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DeSales University Launching New Center for Homeland Security

by Janelle Hill Nov 18, 2019

Counterterrorism experts from across the country will convene in Center Valley on November 21 to help DeSales University kick off its new Center for Homeland Security.

The center—the first of its kind in the Lehigh Valley and Philadelphia regions—will feature four main components: education, research, outreach, and technology.

“There is a huge demand for homeland security related jobs—from the private sector to local, national, and government agencies,” says Dr. Ahmet Yayla, assistant professor and director of the center. “It’s not only countering terrorism; it covers a large range of different jobs and businesses.”

More than 100 homeland security professionals will be attending the opening ceremony on Thursday, November 21, from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the DeSales University Center. It will also be streamed live as an online panel discussion at

Dr. Bruce Hoffman, a tenured professor in Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service who served as a commissioner on the Independent Commission to Review the FBI’s Post-9/11 Response to Terrorism and Radicalization, will be the opening speaker.

Dr. Hoffman will also serve on a panel discussing the past, present, and future of countering terrorism alongside Colin P. Clarke, a senior research fellow at The Soufan Center and an assistant professor in the Institute for Politics and Strategy (IPS) at Carnegie Mellon University.

“Homeland security is a very tricky business,” says Yayla. “There is no place for error. We must always be one step ahead of the game so that we can prevent future terrorist activities.”

The Center for Homeland Security will feature undergraduate degrees in homeland security and criminal justice, as well as a master’s degree in criminal justice with a concentration in homeland security.

Students can also earn certificates in the areas of counterterrorism, intelligence, and counterterrorism/digital forensics, the latter of which will focus on how to extract evidence and intelligence from cell phones, computers, and other devices.

“There are a lot of digital forensics certifications and courses in the country, but our difference is going to be focusing on countering terrorism investigations. This will be one of the first special programs focusing on countering terrorism and digital forensics in the nation.”

 Dr. Ahmet Yayla, assistant professor and director of the Center for Homeland Security

The center will have a focus on research involving data collection and data analytics, and it will help students secure mentorships and internships. It will also specialize in training programs geared toward local, state, and national agencies.

DeSales is bringing in three homeland security experts to help develop and teach the courses in addition to Yayla, who received an honor of cooperation and collaboration from then FBI Director Robert Mueller while serving in the counterterrorism and operations division of the Ankara Police Department in Turkey.

“The uniqueness of this program is that we are working with professionals who spent decades in the field as experts,” he says. “They are going to be the professors who are teaching these courses.”

Learn more about the Center for Homeland Security