A Department of Homeland Security Emeritus Center of Excellence led by the University of Maryland

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Guarrieri, Boyd and Koven tapped to lead education and training efforts


Guarrieri, Boyd and Koven tapped to lead education and training efforts

April 22, 2019Jessica Rivinius

This month, a new team took the helm of the center’s undergraduate education, graduate education and professional training programs. START has named Dr. Thomas Guarrieri the director of undergraduate programs; Dr. Marcus Boyd the director of graduate studies; and Dr. Barnett Koven the director of training. Liberty Day, assistant director of education and training, will continue to serve as the centerpiece of START’s education and training efforts, providing guidance and program management for the education and training team.

Director of Undergraduate Programs

Guarrieri, an assistant research scientist with the START’s Unconventional Weapons and Technology Division, will oversee curriculum development for undergraduate classes with an eye toward expanding programming and course offerings. He will teach courses and support START instructors and students. Guarrieri has a number of years of experience as an instructor including his time at the University of Missouri where he designed and taught undergraduate courses on terrorism, foreign policy and international relations. He won the 2017 Missouri Excellence in Political Science Teaching Award.

“My teaching philosophy rests on four primary pillars: help students develop an aptitude for critical thinking, teach students marketable career skills, instill in students an appreciation for the science of terrorism studies and foster an inclusive learning environment,” Guarrieri said.

In addition to teaching START’s Global Terrorism Minor, Guarrieri has mentored student interns working on various research efforts.  Guarrieri serves as principal investigator on START’s DARPA SIGMA+ Project, Cargo Aviation Insider Threat Assessment Tool, and PASCC’s Illicit Networks and the Nuclear Fuel Cycle in Southeast Asia Project.

 “Tom approaches teaching with the same energy that he approaches his research with,” said William Braniff, START’s director. “But he couples that energy with a thoughtfulness about the student experience that will benefit our undergraduates in profound ways beyond merely being excited about their coursework.”

Guarrieri’s current research focuses on the intersection of adversary behavior and CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear) threats, with a specific focus on radicalization and lone actor extremism. He earned his bachelor’s degree in political science and philosophy from Rutgers University, and his doctorate from the University of Missouri, where he won a Gamma Alpha Gamma Dissertation Year Fellowship, an Empirical Implications of Theoretical Models Certification scholarship, the David M. Wood Excellence in Political Science Research Award and the Jeffrey D. Byrne Scholarship.

Director of Graduate Studies

Boyd, assistant research scientist and director of START’s Geospatial Research Unit, will oversee curriculum development for the center’s existing graduate education programs and create new programs. He will work with leaders in the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences and across campus to expand START’s graduate programs, including a potential master’s degree program. Boyd will continue to teach in START’s Graduate Certificate in Terrorism Analysis program, and will identify and support the program’s instructors.

“I am excited to bring together students from diverse backgrounds – novices, practitioners, analysts, and others – to build cohorts of students who will come out of our program with a new understanding of how to conduct critical analysis of terrorism, intelligence, and security issues,” Boyd said.

Boyd began his career as an analyst in the intelligence and defense communities, supporting various agencies of the U.S. Government. Since joining START in 2014, Boyd has served as principal investigator on a number of research projects involving geospatial analysis. He has taught courses spanning sociology, terrorism studies, criminology and criminal justice and geography for the university of Maryland and Montgomery College.

“Marcus has a wealth of both teaching and professional experience which make him an ideal candidate to help grow our graduate program,” Day said. “He shares START’s vision for building quality educational opportunities to help graduate students professionalize the skills they need to be competitive in the workforce.”

Boyd holds a doctorate in Earth Systems and Geoinformation Sciences from George Mason University, a master’s degree in philosophy and social policy from the George Washington University and a bachelor’s degree in history from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Director of Training

Koven, senior researcher and head of START’s Political Instability, Counterterrorism and Gray Zone portfolio, will oversee and identify strategic opportunities to grow START’s training program. In addition to serving as a trainer, Koven will provide subject matter expertise for the development of new curricula while supporting existing trainers and identifying new trainers.

Koven routinely serves as a guest instructor for the U.S. Air Force Special Operations School’s (USAFSOS) Contemporrary Irregular Warefare Course. He has also lectured in USAFSOS’ Dynamics of International Terrorism and Interagency Orientation for Special Operations Forces courses. Beyond USAFSOS, he regularly instructs Combating Terrorism Seminars at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Charleston, SC. Koven has also provided lectures for Joint Special Operations University’s Special Operations Forces Interagency Collaboration Course, the Defense Intelligence Agency’s Advanced Counterterrorism Analyst Course and overseas as part of the Diplomatic Security Service’s Anti-terrorism Assistance Program. In addition, Koven has taught at the National Reconnaissance Office as part of the Executive Master of Public Management Program. Moreover, he is also a frequent presenter during the various lecture series and conferences curated by the Strategic Multi-layer Assessment Branch of the DoD, as well as to myriad other U.S. government and university audiences.

“I subscribe to Malcom Knowles’s beliefs that adults need to know the reason behind why they are learning something; adults are most interested in learning subjects with immediate relevance to their work and/or personal lives; and, adult learning is problem-centered rather than content-centered,” Koven said. “Each time I offer a training, I try to understand the practitioner audiences’ jobs and how they might apply the information being conveyed and I do my best to create an interactive classroom setting that emphasizes real-world experiences and applications.”

Koven’s research employs cutting-edge quantitative and qualitative methods to answer pressing defense and homeland security questions. Specifically, he focuses on issues pertaining to counterinsurgency, counterterrorism, countering violent extremism, counter-narcotics, gray zone conflict, security cooperation, organized criminal violence, weapons availability and conflict onset, post-conflict reconstruction, and the material and non-material sources of military power.

“Barnett is sincerely passionate about practitioner education,”said Bill Braniff, START’s director. “He and I share the belief that it is both a privilege and a responsibility for a research institution like ours to get high quality data and analysis into the hands of the men and women who need it most.”

Koven is a Fellow at the Jack D. Gordon Institute for Public Policy at Florida International University, a Professorial Lecturer in Political Science & International Affairs at George Washington University, an Associate Member of the Graduate Faculty and a Lecturer in Public Policy at the University of Maryland, an Adjunct Presenter at the USAFSOS and a Quantitative Social Scientist at Performance Systems, LLC. He is the founder and CEO of BSK Consulting, L.L.C., a boutique consultancy specializing in practitioner education and mixed-methods (quantitative and qualitative) research in support of national security practitioners and policy-makers.

Koven holds a doctorate in Political Science from George Washington University, where he also earned his two master’s degree in Political Science and bachelor’s degree in international affairs and Latin American and hemispheric studies. Koven also holds a Certificate in Conflict Analysis from the United States Institute of Peace and a Certificate in Advanced Security in the Field from the United Nations System Staff College.