration between DHS and these organizations to show students viable career pathways within DHS while pursuing their degrees. Through the MOUs, HEAs will have visibility into DHS recruitment opportunities for students and recent graduates, and DHS will have access to students enrolled in or recent graduates from schools represented by HEAs.
  • In addition to and in support of the MOUs, Secretary Jeh Johnson approved a Department-wide campaign focused on DHS outreach to Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs). Through the campaign, the Department will increase its engagement with MSI cohorts as well as raise awareness of the DHS career opportunities for students and recent graduates represented by the HEAs.
  • DHS awarded two blanket purchase agreements for third party providers that can be used across DHS to supplement the Pathways Programs for internships in order to meet workforce needs and outreach to diverse communities. The awardees were the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities National Internship Program and the Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars.
Last Published Date: November 19, 2015

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