Bachelor of Criminal Justice

Homeland Security & Terrorism

Protecting our nation is paramount to our citizens and critical infrastructure. The design of this major is to provide you the opportunity to understand homeland security issues and challenges in the context of an ever-evolving environment. While terrorism is a key emphasis, the program also provides the opportunity to plan for and assess real-world situations from a multi-layered approach of local, state and federal response viewpoint.

Protecting Our Country: This Is As Real As It Gets

The Bachelor of Criminal Justice (BCJ) in Homeland Security & Terrorism major was developed direct response to the real security threats posed by transnational terrorist organizations. Protecting the citizens of our nation is as real as it gets.

The need for college graduates with a grasp of the complexities associated with homeland security and terrorism is clear. This innovative major affords you the chance to hone your professional interests while acquiring traditional skill sets needed to succeed in the 21st century.

TU students have formed a Global Affairs Organization (GAO) to promote interest on campus in national and homeland security issues. The GAO has arranged field trips, created a 9/11 commemoration, hosted an electronic SWAT training, and visited campuses of such national figures as then-CIA Director Porter Goss, former National Counterterrorism Center Chief John Brennan, FBI National Security Chief Willie Hulon and recruiters and other visitors from Washington.

TU Homeland Security and Terrorism Students Will:

  • Learn about homeland security as a profession and academic discipline, to convey the purpose for homeland security, and to present the homeland security enterprise to include structure.
  • Learn about the complexity of terrorism, security and contemporary or emergent threats, challenges and issues.
  • Be able to describe the purpose of domestic and foreign intelligence, and the operability of intelligence in conducting domestic and foreign national security operations.
  • Present and critically assess homeland security problem-solving strategies.

What You Can Expect From Your TU Homeland Security & Terrorism Degree:

  • Graduates will be able to devise problem-solving strategies, using state, local and national instruments of power, for foreign, domestic and natural threats to homeland security.
  • Graduates will apply accepted principles of homeland security by constructing an appropriate security and response plan.
  • Graduates will be able to devise problem-solving strategies, using the instruments of national power, for foreign threats to our national security within the U.S. and abroad.
  • Graduates will develop critical thinking and analytical skills as they apply to research and practical application of criminal justice concepts.
  • Graduates will identify, assess, and prioritize threats, risks and vulnerabilities.
  • Graduates will identify and coordinate resources to combat threats, minimize risks and reduce vulnerabilities.
  • Graduates will be able to communicate within government levels, across government levels and to all sectors.
  • Graduates will understand principles of managing people, financial obligations and projects.
  • Graduates will understand and work within the environment of social, economic, legal, ethical, technological and political interdependencies of homeland security.
  • Graduates will understand public, private, and non-profit institutional roles and responsibilities of homeland security.
  • Graduates will work effectively within and understand dilemmas of collaborative networks.

Ohio Police Officer Training Academy (OPOTA)

To be a sworn police officer in Ohio, you must successfully complete the Ohio Police Officer Training Academy (OPOTA). Tiffin University partners with Terra State Community College to include the cost of the academy in tuition and can be earned in just one semester.

This unique training academy is state mandated for all police officers and covers firearms, legal administration, human relations, traffic, patrol, driving, subject control, investigations, civil disorder, physical conditioning and other aspects of law enforcement. Students apply direct, hands-on practice in the crime lab, firing range and police cruisers. With experienced, certified instructors and hands-on application, our students consistently achieve passing rates on the state-certified exam.

Once graduates of the program earn the certification, they are immediately eligible for full-time employment.


“Tiffin University gave me my best friend and pushed me to my highest potential. The OPOTA program put me ahead in the hiring process and my bachelor’s degree set me apart from other candidates.”

