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2022 Charting a Career Path in Global Affairs

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University of Miami, Master of Arts in International Administration

Security Management Credentials Equip Students to Manage Today’s Threats

The University of Miami (UM) offers a new line of defense against a host of security threats that confront the world these days, including school shootings, the effects of climate change, a pandemic, and hacking of personal information.

UM offers a wide-ranging Certificate in Security Management, launched three years ago, that graduate students can take either as a stand- alone micro-credential during a summer, or as part of UM’s yearlong MA in International Administration (MAIA).

“It’s not about crime,” says Maryann Tatum Tobin, assistant dean for professional education, who runs the MAIA program. “It’s about wellness and safety, and how do we have a more secure world? We have security because there are operations behind the scenes keeping us safe.”

“It’s not about crime. It’s about wellness and safety. We have security because there are operations behind the scenes keeping us safe.” –Maryann Tatum Tobin, Assistant Dean for Professional Education, College of Arts and Sciences, University of Miami

The certificate program benefits from its location in South Florida, an area that must manage hurricanes and rising sea levels, as well as domestic crises like the June 2021 collapse of the Champlain Towers in the Miami suburb of Surfside and the nearby school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. MAIA guest lecturers have included Carol Bellamy, a former director of the Peace Corps, who spoke about humanitarian aid during global disasters, and Major Greg Terp (ret.), formerly with the Miami-Dade Police Department, who described his experience in overseeing the logistics of major events, such as the Super Bowl, as well as the essentials of emergency management.

In addition to preparation for and response to disasters, the security certificate classes cover issues of energy (including nuclear) and environment (including water resources and sustainable food systems), plus human trafficking and cybersecurity.

The breadth of issues covered in the curriculum has launched graduates into an assortment of careers. For example, 2021 graduate James Cunningham interned at the Department of Defense’s US Southern Command and was hired from his internship as an information operations planner. A 2021 classmate, Benjamin Kling, developed during his MAIA coursework a concept of a drone that would survey damage to agricultural areas to determine what mitigation steps are required. Kling took his concept to the UM small business incubator, which helped him get funding for a start-up venture, Precision Ecology.

“You can take this content anywhere you want,” Tobin says. “Every job these students take requires them to have some knowledge of how to be prepared and what to do with the aftermath.”

Combination of Theory and Real-World Insights Launches Graduate’s Career

Both theoretical classes in international relations and real-world lessons intrigued 2021 MAIA graduate James Cunningham. The 24-year-old from Newport, Rhode Island, whose coursework included the Certificate in Security Management, wrote a capstone essay on the evolution of the Cuban Communist Party’s outsized foreign policy by conducting research in the Cuban Heritage Collection in the University of Miami’s Richter Library, as well as by drawing insights from conversations with Cuban political exiles.
>>>“The MAIA program prepared me for professional success by combining academic considerations of international relations with the real-world lessons of industry leaders,” says Cunningham, who parlayed his academic studies into an internship and then, after graduation, a job with SOUTHCOM. “It gave me the opportunity to borrow wisdom from people far more experienced in the industry.”

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