Intelligence Consortium Capitalizes on CSU Diversity of Culture and Discipline
Antonia Boadi regularly receives examples of ethnic textiles as gifts. The director of TAPESTRY (Towards a Program to Establish Research Opportunities) Learning Center has hung these weavings and rugs from Africa and other corners of the world in the facility’s fifth floor space of the Leo Cain Library. Evoking the handcrafts of many cultures, they make a striking counterpoint to the more institutional surroundings of the computer lab.
Similarly, the California State University is seeking to bring a multicultural awareness to intelligence training with the formation of the Intelligence Community Center of Academic Excellence (CSU-ACE). Headquartered at Cal State San Bernardino, CSU-ACE includes the campuses of Bakersfield, Dominguez Hills, Fullerton, Long Beach, Northridge and Cal Poly Pomona. The seven-campus consortium aims to prepare students for careers in intelligence through a full academic program and field experiences, while reaping the cultural benefits of a highly diverse student population of 200,000, many of whom are foreign language speakers who have grown up familiar with both an American way of life and the speech and culture of another country.
CSU-ACE is the product of a $3 million, five-year grant from the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) provided through the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. Boadi, who is a lecturer in the computer science department, wrote and submitted the grant proposal for the Cal State Dominguez Hills campus. She describes how the campus’s diversity of cultural and linguistic background among its students will answer the needs of today’s intelligence profession.
“Our campus is the most diverse on the West Coast,” she points out. “Professionals in our national intelligence agencies are currently either very young or close to retirement. Our students can fill the needs of the intelligence community not only with a continuum of cultures and ethnic heritage speakers of numerous languages, but with a wide variety of age groups and academic disciplines as well.”
Last month, the CSU-ACE facility on the San Bernardino campus opened to offer its concentration on foreign language study, critical thinking and writing, national security and intelligence studies, and graduate studies in related programs. Scholarships for foreign study will be available for high-performing students, and this summer, a national security institute for high school students will be launched at the Long Beach campus. In addition, the participating campuses will have access to recruiters from 16 national intelligence agencies, including the Drug Enforcement Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security.
CSUDH’s main contribution to CSU-ACE will be technology training and security. Boadi will be instrumental in delivering this contribution, and will attend faculty training sponsored by the ODNI this summer at the University of Maryland to get the tools needed to teach students about national security and the intelligence community.
“Our students will be equipped to support the National Security Agency with a background in mathematics and cryptography,” she says. “I’m also looking forward to expanding this initiative to include courses related to information security and communications networks, so that our graduates in the intelligence job market will be in a position to support the Department of Homeland Security.”
For more information on CSU-ACE, visit www.csu-ace.org.
- Joanie Harmon-Whetmore