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K-State to offer securities studies major with master's program, first doctorate program in nation

By Chloe Bos

 

The Institute for Military History and 20th Century Studies and the departments of political science and history at Kansas State University will introduce a master's degree in securities studies in the fall 2006 semester. A doctorate program in securities studies will be inaugurated in 2007. This will be the first doctoral securities studies program in the nation.

The securities studies program is a rigorous, interdisciplinary program intended to prepare students for careers in research, teaching and security and international affairs through a broad exploration of social science and historical methodologies as well as topics relating to security issues.

The securities studies master's degree is a professional degree providing a broad, analytical perspective on security issues. Coursework will concentrate on issues of strategy, politics, economics and society from both historical and social science perspectives. The program's focus will be on issues complementing those emphasized in the military's professional training. Initially, the master's degree program will be able to accept 30 students; however, enrollment is not limited to military professionals as other students also can enroll.

K-State and the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth have a formal agreement of cooperation to promote and expand the exchange of personnel and resources for educational purposes. K-State offers specific graduate degree programs to officers at the college to supplement their military degrees.

"The securities studies program arose from conversations with Fort Leavenworth personnel who were seeking a graduate program that was interdisciplinary and focused on contemporary politics, military history and security and international relations," said Sue Zschoche, associate professor and chair of K-State's history department.

"It's important for military officers to understand the cultures of the world in the places they operate, particularly in a climate in which security issues transcend national borders," she said.

Mark Parillo, director of the Institute for Military History and 20th Century Studies and associate professor of history, said the securities studies program fits with the institute's mission to promote scholarship in the critical areas of military history and 20th century studies.

"The program fulfills our desire to reach out to the general public, the historical profession and to our partner institutions, the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum and the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth," he said. "Given the nature of national security concerns in the 21st century, earning these degrees would be truly valuable to various members of defense establishments as well as provide an academic and intellectual framework that is needed in today's world."

Joe AistrupJoseph Aistrup, professor and head of K-State's political science department, said this program will impact an entire generation of officers and will likely influence other universities to follow in K-State's footsteps.

This program is a good match for K-State because of the close relationship with the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Aistrup said. Faculty at Fort Leavenworth also will be teaching coursework related to the securities studies program.

The program also was developed in part in reaction to changes in the global environment, Aistrup said.

"The post-World War II world was bipolar, with two major powers, the United States and the USSR. During this time frame, strategic studies were important. Today's world is fundamentally different. There are a host of security threats emanating from national and cross-national forces," he said. "We're not as worried about 'mutual assured destruction' within one country or one terrorist group with one biological or dirty bomb. We need to address these threats with new intellectual tools. Our interdisciplinary focus will enable us to develop the new area of studies to help shed light on these new issues."

Aistrup said this program will help improve U.S. safety because the students who earn their master's degree or doctorate in securities studies will be the ones who have a direct impact on security issues in the United States.

He said the political science department will emphasize issues such as the spread of terrorism and other national and international security threats in its courses. The department also will address the fact that terrorism is a transnational issue that goes beyond the traditional nation-state.

"We will focus upon certain area studies in different parts of the world based on our own departmental expertise," Aistrup said. "This includes the Middle East, South Asia and the former Soviet Bloc nations."

Zschoche said securities studies is a unique program because it transcends national boundaries.

"You can't understand anything about cross-cultural relationships, including security issues, unless you understand the cultures and history of the different areas of the world."

Aistrup can be reached at 785-532-6842 or jaistrup@k-state.edu; Zschoche can be reached at 785-532-6730 or suez@k-state.edu; Parillo can be reached at 785-532-0374 or parillo@k-state.edu

 

Summer 2006