Office of Academic Engagement Monthly Message: February 2016

DHS Continues Relationships with Minority Serving Institutions

Every February our nation celebrates African American History Month, a time to reflect on the struggles of the men and women and events in the history of the African Diaspora, as well as celebrate the accomplishments of generations of African Americans.

In light of African American History Month, it is important to note the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) efforts to strengthen the diversity of its workforce. With one of the most diverse in the federal government, African Americans represent 15.5 percent of DHS’s workforce. Through Pathways, DHS continues to increase the African American workforce by recruiting interns, recent graduates and fellows. In addition, DHS strives for a strong presence at national conferences targeted at African Americans, including Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Week national conferences. Through this effort, DHS has participated in events at more than 10 HBCU-designated institutions.

The Department is also working to develop strategic partnerships with Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs), including HBCUs and Predominately Black Institutions.

In 2014, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson approved a Department-wide campaign focused on outreach to MSIs. Since the launch of the campaign, the Department increased its engagement with MSI cohorts, leveraging both current and upcoming DHS programs and initiatives to foster new relationships with institutions of higher education, key academic associations and other federal agencies. Furthermore, the campaign addresses recommendations from the DHS Homeland Security Academic Advisory Council (HSAAC) to support specific programs at MSIs and attract and recruit diverse talent to careers at DHS.

In support of the campaign, the DHS Office of Academic Engagement (OAE) engaged with MSIs in a variety of ways since the launch. For example, OAE partnered with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program, the U.S. Department of State’s EducationUSA network and the White House Initiative on HBCUs to host a webinar designed specifically for HBCUs and focused on international students.

OAE also engaged several MSIs for National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) and National Infrastructure Coordinating Center student events. Designed specifically for students pursuing a cyber-related degree or interested in the field of cybersecurity, each event includes a tour of the NCCIC followed by a panel discussion featuring cybersecurity experts from different DHS Components. 

Led by OAE and supported by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program, the DHS Campus Resilience Program is an initiative that supports college and university preparedness and resilience planning, with a particular emphasis on unique considerations for international students during campus crises. As part of the launch of the program, DHS competitively selected seven colleges and universities to participate as pilot schools, including Tougaloo College. In 2015, Tougaloo College participated in a training event centered on the Campus Resilience Enhancement System, a FEMA-hosted, web-enabled system developed as part of the Campus Resilience Program, that assists colleges and universities as they build and improve upon their emergency operations plans.

Secretary Johnson appointed six new members to the HSAAC last fall. Two of the selected members, Dr. Roslyn Clark Artis and Dr. Beverly Wade Hogan, represent HBCUs. Dr. Lezli Baskerville, President and CEO of the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education, has also served as a member of the Council since its establishment in 2012.

Finally, February also is a time to celebrate the Chinese New Year. DHS continues an upward trend of employing Asian Americans at 5.1 percent, 1.4 percent higher than the civilian workforce. Additionally, the Hon. Ruby G. Moy, President and CEO of the Asian American and Pacific Islander Association of Colleges and Universities has served as a member of the Council since its establishment in 2012.


New Timeline for DHS’s Rule on Training Opportunities for International STEM Students

In October 2015, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a proposed rule that would extend the time during which some international students may engage in practical training while in the United States. DHS plans to publish a final rule on this topic in March 2016.

Higher Education Webinar: What is Cybersecurity?

FEMA Region I is hosting a webinar on Wednesday, March 16, 2016, from 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. EST, for higher education emergency management and preparedness stakeholders. The webinar will focus on disaster preparedness capabilities, programs and resources. Featured speakers include: Michael Leking, Cyber Security Advisor, Cyber Security & Communications DHS; Mark Beaudry, Corporate Security, IBM; Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team; Dan McElhinney (Host), National Preparedness Division Director, FEMA Region I. To join the meeting, connect via Call-In information is available at:1-800-320-4330 | PIN: 829796.

DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis

DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) is the federal government lead for sharing information and intelligence with state, local, tribal and territorial (SLTT) governments and the private sector. I&A would like to bring a campus law enforcement officer into their SLTT fellowship program. The I&A Fellows Program furthers DHS’s mission for information and intelligence sharing by bringing talent and expertise from the field to I&A. Through cross-training opportunities in I&A and practical experience in the field, DHS and SLTT entities can enhance and build partnerships to support common homeland security missions. For more information on the program, please view the fact sheet (PDF) or contact Gabrielle Parada, External Liaison Manager, via phone, (202) 447-3591, or e-mail

The monthly Academic Engagement Message is a product of the Office of Academic Engagement. The office advances the DHS mission by building, improving and leveraging relationships with the academic community. For more information, visit