Cassidy Ralph
Hometown: Marion, Ohio
Graduation: Spring, 2019
Major: Bachelor of Criminal Justice in Law Enforcement
Position: Police Officer with the City of Marysville Division of Police

Core Curriculum of the School of Criminal Justice 18 hours

Homeland Security & Terrorism Major 42 hours

ENF154 Homeland Security Overview     3 hours

ENF212 Concepts of Terrorism     3 hours

ENF240 Critical Infrastructure     3 hours

ENF245 Emergency Organization and Management     3 hours

ENF293 Criminology     3 hours

FOR310 Threat Assessment     3 hours

HIS312 History of the Middle East     3 hours

POL151 Introduction to National Security Studies     3 hours

POL225 Introduction to Intelligence Studies     3 hours

POL400 The Constitution, Liberty, and Order     3 hours

PSY101 Introduction to Psychology     3 hours

POL491 Capstone Senior Seminar in Homeland & National Security     3 hours

PSY344 Psychology of Terrorism     3 hours

SOC265 Peace and Social Justice     3 hours

Total     42 hours

Total Bachelor of Criminal Justice hours 121


This is a sample course sequence to illustrate course offerings for this major. Consult the official Academic Bulletin for detailed registration and advising information.

On Campus - Offered in a 15-week semester format with start dates of January and August

Online - Offered in two terms per semester starting in January, March, May, July, August and October

There are no related concentrations available

Homeland Security Overview (ENF154) - The course presents an introduction to the public and private sector dimensions of the theory and practice of homeland security at the national, regional, state and local level. The perspective will include an overview of the administrative, legislative, and operational elements of homeland security programs and processes, including a review of homeland security history, policies and programs. The student will examine, in general, terrorism and the intelligence issues that support homeland security operations.

Concepts of Terrorism (ENF212) - This course provides an introduction into the theories explaining terrorist behavior. It will examine the questions of what constitutes terrorism, terrorist groups and what economic, social, religious and other issues lead to the conduct of groups like al Qaeda. Additionally, students will be required to think critically about how terrorist groups form, what makes them disband and how knowledge is transferred among groups and group members. Further, it will cover the history and development of the term “terrorism” and the development of modern terrorism in practice.

Emergency Organization and Management (ENF245) - Every level of government bears responsibility for emergency response. A systematic analysis of the public agencies and an overview of organizations involved in homeland security will be covered in this course. Topics such as threat assessment, risk analysis, incident management systems, coordinating with supporting agencies, response procedures, the planning function, coordinated government efforts, crime scene operations, prevention strategies, response protocols, evacuation, medical support and conducting an effective follow-up analysis will all be covered. This class will prepare the student with information necessary to respond to terrorist acts.

  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
  • Federal Law Enforcement Officer
  • Local Law Enforcement Officer
  • Office of Inspector General
  • State Law Enforcement Officer
  • U.S. Coast Guard
  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection
  • U.S. Immigration and Naturalization
  • U.S. Secret Service

While it is extremely competitive to obtain such appointments, TU alumni have gone on to careers in these agencies:

  • Department of Homeland Security
  • Law Enforcement
  • Military
  • State Homeland Security

If you want to learn more about our online or on-campus programs for working adults, click here.



Olga Bertlesen, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Global Security and Intelligence

School of Criminal Justice & Social Sciences
Degrees & Certificates
  • Ph.D., University of Nottingham, United Kingdom
  • B.A., Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania
  • M.D./D.D.S., State Medical University, Ukraine

Olga Bertlesen, Ph.D.

Dr. Bertelsen joined Tiffin University in August 2021. Prior to that, she practiced medicine/dental surgery in Ukraine and, after earning her bachelor and doctoral degrees in History with the focus on Soviet/Russian history and intelligence at American and British universities, she conducted research and taught undergraduate and graduate courses on world history, international relations, and security and intelligence studies at Columbia University, the University of Toronto, Harvard University, New York University, the European University Institute (Florence, Italy), and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (Prescott, Arizona). 

