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Saturday, September 30, 2023

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SDSU President Adela de la Torre talks with students on campus. She was appointed to serve as a member on the Homeland Security Academic Partnership Council through June 13, 2025. (SDSU) SDSU President Adela de la Torre talks with students on campus. She was appointed to serve as a member on the Homeland Security Academic Partnership Council through June 13, 2025. (SDSU)

SDSU President Appointed to Homeland Security Academic Partnership Council

The council consults on opportunities for grants, scholarship, programs and other initiatives to address threats of violence and terrorism prevention.
By SDSU News Team

Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas has appointed San Diego State University President Adela de la Torre to serve as a member of a national membership-based council that facilitates engagement and cooperation in various areas related to homeland security. 


Mayorkas announced the appointment of 19 others to serve on the 30-person council, broadly representing colleges, universities, the K-12 sector, national education associations and other organizations and entities. 


The Homeland Security Academic Partnership Council is the only advisory committee that exists within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) responsible for providing both advice and recommendations regarding the intersection of education and academia, and the DHS mission.


“Homeland security is paramount in safeguarding our nation and its diverse people from domestic and international threats that pose a risk to our safety, security and overall well-being. The council has an important responsibility in each of these respects, especially as they impact our schools, colleges, and universities,” de la Torre said. “At SDSU, with our long-standing homeland security program, and our new School of Cybersecurity–we have much to contribute and to collaborate around as part of this new initiative.”


The appointment term is through June 13, 2025. Other newly appointed members include Elisa Villanueva Beard, CEO of Teach for America, who will serve as chair; Walter Bumphus, president and CEO of American Association of Community Colleges, serving as vice chair; Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho; Antonio Flores, the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities president; Honorable Ruby G. Moy, the Asian Pacific Islander American Association of Colleges and Universities president; and Barbara Snyder, the Association of American Universities president. 


“Leaders of our academic institutions and campus life have a great deal to offer in helping us counter the evolving and emerging threats to the homeland,” Mayorkas said in a statement. 


“The Homeland Security Academic Partnership Council’s insights into strategic research, innovation, career development, and partnership opportunities for the Department will support our mission to safeguard the American people, and help our country think through and prepare for whatever threats lie ahead,” Mayorkas also said. “I am grateful to each of the twenty Council members I am appointing today for their willingness to serve, and I look forward to receiving their guidance and recommendations.”


Homeland security challenges include ways to safeguard infrastructure, protecting intellectual property, addressing cybersecurity threats and training the workforce, as a few examples. Council members are charged with providing strategic and actionable recommendations to Mayorkas on campus safety and security, improved coordination, research priorities, hiring, and other issues. 


SDSU is home to the first graduate-level Homeland Security program offered in the nation and, given its strategic efforts, has garnered more nationally competitive grants in recent years, including those with federal agencies. 


“Because SDSU is a border-connected university with its expertise in cybersecurity, critical community infrastructure and homeland security, I am even more honored to represent the university while serving as a member of the council,” de la Torre said. 


In welcoming de la Torre to the Council, Mayorkas said her “experience, expertise and insight will be uniquely helpful to the work of the council which was established to address critical issues at the intersection of education, academia and homeland security.” 


More information on the Homeland Security Academic Partnership Council is available on the Academic Engagement | Homeland Security site.