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Saint Louis University Receives $2.5 Million to Educate Next Generation of U.S. Intelligence Officials

by Maggie Rotermund
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Maggie Rotermund
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SLU to Lead Consortium with Harris-Stowe State University, Lincoln University 

ST. LOUIS – A $2.5 million grant from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) will create a new center in Saint Louis University’s School for Professional Studies, dedicated to preparing students for professional positions in the 18 U.S. intelligence agencies.

The grant is the first from the intelligence community to SLU and the largest grant in the School for Professional Studies’ history.

Joe Lyons, Ph.D.
Joe Lyons, Ph.D., director of the Security and Strategic Intelligence program in the School for Professional Studies, will lead the program.

SLU was officially designated a U.S. Intelligence Community Center for Academic Excellence (IC CAE) on Sept. 14, 2022. The designation and grant funding will support the design and development of intelligence-related STEM curricula and programmatic training opportunities to prepare students for careers in the field of intelligence.

IC CAE program was established in 2005 and is a highly competitive program designed to meet the demand for a diverse cadre of professionals to carry out national security priorities and obligations.

The new center will be known as the Midwest-Intelligence Community Center for Academic Excellence (MW-IC CAE). SLU will lead a consortium of universities and colleges to recruit and educate talented, diverse students interested in careers in the intelligence and national security fields.

Joe Lyons, Ph.D., director of the Security and Strategic Intelligence program in the School for Professional Studies, will lead the program. Steven Winton, Ph.D., will serve as a co-investigator at SLU. Gary Higgs, Ph.D., at Harris-Stowe State University and Michael Bardot, Ph.D., at Lincoln University, are co-principal investigators on the grant.

“The goal of the grant is to help educate a diverse intelligence and national security pipeline of future employees,” Lyons said. “There is a need for people with backgrounds in STEM, geospatial, foreign languages as well as cyber-security.”

The Center will allow University faculty, staff, students, and intelligence community members to work collaboratively to create rich, engaged learning and teaching experiences. The leadership team aims to increase student success, build vital IC partnerships, and bring individuals together to become members of an intellectually and demographically diverse, active learning community, preparing them for a career in the IC.

The program is open to all SLU students, as well as students at consortium partner schools Harris Stowe State University and Lincoln University. The grant will fund a variety of initiatives, including on-campus and virtual events, faculty development, scholarships, student travel and study abroad opportunities. An intelligence conference will be held in spring 2023.

Schools in the IC CAE program receive five years of funding for program development along with an option for four additional years of sustainment funding to ensure long-term program viability.

Saint Louis University

Founded in 1818, Saint Louis University is one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious Catholic institutions. Rooted in Jesuit values and its pioneering history as the first university west of the Mississippi River, SLU offers more than 15,200 students a rigorous, transformative education of the whole person. At the core of the University’s diverse community of scholars is SLU’s service-focused mission, which challenges and prepares students to make the world a better, more just place.