A Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence led by the University of Maryland

A consortium of researchers dedicated to improving the understanding of the human causes and consequences of terrorism

Co-taught course brings new potential for Grad students


Co-taught course brings new potential for Grad students

December 5, 2016Brooke Blankenship

To further student engagement and course innovation, START’s Graduate Certificate in Terrorism Analysis will feature its first co-taught course this spring. Dr. Michael Jensen and Dr. Omi Hodwitz will draw on their varied academic backgrounds – political science and criminology, respectively – for “Research Methods in Terrorism and Counterterrorism.”

“Most often, research methods are taught by professors who have a broad knowledge of multiple methodological styles, but specialize in one approach,” Jensen said. “Students in this class will have the opportunity to learn from two instructors who each specialize in different methodologies, but share a common focus on the study of terrorism. This should provide students with a unique opportunity to see how different methods can be used to analyze separate aspects of the same research problem.”

In terms of pedagogy, Hodwitz explained that the course uses an innovative online format to teach students about research methods and data analysis as they relate to the study of terrorism. Jensen and Hodwitz are firm believers that best way for anyone to absorb new knowledge is to be an active participant in the learning process. They said the program’s online platform can facilitate that, allowing for course discussions, critical analyses and dialogue with the professors to continue outside of the weekly meeting times. Additionally the program’s student-driven discussions and lively debates give students the opportunity to apply a diverse set of methodological tools to real-world challenges.

Jensen is an Assistant Research Scientist at START where he acts the data collection manager for the Global Terrorism Database (GTD) and the principal investigator for the Profiles of Individual Radicalization in the United States (PIRUS) project. Dr. Jensen teaches classes on terrorism, counterterrorism, intelligence, and international relations theory, and his research focuses on the use of qualitative methods to address the complex nature of radicalization, disengagement, and terrorism. 

Hodwitz is an Assistant Research Scientist at START where she is the manager of the general team for the Global Terrorism Database (GTD). She is also a lecturer with the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Maryland, where she teaches courses on theory and research methods. Her research interests include community violence, terrorism and tactics, theoretical applications, and quantitative methodology, and she has published a number of articles on these subjects in peer-reviewed journalsas well as several chapters in edited volumes.  

Interested students have until Jan. 12 to apply for the spring 2017 semester. Additional details can be found at START’s Graduate Certificate in Terrorism Studies.

For more information on the program, attend a brief virtual information session on Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016 at 6 p.m. EST. RSVP to education@start.umd.edu.

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