With special interests in Ukrainian and Russian history and intelligence, her research focuses on political violence, bioterrorism, covert action, counterintelligence, and U.S. national and global security. Dr. Bertelsen is the author and editor of five books, and a great number of book chapters and articles that explore the issues of genocidal practices, state violence, U.S. national and global security, and Russian covert operations of ideological subversion. Her scholarship is grounded in empirical and archival research that she conducts in the United States and Europe, including the former KGB archives. Her most recent publications examine Russian covert operations in American academia and Russian disinformation campaigns. 

She is a recipient of numerous prestigious national and international awards, and a speaker at various international conferences, forums, and assemblies, including the United Nations. She is a member of several professional associations, and is serving as a reviewer and member of editorial boards of several prestigious scholarly journals, including Nationalities Papers: The Journal of Nationalism and Ethnicity, Harvard Ukrainian Studies, Ideology and Politics Journal, Scripta Historica, and Kyiv-Mohyla Arts and Humanities.

Dr. Bertelsen’s research and publications shaped the vector of her collaborative work with governmental and private intelligence agencies and her consulting activities that mainly focus on the Russian covert action and U.S. national security. She actively engages her students in her research and publication activities, and among her graduate students are individuals whom she helped receive prestigious national and international awards and grants, and who have been employed by the U.S. Department of State and think tanks in the United States, Geneva, Brussels, and Toronto.


Olga Bertlesen, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Global Security and Intelligence
Olga Bertlesen, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Global Security and Intelligence
Kevin Cashen
Kevin Cashen

Kevin Cashen
(419) 448-3322

Assistant Professor, Criminal Justice & Security Studies

NCAA Faculty Athletic Representative

School of Criminal Justice & Social Sciences
Degrees & Certificates
  • B.A., The Ohio State University
  • M.C.J., The University of Alabama
  • M.A., The Naval Postgraduate School

Kevin Cashen

Assistant Professor Kevin Cashen teaches undergraduate and graduate level courses in criminal justice and homeland security and has actively been involved in online learning. Mr. Cashen earned a B.A. in Criminology and Criminal Justice from The Ohio State University, a Master of Criminal Justice from the University of Alabama and a Master of Arts in Security Studies (Homeland Security and Defense) through the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School.

Assistant Professor Cashen started his career in criminal justice as a correctional worker with the Lucas County Department of Work Release in 1983 and retired in August 2009 as the Chief of Police with the Norwalk Police Department. Mr. Cashen held various positions within the Norwalk Police Department to include patrol officer, detective, sergeant, captain, executive officer and chief. Assistant Professor Cashen attended the FBI National Academy and is a Certified Law Enforcement Executive through the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police. Assistant Professor Cashen is a member of various local and state boards and committees.

Kevin Cashen
Assistant Professor, Criminal Justice & Security Studies
Kevin Cashen
Assistant Professor, Criminal Justice & Security Studies
Dr. Lacy Ellis
Dr. Lacy Ellis

Lacy Ellis, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Criminal Justice & Assistant Dean for Criminal Justice

Department Chair, Criminal Justice

School of Criminal Justice & Social Sciences
Degrees & Certificates
  • B.C.J., Tiffin University
  • M.S., Tiffin University
  • Ph.D., in Public Policy and Administration, Walden University

Lacy Ellis, Ph.D.

Dr. Lacy Ellis holds a Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice and a Master's Degree in Criminal Justice from Tiffin University, and a Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration from Walden University focusing her studies on women in law enforcement. Dr. Ellis comes to Tiffin University with previous teaching experience in both online, hybrid, and traditional seated classes.

Before pursuing academics, Dr. Ellis received her OPOTA Certification and served in a variety of positions within the criminal justice community. She started her career as an undercover narcotics agent working cases from street level to deep cover operations. She served as an intelligence specialist, training at the DEA Academy in Quantico, Virginia, receiving the Federal Law Enforcement Analytical Training Certification. She also has experience in death investigation working as an investigator for Wayne County Coroner's Office. Dr. Ellis currently holds her commission with a local Sheriff’s Office. She is an ALICE Certified Instructor and conducts trainings for Active Shooter Response.

