By Lindsey Abernathy
OXFORD, Miss. — For students in the University of Mississippi’s competitive Intelligence and Security Studies minor, activities such as networking with leaders of the intelligence community, participating in professional conferences and assisting local police in active investigations are the norm.
It’s hands-on teaching methods like these that earned ISS and legal studies professor Carl Jensen the International Association for Intelligence Education’s 2012 Outstanding Instructor Award. The award, given to one exceptional educator each year, was presented to Jensen, director of UM’s Center for Intelligence and Security Studies, or CISS, during the organization’s recent international conference in Washington, D.C.
“It is evident that the University of Mississippi would not stand today as an emerging leader in intelligence education without Dr. Jensen,” said Carol Boyd, interim dean of the School of Applied Sciences who helped nominate Jensen. “He gives his entire being to the education of students. He elevates his students to a level of critical thinking that transforms their entire approach to academics. Not only is he an outstanding intelligence instructor, he is an outstanding teacher and mentor.” Retiring from a 22-year-career in the FBI, Jensen joined the university’s faculty in 2007 as an assistant professor of legal studies. He played an integral role in developing CISS and the ISS minor the following year.
CISS retains close ties with intelligence community leaders to ensure that the multidisciplinary ISS minor is up-to-date and relevant.
One educational exercise, the annual Days of Intrigue event, was even requested by the FBI and Defense Intelligence Agency for training purposes. During Days of Intrigue, students investigate and produce intelligence in a highly realistic setting and brief real-world policymakers.
“We do a lot of learning by doing,” Jensen said. “Entry-level professionals need critical thinking skills and the ability to write and brief professionally. The only way, in my opinion, to learn those skills is to have the students actually do it.”
The quality of Jensen’s instruction is also measured by the integration of ISS students into the intelligence community, Boyd said.
The first graduate of the ISS program was hired directly out of college as an intelligence analyst with the FBI, while multiple ISS students have participated in professional conferences such as the DIA-sponsored Five Eyes Analytical Workshop. Students have also assisted the Mississippi Cold Case Unit and helped several police departments with active investigations.
“Dr. Jensen has worked so hard to build this minor and get the best of the best students, faculty, and staff to help CISS succeed,” said senior psychology major Amanda Powers, an ISS minor. “He’s a phenomenal teacher who continues to inspire and encourage his students above and beyond even their own expectations for themselves. Dr. Jensen deserves this award because he is incredible at what he does and he represents the values of the University of Mississippi well.”
Powers, a Nashville native, said that she has had many opportunities as a result of her ISS minor, including her internship this summer at SENTEL, a private company that provides engineering, information technology, intelligence and logistics support to government agencies. She has also traveled to Scotland and England as part of Jensen’s “Special Topics” elective to study futures research and analytics.
In addition, Powers taught her classmates about counterintelligence in the National Security Issues of the 21st Century class, a required course in which students choose national security issues and teach them to the class. They also invite an expert to speak in the classroom, and Powers invited Army National Guard master fitness trainer Staff Sgt. Ken Weichert, a veteran of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Desert Storm.
“I believe Dr. Jensen is an excellent mentor, professor and colleague,” Powers said. “He is always there to help out his students and coworkers whenever they need it. His experiences and networking within the IC also help him develop better classes and training opportunities in order to build his student’s critical skill sets. He deserves this award more than anyone else I know.”
Jensen said he aims to continue his efforts to produce well-rounded graduates.
“I’m very humbled to have been selected for this award, and very honored,” said Jensen. “At the end of the day, I hope ISS makes our students better critical thinkers, people who can relay information and people who feel like they want to make a difference. I would love my students to come out of school being able to think more deeply, express themselves more clearly and have a sense of making a difference in the world.”
For more information about the Intelligence and Security Studies minor, visit http://www.olemiss.edu/ciss/.