9 July 2007
JSU Professor Wins Summer Fellowship to Study Terrorism
Dr. Richard R. E. Kania of the Criminal Justice Department of Jacksonville State University has been awarded a fellowship to attend the 2007 Summer Workshop on Teaching about Terrorism (SWOTT), a federally funded program for educators and public safety professionals at the University of Oklahoma. Dr. Kania was chosen from an invited pool of over 150 applicants to participate in the
program. SWOTT will cover most of the expenses (lodging, food, transportation)
of the participants.
Dr. Kania is professor and department head of Criminal Justice at JSU. His areas of empertise include police policy, applied ethics in
criminal justice and ethnic relations. He has twice been a Fulbright Professor, once in Poland and then in Belarus. He joined the JSU
faculty in December 2005.
Kania has taught courses on terrorism in the past, including abroad in the Republic of Belarus where he was a Senior Fulbright Professor in 2004-2005,
and currently he covers terrorism and counter-terrorism as part of his CJ-400 course, “Protective Systems.”
The Project Director of SWOTT is Gregory D. Miller of the Department of Political Science at the University of Oklahoma. The intensive program runs
from the 10th thru the 18th of July. Initiated in 2005, the program has been
hosted by several universities around the United States, including the College of William and Mary, the University of Maryland, the University of Georgia, and
Moorehouse College in Atlanta. Among the program sponsors are the Foundation
for Defense of Democracies, the Department of Homeland Security and the DHS Science and Technology Directorate, RTI International, and the Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism (MIPT).
SWOTT is an intensive course on terrorism. The participants are given an extensive reading list upon acceptance, and should complete these readings before attending the workshop. At the workshop they are given additional
readings each night, in preparation for the following day’s meetings. The
program has four major goals:
Professor Bruce Hoffman of the School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University, a nationally known expert on international terrorism, has said of the program, "SWOTT has become the 'gold standard' for teachers and scholars seeking to acquire both broad as well as detailed knowledge and understanding of terrorism. There is no better nor more stimulating course with which to establish a foundation in this subject whether for scholarly research or
- First, SWOTT seeks to increase the public’s knowledge of terrorism, its intricacies, and its counter-measures. To this end, the program combines presentations from experts in the field and government officials, with terrorism readings (both classics and modern works).
- Second, SWOTT seeks to train participants to teach others. As a result, participants discuss different elements of terrorism, as well as some of the "best practices" for relaying the information to others, such as the use of simulations.
- Third, SWOTT hopes to improve the quality of academic research in the field, by introducing scholars and practitioners to existing ideas, as well as the variety of approaches to studying terrorism (case studies, statistical methods, etc.).
- Finally, SWOTT’s fourth goal is to strengthen the community of individuals who deal with terrorism, whether as a teacher, researcher, or government official.
In order to bridge the gaps that typically separate these arenas, the selection committee includes participants with widely divergent skills and goals, and not only instruct them on the basics, but help them to develop bonds that will improve society’s ability to understand and confront terrorism. SWOTT also pursues this goal through a series of gatherings outside the classroom, including field trips, informal gatherings/dinners, and more formal receptions.
SWOTT plans to cover teaching related issues such as the implementation of active learning techniques in the classroom. This workshop not only teaches its participants about terrorism, it also trains them to successfully teach courses on terrorism. A good teacher and an informed person can be quite different individuals. SWOTT hopes to produce "informed teachers" from this workshop.
The program seeks to improve the quality of academic research in the field.
Much of the current work on terrorism is reinventing the wheel, in that many of the scholars now researching terrorism have little appreciation or awareness of the work that precedes it. As a result, the workshop introduces participants to past and present terrorism research programs, quantitative and qualitative approaches to the study terrorism, and current cutting-edge methods to study of terrorism.
Todd Sandler of the University of Texas at Dallas adds, “For contacts, knowledge, and teaching insights, SWOTT is the workshop to prepare oneself for teaching up-to-date material on terrorism. SWOTT brings in the very best people in the field and provides a diversity of approaches -- all approaches are covered.”
For more information visit the SWOTT Web site.
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