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TSA, Butler Expand Partnership

TSA Associates Program
Published: Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015

TSA, Butler Community College Expand Collaboration via Online Learning

Butler Community College in El Dorado, Kansas and The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agency of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security recently launched a new partnership that takes Butler’s Homeland Security curriculum literally across the country. TSA, with employees at airports all over the United States and building from a 2010 collaboration, approached Butler this past spring about expanding a customized curriculum for their employee training.  

Earlier this month, Butler and TSA launched four associate degree options within the areas of Homeland Security and Criminal Justice which are tailored for TSA employees and available online. This partnership evolved from a previously successful 2010 collaboration, when TSA asked Butler to teach three courses for their employees at the Wichita Mid-Continent Airport (now the Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport).

“It was this work that led up to TSA selecting Butler for the expansion of their training to national airports,” said Lori Winningham, Butler’s dean of Math, Science and Education. “The new online classes will be offered first to employees at the Minneapolis and Milwaukee Airports starting this fall.”

The initial Wichita offerings included three courses: Introduction to Homeland Security, Transportation and Border Security, and Intelligence Analysis and Security Management. In 2012, the first 12 students completed all three courses and earned a certificate through TSA. In the same year, Butler researched and developed two degrees in Homeland Security, as well as several additional courses as part of the new degree option.

“There aren’t many colleges offering this degree right now,” said Winningham. We believed it was important to develop it however, and we did a lot of work to build a strong curriculum.” Butler worked with Global Corporate College, an education and performance improvement organization, during their curriculum-building process.  

Within Butler, two divisions played major roles in the TSA partnership; Butler’s non-credit training provider, the Business Education and Training Analysis (BETA) division, and the academic division for Math, Science and Education.

“This is a great example of how BETA’s connection to corporations needing customized training programs for employees can evolve into degree-granting tracks for employees if companies so desire that option,” said Michelle Ruder, BETA director and Associate Dean of Workforce Development. “BETA had the initial contact and the connection to Global Corporate College, allowing us, within Butler, to put the right pieces together to develop an education degree track for employees that goes above the initial internal corporate certification.” Butler and TSA are hopeful that the online offerings will be expanded to additional national airports in the coming months.