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A profile of partnership.

HIGHER EDUCATION IS A prerequisite for professionalizing security. Many believe that security officers should have certificates or associate degrees and that supervisors and managers should have bachelor's and master's degrees, respectively.[1]

A recent survey of college and university security programs showed that a growing number of educational institutions are responding to that need within the security industry. The number of schools offering security courses or degree programs has more than doubled in the last decade. [2]

The quality of existing programs can be enhanced by increased association between academicians and practitioners. Close contact between the two groups builds relationships based on mutual trust and understanding of each other's roles in security education.[3] Furthermore, academicians must encourage such relationships so they can develop curricula that best meet the changing needs of security professionals.

One way to both raise the education levels of security professionals and foster closer association between practitioners and academicians is through cooperative education programs.[4] Joint education programs have already been established in other fields.[5] Furthermore, several individuals[6] and at least one union [7] have called for corporate support of higher education for all employees, not only supervisors and managers. One survey revealed that more than 1,200 cooperative education programs exist in the United States today.[8]

Studies show that employee education programs benefit both employees and employers.[9] Based on that belief, Cummins Engine Company Inc. set up a cooperative security education program with Indiana State University (ISU) in February 1989. To date, that venture is considered a success by all involved. The following information about the Cummins program is offered to security practitioners and educators for comparison to existing programs or as a model for designing one.

Cummins's security manager, William A. Roth, learned through contacts at the local ASIS chapter that Indiana State. University offered a certificate program in security and loss prevention at an off-campus site in Indianapolis. When he learned the university was interested in offering courses at the Cummins facilities, Roth surveyed security officers and found that more than a third would enroll in such a program. The program was set up as soon as Roth determined that the courses fit Cummins's tuition reimbursement guidelines.

Initiating the program was relatively easy because Cummins had a long history of supporting continuing education for employees. Recently, for example, satellite connections have been used to offer master's degree programs for those interested and qualified. Before the security education program, however, on-site courses had never been offered at Cummins by a university or college.

Program design. Flexibility and course relevance were the two key concerns in designing the program. They were major considerations in determining the number and type of courses, term length, meeting days and times, and employee reimbursement method. ISU and Cummins agreed that the university's faculty would teach the courses at facilities furnished by Cummins.

The number of courses in the Cummins program matches that for the certificate program offered at other off-campus locations. Officers are required to take six separate courses for a total of 18 credit hours. Officers completing the program receive a certificate in security and loss prevention.

The program includes courses in industrial security, investigations, loss prevention, report writing and interview techniques, criminal behavior and theory, and legal aspects of private security. All courses may be applied to ISU's associate or bachelor's degree in criminology. The courses also meet the university's on-campus standards and therefore are transferable to most other schools.

Employee participation and convenience determined course scheduling. When one third of the security officers enrolled in the first course, the university decided to offer two sections. After some experimentation, maximum participation was achieved by having both sections meet on Monday, one at 8:00 am and the other at 3:00 pm. Those times are convenient for officers from three shifts.

Each section meets three hours per week for 15 weeks, totaling 45 classroom hours for each course. Furthermore, employees can attend either class period, since the same material is covered in both sections. This setup allows flexibility for the company in scheduling shifts and for the officers in planning personal schedules.

This approach has proven successful. More than 25 percent of Cummins's security personnel participate in the program, and more than 70 percent of the officers who began the program in February 1989 are still enrolled more than a year later.

Tuition reimbursement procedures are outlined in Cummins's preexisting guidelines. Officers pay their own tuition and fees for the first course. Cummins fully reimburses all personnel who complete a course with a grade of C or higher. Thus, employees can complete the full program for an initial outlay of the cost of one course.

The only cost to students is for textbooks and class materials; however, Cummins orders the books directly from the publisher and sells them to students at cost. Students recoup their initial tuition payment when they complete a course or the entire certificate program. Another benefit of this method of reimbursement is the incentive for students to do their best in each course, because if they fail to gamer a C or higher, they will lose their money. This method is effective since no one has earned less than a C on any course to date.

Finally, input from Cummins's security managers and the officers enrolled in the program is another key ingredient of the program's success. Instructors make every attempt to relate course material and class examples to security officers' needs. Feedback is obtained through classroom discussions and during informal breaks. Instructors also receive feedback from management before and after each course is completed.

Program benefits. Cummins has always made a concerted effort to maintain employee morale and an attitude of professionalism among security officers. That effort has included increased training, selective hiring standards, and clearly defined responsibilities. One of the most significant benefits of the certificate program is the increased morale of security officers. It has led employees to think of themselves as security professionals rather than guards.

Officers in the program have learned that while training helps one do a job better, education expands the mind. They have learned about security's history and some of the concepts often omitted from routine training programs. They have also passed this information along to their colleagues who were unable or elected not to participate in the program. This has increased the pride all officers take in their contribution to the security department and to the company as a whole.

The Cummins/ISU cooperative security education program has succeeded in many ways. The participating officers have gained increased self-esteem and confidence. Morale has improved throughout the security force. Professionalism and pride in job performance have increased. Furthermore, the security department's image within the organization has improved. Cummins has received an excellent return on its investment in furthering the education of security personnel.

The program's success supports the idea that closer association between academicians and practitioners fosters relationships of mutual trust and understanding. That has certainly been the case with representatives from Cummins and ISU. Weekly contact, both formally in the classroom and informally during breaks, has resulted in a better understanding of each other's roles. The collaboration on this article is proof of the positive relationship that has developed during the past year and a half.

Improved education and training lead to a more professional security force. Increased professionalism in the security industry must include education for security officers as well as supervisors and managers. The Cummins/ ISU experience demonstrates that cooperative education programs work. More of them should be established.

About the Authors . . . Harry L. Marsh, PhD, is an assistant professor of security and criminalistics at Indiana State University. William A. Roth is manager of security at Cummins Engine Company Inc. in Columbus, IN. Both are members of ASIS. [1] Christopher A. Hertig, CPP, "A Solid Foundation in Academia," Security Management, February 1989, p. 88.

[2] Howard W. Timm and Dennis B. Anderson, "A Study of Security," Security Management, December 1989, p. 75.

[3] Hertig, p. 87.

[4] See "Report of the Task Force on Private Security," (Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 1977), p. 267.

[5] Dean Griffin, "Joint Ventures: A New Agenda for Education," Vocational Education Journal, April 1989, p. 24.

[6] Philip J. Harkins and David Giber, "Linking Business and Education Through Training," Training and Development Journal, Volume 43 (10), October 1989, pp. 69-71.

[7] James W. Varty, "Cooperative Education for the '90s and Beyond," Journal of Cooperative Education, Volume XXIV (2-3), Winter-Spring 1988, p. 127.

[8] John Naisbitt and Patricia Aburdene, Reinventing the Corporation (New York: Warner Books Inc., 1985), p. 170.

[9] Naisbitt and Aburdene, pp. 172-3.
COPYRIGHT 1990 American Society for Industrial Security
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Title Annotation:cooperative security education program between Cummins Engine Co. and Indiana State University
Author:Marsh, Harry L.; Roth, William A.
Publication:Security Management
Date:Nov 1, 1990
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