The University of North Georgia (UNG) recently earned designation as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense (CAE-CDE).
The designation is from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the National Security Agency (NSA) who jointly sponsor the National Centers of Academic Excellence (CAE) program. Universities are designated based on their robust degree programs and close alignment to specific cybersecurity-related knowledge units, validated by subject matter experts in the field. CAE graduates help protect national security information systems, commercial networks, and critical information infrastructure in the private and public sectors.
In January, UNG launched the Center for Cyber Operations Education to plan, coordinate and support cyber education in the university’s 30-county service region.
“Our institution is well on its way to becoming a national leader in cybersecurity education,” said Dr. Bonita Jacobs, president of UNG. “Being recognized alongside other elite universities heightens our academic reputation and validates that our cyber education initiatives meet the highest national standards.”
According to Karen Leuschner, national CAE program manager with the NSA, UNG’s ability to meet the increasing demands of the program criteria will serve the nation well in contributing to the protection of the National Information Infrastructure.
“Like all nations, the United States has a compelling interest in defending its vital national assets, as well as our core principles and values, and we are committed to defending against those who would attempt to impede our ability to do so,” Leuschner said. “Education is the key to promoting these ideals.”
With the designation, effective through 2021, UNG joins 124 higher education institutions nationwide, including just four others in Georgia: Clark Atlanta, Georgia Tech, Kennesaw State, and Columbus State.
“UNG is uniquely equipped to prepare students for military, federal service and civilian cybersecurity career paths, as the military and private industry are looking for a combination of education and skills in languages, leadership and cyber – and UNG offers a strategic focus on all three,” said Dr. Bryson Payne, director of the Center for Cyber Operations Education. “Our students are completing internships and entering careers in cybersecurity with both private industry and the Department of Defense, and we continue to receive positive feedback about the quality and preparation of our students for these crucial positions in cyber.”
Currently, UNG offers one degree concentration and two minors in information assurance and security (IAS) and cybersecurity. Through the Mike Cottrell College of Business, the Department of Computer Science and Information Systems has offered the concentration in IAS as part of a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science since 2004 and serves as many as 80 students per semester in cybersecurity-related courses.
Because UNG is one of only six senior military colleges in the nation and is designated as The Military College of Georgia. To date, UNG has produced one of just a dozen or so cyber branch second lieutenants in the country.
The state of Georgia is home to more than 115 information security companies generating more than $4.7 billion in annual revenue and Georgia’s Fort Gordon is home to the U.S. Army Cyber Center of Excellence and U.S. Army Cyber School.