New Approaches to Countering Terror: Countering Violent Extremism

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Overview

The “New Approaches to Countering Terror: Countering Violent Extremism” course offered by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), is a multi-week interactive course designed to help students explore both pragmatic and philosophical challenges that continue to shape the evolution of Countering Violent Extremism (CVE), a global security paradigm. START, a Department of Homeland Security Emeritus Center of Excellence and research, training, and education center housed at the University of Maryland within the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences (BSOS), serves as a leading voice in the national and international dialogue regarding CVE. START’s Director and the course instructor, Bill Braniff, will introduce the concept of CVE and explore the promise of CVE as a more comprehensive and proactive approach to the complex phenomenon of violent extremism.

This 3.5 hour course will take an in-depth look at CVE as a relatively new area of policy and practice. As such, this MOOC can serve as an awareness-raising course, targeting anyone interested in terrorism, community resilience, security, policy and/or civil rights issues. The course is broadly interdisciplinary and has no prerequisites. Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:

1. Differentiate between two ways of addressing violent extremism: counterterrorism (CT) and Countering Violent Extremism (CVE);
2. Explain the CVE spectrum of non-violent approaches to countering terror, including prevention, intervention, and rehabilitation/reintegration programs;
3. Make sound analytical judgments about CVE programs and their potential.

Syllabus

Introduction
-Upon completion of this module, students will be able to describe the purpose of the course and the course structure.

MODULE 1
-Module One will introduce you to the field of CVE. This module will provide you with the basic terminology, foundational academic research, and policy initiatives on CVE. Then, you will hear about academic theories and models addressing why and how individuals radicalize to violence, and researchers will present data examining profiles of individuals who have radicalized to violence, as well as a promising study on how individuals may disengage or deradicalize from violence.

MODULE 2
-Module Two describes the spectrum of CVE activities which include engagement, prevention, intervention, rehabilitation/reintegration and counter-messaging efforts. This module covers some of the controversies surrounding CVE programs, specifically allegations that CVE may stigmatize or marginalize Muslim communities. Module Two also introduces some of the ways that community members and non-law enforcement professionals such as mental health practitioners can engage on CVE.

MODULE 3
-Finally, Module Three is made up of nine teaching cases exploring how different CVE programs are implemented in the United States, in countries around the world, and online. Each case is introduced by a researcher or practitioner, who will highlight the opportunities and challenges of “doing CVE” in the field. Some of these cases address early prevention activities while other cases examine how deradicalization and rehabilitation programs may be implemented after a crime has occurred.