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24/09/2009 | Press Release - CHDS Launches its First Three Accredited Courses

Martin Edwin Andersen

September 14, 2009, marked an important milestone for the Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies with the inauguration of CHDS’s first accredited courses: Statecraft: Peacekeeping and Nation Building (SPNB), Advanced Defense Policy (ADP), and Terrorism and Counter Insurgency course (TCI).

 

The idea that CHDS should offer courses academically accredited at the graduate level had been debated for some years at Center. But it was about two years ago that, following successful experiences with experimental courses that used a mix of Distributive Learning (on-line) and In Residence processes, CHDS Director Dr. Richard Downie directed the study of the feasibility of those courses becoming a regular, fully accredited offering.

“The three courses represent an important step in the strengthening of the Center’s academic foundation in tune with the changing demands from the Western Hemisphere,” noted CHDS Dean of Academics Dr. Frederick M. Nunn. “The fact students can now take these courses for academic credit means that not only will they be getting cutting-edge instruction on themes that they are most interested in, but also that they will now be able to receive credit for taking them.”

Previously offered without credit, the three courses will now be listed in the academic catalogue of the National Defense University and offer eligible students three credits each. The SPNB course is designed to study humanitarian and peacekeeping interventions and evaluate policy-related issues affecting international relations and national policy-making in a democratic environment. The ADP course aims to deepen participant understanding of theories and case-studies regarding strategy, defense policy, and defense analytical tools and methodologies, in order to more effectively engage in the process of defense policy formulation, implementation, and evaluation. And the TCI course studies the reasons for the emergence of insurgency and terrorism, the comparative political and theoretical approaches to insurgent strategy, mobilization, operations and organization, as well as the comparative countermeasures in each one of the relevant areas. 

The three courses last 14 weeks and are conducted in three phases. A first on-line phase tasks participants to read selected works, participate in discussion-boards, and prepare a research-paper proposal. A second phase is conducted on site at CHDS on the NDU campus, and combines on-line study and research with an in-residence program. A third phase will be used to produce a paper that will be evaluated by the CHDS academic team. 

“Many CHDS students not familiar with the U.S. academic system may feel puzzled by this
‘accreditation issue,’ because the process is very different from the bureaucratic demands in many Latin American countries,” noted Dr. Luis Bitencourt, CHDS professor of national security affairs and a prime mover behind the accreditation process. “So, let me explain first that, differently from most of Latin American countries, in the U.S. the accreditation is not directly granted by a Ministry or Secretariat of Education. College accreditation may be given out by several institutions; in the U.S., there are seven regional institution approved by the U.S. Department of Education.

“But this does not make the process less rigorous or reliable. In our case, accreditation is granted by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission of Higher Education, through the National Defense University (NDU) -- and particularly the College of International Security Affairs (CISA),” Bitencourt added. “Therefore, credits granted by our courses are normally recognized by private and governmental educational and academic institutions and have the same consideration and recognition that, for example, the courses of renowned universities receive.” 

Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies (Estados Unidos)

 



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