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Bellevue University Tops U.S. News Rankings

Faculty Focus Dr. Matthew Crosston

There is nothing covert about Dr. Matthew Crosston's enthusiasm for the International Security and Intelligence program at Bellevue University. Crosston spearheaded the development of both the bachelor's and master's ISIS programs at the University.

Crosston came to Bellevue University with an extensive academic background. He earned his bachelor's degree in Russian Studies from Colgate University, his master's in Transition and Development Studies from the University of London and his Ph.D. in Political Science from Brown University.

After doing some post-doctoral work at the University of Toronto, Crosston taught at Clemson University and the Virginia Military Institute before coming to Bellevue University in January 2010.

"I was deeply intrigued by the commitment Bellevue seemed to show in terms of curriculum innovation, rewarding faculty who truly wish to make a major impact in their field, and being involved with non-traditional students who are truly motivated to obtain a career explicitly connected to their program of study," Crosston said. "Bellevue also offered me a unique opportunity: it is rare for a mid-career scholar to be allowed the chance to create from scratch and oversee the development of a degree program. I could not pass up such a challenge."

The bachelor's program was launched in August of 2010, while the master's program got under way in March of 2011. The bachelor's program currently has close to 150 students, while the master's program has grown to almost 30 students.

"The overall numbers, I believe, only confirm we are headed in the right direction," Crosston said.

When building Bellevue University's ISIS programs, Crosston connected with the agencies that would serve as potential employers for ISIS students and researched other academic programs.

"The biggest challenge in developing ANY program, in my opinion, is doing the preliminary research that allows you to understand how to properly position the program overall, not just within the discipline, but across the country and indeed beyond to the global level. You have to develop a program that speaks a language that people understand, that uses terminology that instantly appeals and is recognizable to potential students and potential employers, BUT is also unique so that it is distinguishable from competitors and rivals," Crosston said. "Ironically, it is that biggest challenge that is also what I enjoyed most about the process. It is about having intellectual and pedagogical ownership over the program, knowing that it is your effort that is ultimately responsible for the program's success or failure."

That innovation has not stopped with the launch of the programs.

"We are in the early stages at the moment, for example, to utilize some truly cutting-edge simulation models that would allow students true opportunities to combine the development of their critical reasoning and analytical skills with the refinement of their public speaking ability," Crosston said. "It's fascinating stuff and I believe it only shows that the future of ISIS at Bellevue is limitless."

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