Dr. Ellis is a member of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences and the American Society for Public Administration. Her research interests include the psychological effects of law enforcement, gender studies in law enforcement, motherhood and policy, active shooter response, and physical fitness. She lives in Northeast Ohio with her husband Charles, also in law enforcement, and their three children, Hunter, Olivia and Rayne.

Lacy Ellis, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Criminal Justice & Assistant Dean for Criminal Justice
Lacy Ellis, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Criminal Justice & Assistant Dean for Criminal Justice
Pete Piraino
Pete Piraino

Pete Piraino, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Criminal Justice and Security Studies & Interim Dean School of Criminal Justice and Social Sciences

Department Chair Criminal Justice Graduate Programs and Associate Professor of Criminal Justice & Security Studies

School of Criminal Justice & Social Sciences
Degrees & Certificates
  • Ph.D., Public Policy and Administration, Walden University
  • M.A., Governors State University
  • B.S., Western Illinois University

Pete Piraino, Ph.D.

Pete Piraino joined Tiffin University as a full-time Instructor in January, 2012. Professor Piraino teaches undergraduate and graduate level courses in criminal justice and homeland security. Prior to becoming a full-time faculty member, he served at Tiffin as an adjunct instructor for three years.

Professor Piraino recently retired from the United States Secret Service, as Resident Agent in Charge of its Toledo Resident Office, overseeing Secret Service operations for the 21 counties of Northwest Ohio. Throughout his 23-year career with the Secret Service, he served in a variety of protective and investigative assignments that have taken him to over 40 countries on six continents.

Some of his managerial assignments in the Secret Service included positions in the Vice Presidential Protective Division in Washington, D.C. under then Vice President Cheney, as Protective Detail Leader for Mary Cheney, the daughter of the Vice President, and in the Intelligence Division. Professor Piraino also served in the Secret Service's Presidential Protective Division under Presidents Clinton and Bush.

Prior to his 12-year assignment in Washington, D.C., Professor Piraino served as Special Agent in the Chicago Field Office of the Secret Service investigating a variety of federal criminal violations including counterfeit currency, financial fraud, and threats against Secret Service protected persons. While assigned to the Chicago Field Office, he served as a supervisor on a year-long multi-agency undercover task force investigating USDA food stamp fraud throughout the Chicago area.

Prior to joining the Secret Service, Professor Piraino was a Special Agent for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (now the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) investigating arson for profit and federal firearms violations. Prior to that, he was a police officer in suburban Chicago for eight years.

Professor Piraino received a Bachelor of Science degree in Law Enforcement Administration from Western Illinois University, Macomb, Illinois, and a Master of Arts degree in Counseling Psychology from Governors State University, University Park, Illinois. Professor Piraino earned his Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration from Walden University. He is the recipient of numerous awards and citations throughout his 33 years as a sworn law enforcement officer.

Pete Piraino, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Criminal Justice and Security Studies & Interim Dean...
Pete Piraino, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Criminal Justice and Security Studies & Interim Dean School of Criminal Justice and Social Sciences
Craig Stapley
Craig Stapley

Craig Stapley, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Homeland Security and Terrorism

School of Criminal Justice & Social Sciences
Degrees & Certificates
  • Ph.D., in Political Science, University of Oklahoma
  • Master of Public Administration, University of Oklahoma
  • B.A., in Japanese, Brigham Young University

Craig Stapley, Ph.D.

Dr. Stapley has been involved in the field of security studies for over 15 years and in International Relations and Comparative Politics for over 25 years. In that time, he has travelled extensively, spending time in Japan, China, the Soviet Union (in 1989), and Israel. He has also worked in government and casualty insurance fields.

