Indiana University Northwest

SPEA-J470 Syllabus




Indiana University Northwest

School of Public and Environmental




J470 Seminar in Homeland Security
Summer A 2013




Dr. Joseph Ferrandino  

See the Course Guide/Schedule for
session themes, readings, resources, and all assignment due dates.


Course Description
This is a senior seminar course that focuses on historical and present aspects of the approach to homeland security. Particular emphasis is placed on the legal and policy approaches taken in times of war, with a special focus on the 9/11 attack and response.



Course Goals and Objectives
This is a seminar course that is reading, writing and discussion intensive. The objective is to understand the historical, social and legal aspects that comprise defending and securing the homeland of the United States of America. A main objective of the course is to fully understand the changing threats facing the country prior to, and since, 9/11. Furthermore, the impact of 9/11 on our legal and defense system is thoroughly explored within the broader security focus.

After completing this course, students should be able to:

  1. Assess the impact of threats on an open, democratic society.
  1. Integrate the fields of geography, culture, politics, rights and economics with the emergence of homeland security.
  1. Display a detailed knowledge of 9/11 and its causes as well as evaluate the            policies and legislation that resulted from the tragedy.
  1. Demonstrate a working knowledge of the US Constitution and be able to apply this knowledge to policies enacted to secure the homeland.
  1. Critically assess the Department of Homeland Security from an organizational perspective.
  1. Demonstrate the ability to apply a historical Supreme Court case to a recent case.
  1. Sharpen writing ability, expand reading comprehension and enhance note-

taking abilities.


Course Materials 

Required Text
The 9/11 Commission Report (Authorized Edition): Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States. Norton and Company, NY. ISBN: 0-393-32671-3. 

**I have posted an electronic copy of this book, but you can buy the hard copy if you prefer in any bookstore for about $15. The electronic copy of the book may be very helpful when you are doing your reading quizzes as you can use the search feature in the pdf to find the information quickly.

US Postal Service Anthrax Case Study ($5 fee for download—download early in the semester).

All other required readings will be listed in the weekly modules and the links will be provided for the student if they are on the internet. Any other readings will be in pdf format and made available in the Resources tab. There are no fees for these required readings.


Recommended Texts



Grading Information 

Grades will be determined as shown in the following assignment chart.  Detailed descriptions of assignments are available below and from the assignment links in the chart. Due dates are detailed in the Course Schedule.

The first 6 weeks of the class, a student can earn 125 points each week, for a total of 750 points. The last week is just the final examination, worth 250 points. You can clearly see the impact on your grade if you miss a week a class, any assignment, or the final examination.


of Grade


Reading Quizzes (6 @ 50 points each)

30% (300)

Final Examination

25% (250)

Weekly Discussions (6 @ 25 points each)

15% (150)

Weekly Writing Assignments (6 @ 50 points each)

30% (300)


100% (1,000)



                 A 94-100 (935-1000)

                 A- 90-93 (895-925)

                 B+ 87-89 (865-894)

                 B 83-86 (825-864)

                 B- 80-82 (795-824)

                 C+ 77-79 (765-794)

C 73-76 (725-764)

C- 70-72 (695-724)

D+ 67-69 (665-694)

D 63-66 (625-664)

D- 60-62 (595-624)

F 0-59 (0-594)



Class Policies Regarding Graded Work 

**The following policies are in effect for all individual deliverables throughout the semester, unless noted otherwise. **


*** Meeting***
This class meets 100% online and all work will be given and graded online. We will not meet in person as a group. I will be sure to be extremely responsive to your needs, emails and other communications at posted hours throughout the day and week. For those students that need to, I will be able to meet on campus in my office if it is requested and required for your success.



***Late Work***
Due to the amount of the work in the course, no late work will be accepted. However, in comparison to traditional classes that meet in person, the due dates will be on Sunday noon for discussions and 11PM Central time Sundays for quizzes, tests and papers.


***Original Work***
You are expected to do all of your own writing assignments, take your own exams and quizzes without assistance and post original discussions and responses in the forum. Any student caught not adhering to this requirement will be referred to Student Services and face disciplinary action within the guidelines of the department, college and university.


The University has a "no cut" policy; regular attendance is expected.  It is understood that emergencies or unanticipated schedule changes may occur which result in absences.  Please contact the SPEA office in that event.  Students may withdraw automatically from the course during the first five weeks, i.e. through June 14, 2013.  After that period, withdrawals can be made only with the permission of the instructor and the SPEA Director.  To qualify for a withdrawal (i.e., a grade of "W") after the automatic period, a student must contact the SPEA Director.  Withdrawals after the withdrawal deadline are very rare. They are given only under extreme circumstances. Incompletes ("I's") are given only when the work of the course is substantially completed and is of passing quality.  The maximum time for the removal of an "I" is one year.  After that period, "I's" are automatically changed to "F's".



NOTE: The instructor will keep students apprised of assignment grades via the online class Grade book. Students are responsible for contacting the instructor if they do not receive any grade by 10 days after the assignment submission date.



