By Russ Nelson
The College of Business (COB) and the Center for Cybersecurity Research and Education (CCRE) at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), have announced the National Security Agency (NSA) and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) have re-designated UAH as a National Center of Academic Excellence (CAE) in Cyber Defense (CAE-CD).
UAH, a part of The University of Alabama System, is also a National Center of Academic Excellence in Research (CAE-R). Only 48 schools in the United States hold both the CAE-CD and CAE-R designations.
The CAE-CD designation process requires a review of two elements: a cybersecurity program of study and an established center for cybersecurity at the university. The UAH COB and the CCRE worked jointly to complete the designation process, led by Dr. Tommy Morris, the founding director of the UAH CCRE. UAH was originally designated in 2007 and has remained continuously designated since then. This is the university’s second renewal.
The validation process included a review of the master’s in Cybersecurity degree program’s Management Track. Dr. Fan Tseng and Dr. Jae Park in the UAH College of Business helped work on the submission of information to support the re-affirmation as well.
“The National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense designation is a symbol of quality that tells students and employers that UAH cybersecurity degrees are mapped to knowledge units based on national standards, that the university implements a continuous improvement process to manage degree programs and that UAH contributes to the cybersecurity community locally and nationally,” explains Dr. Morris.
“The CAE-CD designation also makes UAH eligible for many grant programs, including the National Science Foundation CyberCorps: Scholarship for Service (SFS) and the Department of Defense Cybersecurity Scholarship Program (DoD CySP),” he notes. “UAH students benefit greatly from this designation. Every year we offer 10-15 scholarships directly tied to this designation.”
The CAE-CD program is managed by NSA’s National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity Program Office. Federal partners include CISA, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)/National Initiative on Cybersecurity Education (NICE), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department of Defense Office of the Chief Information Officer (DoD-CIO) and U.S. Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM).
The program aims to create and manage a collaborative cybersecurity educational program with community colleges, colleges and universities. The goal of the initiative is to establish standards for cybersecurity curriculum and academic excellence, including competency development among students and faculty; community outreach and leadership in professional development; integrating cybersecurity practice within the institution across academic disciplines and actively engaging in solutions to challenges facing cybersecurity education.