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Interest grows in Catholic college intelligence program. (Nation).

Following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States, interest in Robert Heibel's brainchild has increased dramatically.

Heibel, former deputy chief of counter-terrorism for the FBI, developed the Research/Intelligence Analyst Program at Mercyhurst College, Erie, Pa., the only four-year, private preprofessional training program for intelligence and research analysts in the world.

Now, people are taking notice. Student interest has increased, and some schools have shown interest in adopting the program.

"It makes me feel good and very positive," Heibel told the Lake Shore Visitor, newspaper of the Erie diocese. "I've been able to take an idea through the entire process to fruition, and you don't often get that chance.

"We've become a model for other colleges and universities throughout the world," he said, "and the most satisfying thing is to be able to open the doors for these students to go out into the world and do this kind of work.

Through the program, students gain a number of skills, Heibel said, including reading competency in a foreign language; a broad understanding of world and American history; knowledge of comparative governments and political philosophies; and the ability to produce research- and analysis-based written and oral reports and assessments.

Students are required to take part in an internship. Heibel said that some elect to do as many as three internships, which often involve work as counterterrorism analysts.

In the program this year there are 120 students from 12 states and two countries.
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Title Annotation:Mercyhurst College, Erie, Pennsylvania
Author:Donova, Gill
Publication:National Catholic Reporter
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 26, 2001
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