ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The next generation of leaders in national and global security are getting their start right here in New Mexico. It’s all thanks to a new master’s program through the University of New Mexico, not only teaching traditional graduate students but training area workers, as well.
UNM says they are in a prime location to offer a program like this, not only because of the close proximity to national labs but also because of the school’s diverse population and extensive research programs. They say the student interest in this first semester of the program has surpassed their expectations.
“It’s brand new but there is interest growing, interest in it, the student enrollment in these three courses we offer for this semester exceeded all of our expectations,” said Emile Nakhleh, director of UNM’s Global and National Security Policy Institute, which oversaw the creation of the degree and program. “This degree aims at nurturing the next generation of leaders in national security.”
The school is working closely with Sandia National Labs, Los Alamos National Lab and the Air Force Research Lab. While some, like Los Alamos, are helping fund the research and courses, others, like Sandia, are even sending their own employees to get this education.
“It is designed to provide a wider context to the workforce in the labs in particular, and the national security corporations, in general,” said Nakhleh. “The unique thing many other universities don’t have is the proximity to three world-class labs.”
The program, which can be completed in a year, is made up of 33 credit hours, including 15 required credits and 18 elective credits. Some of the required courses include Introduction to Global and National Security, and two modules, focused on Cyber Security and Directed Energy, as well as Human Decision Making and Leadership. While many elective courses are still in development, they can focus on everything from terrorism and nuclear security to the rule of law, environmental security and food safety.
“This degree in a sense provides this broader context which reflects this broad definition of national security,” said Nakhleh. “The degree will help raise the level of UNM from being just a regional school to a national security level.”
Some of the courses are even online, taught by professors in leadership positions across the country. The graduate degree is a non-traditional and interdisciplinary. The fall semester is already enrolled, but application deadlines for the spring semester are due by Nov. 15.