Penn's Fels Institute Offers New Course for Students to Gain Practical Experience in Homeland Security

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Media Contact:Jacquie Posey | jposey@pobox.upenn.edu | 215-898-6460December 6, 2005

PHILADELPHIA -- The Fels Institute of Government at the University of Pennsylvania will offer a special homeland-security course this spring, enabling students to work as special staff members to a Philadelphia government task force examining the city's homeland-security preparations.  

Harvey Rubin, professor of medicine and computer science and an expert in homeland security, bioterrorism and infectious diseases, will teach the course.  "Homeland Security in Philadelphia" will focus on assessing the city's plans for dealing with catastrophes.  

Students enrolled in the course will serve on task force working groups examining issues such as evacuation planning, continuity of government and business and aspects of emergency preparedness, including information technology and systems integration.

"This is just part of Penn's growing commitment to link the University's rich resources with policy makers, and it represents the first of many such educational opportunities we will be developing," Penn Provost Ronald Daniels said.

"The course represents the 21st-century application of the University's historic commitment to pragmatic problem solving," College Dean Dennis DeTurck said.  "Future leaders will need cutting-edge skills.  This course will help bring some of the nation's most important issues into the classroom and use the classroom to help solve them."

Rubin, who directs the University's Institute for Strategic Threat Analysis and Response, is joining with the Fels Institute to develop this special course.

"We have learned from recent events, including Hurricane Katrina, that we have to do our best to secure our critical infrastructure," Rubin said.

Enrollment in the course will be limited to 25 juniors and seniors.

Students interested in the course can find further information, including the course description and application form, at www.sas.upenn.edu/fels/.  The deadline for application is Dec. 9.