Dr. Stapley received his B.A. in Japanese from Brigham Young University and was working in Oklahoma City when Timothy McVeigh staged the Oklahoma City Terrorist Bombing. Based on that experience and others, he returned to school to pursue graduate work. He completed a Master of Public Administration in 2001 and a Doctorate in Political Science with an emphasis on terrorist targeting from the University of Oklahoma in 2004.

Dr. Stapley taught at the University of Oklahoma from 2001 to 2004 as a Graduate Teaching Associate, teaching independent classes of American Government and International Relations in both traditional and online settings. He then taught at Kansas State University from 2005 to 2016 in traditional, online and video teleconference settings. While at Kansas State, he also directed the graduate program in Security Studies. Also while at Kansas State University, Dr. Stapley guest-lectured and conducted classes at the Army’s Command and General Staff College in Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas. He is currently an Associate Professor at Tiffin University. Dr. Stapley also has an unusual teaching background including teaching English as a Second Language as well as university classes in dance.

Dr. Stapley has presented scholarship at The Army’s School of Advanced Military Studies, and at professions conferences including the International Studies Association, the Peace Science Society, and the Southwest Social Science Association Conference.

His scholarship has appeared in such peer reviewed journals as the Open Journal of Political Science (2014), Journal of Politics (2014), International Interactions (2014), Global Security Studies (2012), and Contemporary Security Policy (2006). He has also contributed to the edited volumes Terrorism’s Unanswered Questions (2008), and The Handbook of Security (2006). Dr. Stapley has also published book reviews in the American Political Science Association Legislative Studies Section (2001).

Dr. Stapley has been a member of the editorial board of the refereed journal Global Security Studies as well as Research Associate at the Consortium for Small Arms Research, and Academic Fellow for the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. He has won and been nominated for University wide awards for teaching and advising.

Craig Stapley, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Homeland Security and Terrorism
Craig Stapley, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Homeland Security and Terrorism


  • I could not have asked for better faculty. I love how small the class sizes are because I really know the majority of my professors pretty well. More importantly, they know me really well and are aware of my future goals and aspirations. I know that I could seek help from any one of my mentors and they would give me the best advice that they had.

    -Beata Krembuszewski '17

    TU helped grow my network and give me experience by meeting students from other cultures and countries, and learning from a range of professors. Anyone who wants to feel connected to their fellow students, to their personable professors, and the community
  • “I was faced with the pressure of being the very first to graduate from college in my immediate family. Not coming from a wealthy or 'well off' background, college was just a very faint thought, even approaching my senior year in high school. I dealt with self-esteem issues throughout my high school career and I found it hard to see myself anywhere than where I was. My perceived challenges were rooted from me and my surrounding circumstances. Here at TU, I was able to overcome my fears and put myself in a position that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise. Becoming a Dragon was the best decision I have ever made.”

    Nellene Arnett
    Class of 2017
    Toledo, Ohio

    Students in game room
  • I knew Tiffin University was the place for me the second I stepped foot on campus. I toured a handful of other universities offering similar programs, but TU was the only school that truly made me feel at home.

    -Caleb Reynolds '15

    TU helped grow my network and give me experience by meeting students from other cultures and countries, and learning from a range of professors. Anyone who wants to feel connected to their fellow students, to their personable professors, and the community
  • “There is always gonna be a little doubt in any person's mind when it comes to new things. But for me, I think proving people, who said I couldn't do it, wrong is my biggest motivation. There's really nothing that seems impossible to me anymore, the world is constantly changing and I feel like I am much more capable of adapting to those changes now compared to when I was walking on to TU's campus for the first time.”

    Alexandra Tozzie
    Class of 2018
    Louisville, Colorado

    Students in game room
  • Omar Alfehri
    "Tiffin is a small and very safe town. It is closely located to three international airports. People who live in this town are very friendly and open-minded to other cultures. As an international student, Tiffin University has been a good decision for me.”

    - Omar Alfehri, Saudi Arabia

    Omar Alfehri

Have a Question?