Course Requirements
Success in this course requires effort as well as good time management skills. The course is writing and reading intensive. Be sure to follow all guidelines and work on a schedule. All discussion postings/responses are due Fridays by noon. Writing assignments and quizzes will be due Sundays by 11PM Central time. The exception is the final exam which is due by noon on the last week of classes.

**All due dates are noted in the Course Guide/Schedule**


Reading Quizzes: You will have a reading quiz each week, due by Sunday at 11PM Central time. These quizzes will cover the assigned reading for each week and will be timed, so you can use an open book or notes, but will not be successful if you have not read. They are multiple choice, true/false and matching. They are designed to encourage you to read and see who is reading. If you are reading and taking notes, looking over the assigned material as required and get an early start each week, you will be fine. Some of these will be set for the student to take the quiz twice and keep the highest grade to encourage you to do well.

Weekly Discussions: The weekly discussions are important for several reasons. First, they keep you engaged and connected to the class and let you get to know other students through their thoughts and responses. Furthermore, they serve as your attendance, effort and participation grade and give you an opportunity to have a voice in an online class. You are required at ALL times to be respectful and thoughtful in the discussion forums—these are not online chat boards where anything goes. This class has a lot of areas of information that require thought, deliberation and sensitivity and sometimes these do not come across in text. You are to use professional language at all times (i.e. these are not texts you send to your friends so spelling, grammar and punctuation count). Your post will be half your weekly grade, and it should be complete and well thought out. Those that post close to the deadline are usually not. The other half of the grade is two responses (25% each) and these are required to be well thought and complete. For example, writing “I agree with you” will earn you 0/25 for that response.

Weekly Writing Assignments: This is a writing intensive class so these assignments are extremely important. Each assignment has a different purpose and required length. Be sure to follow the directions and formatting for each. You will be graded 60% on content (the substance and quality of what you actually write); 20% on format and structure (using the proper font, proper length, justified margins, etc.) and 20% on grammar, punctuation and spelling. The following scale will be used for each assignment, which are worth 50 points each:

CONTENT: 30 points excellent, 27 points good, 24 points adequate, 21 points less than adequate, 18 points unacceptable

FORMAT: 10 points excellent, 9 points good, 8 points adequate, 7 points less than adequate, 6 points unacceptable

GRAMMAR: 10 points excellent, 9 points good, 8 points adequate, 7 points less than adequate, 6 points unacceptable


Final Examination: This will consist of 50% short answer and 50% multiple choice covering the entire class. This will not be used to weed anyone out at the end of the class but rather to ensure you did the reading, activities and course requirements. It will be open note of course and you will be given a “study guide” to help you focus. It is worth 25% of the grade so you should begin compiling your own study guide from the first day of class.




IU Academic Policies 

This course is governed by IU academic policies in the following areas:

  • Grading Guidelines
  • Writing Standards
  • Academic Integrity and Plagiarism
  • Course Evaluations
  • Students With Disabilities



Please see above sections in syllabus for this specific information.


Plagiarism is also a major issue for which many university and classroom rules apply. Plagiarism is one of the worst forms of Academic Misconduct and is not tolerated at Indiana University Northwest (See the Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities, and Conduct, p. 13, Section G, Item 3: 

 Plagiarism is defined as presenting someone else’s work, including the work of other students, as one’s own. Any ideas or materials taken from another source for either written or oral use must be fully acknowledged, unless the information is common knowledge. What is considered “common knowledge” may differ from course to course.

    1. A student must not adopt or reproduce ideas, opinions, theories, formulas, graphics, or pictures of another person without acknowledgment.
    2. A student must give credit to the originality of others and acknowledge indebtedness whenever:
      1. directly quoting another person’s actual words, whether oral or written;
      2. using another person’s ideas, opinions, or theories;
      3. paraphrasing the words, ideas, opinions, or theories of others, whether oral or written;
      4. borrowing facts, statistics, or illustrative material; or
      5. offering materials assembled or collected by others in the form of projects or collections without acknowledgment

All students in this course are also bound by the College of Health and Human                          

Services Code of Professional Conduct.

Right to Accommodation for Individuals with Disabilities

Indiana University is committed to creating a learning environment and academic community that promotes educational opportunities for all individuals, including those with disabilities. Course directors are asked to make reasonable accommodations, upon request by the student or the university, for such disabilities. It is the responsibility of students with documented physical or learning disabilities seeking accommodation to notify their course directors and the relevant campus office that deals with such cases in a timely manner concerning the need for such accommodation. Indiana University will make reasonable accommodations for access to programs, services, and facilities as outlined by applicable state and federal laws.

Campus support office:
Jason Griffith, Disabilities Coordinator, Hawthorn 234, 219-980-6943
Student Support Services


All students in this course will have the opportunity to evaluate the course, how it was taught, prepared, structured and delivered. This will be done anonymously and electronically and the instructor will not receive the information until the semester is over and grades are submitted.

Additional Information 


The home page of Oncourse has links, video tutorials and several tips and updates to help you navigate the website. IU has prepared a reference page containing links to information about a variety of resources to help you function successfully in your online Oncourse class.