USF plans to launch college focused on artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and computing | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware

By Adam Freeman, University Communications and Marketing

The University of South Florida has announced its intention to create a college focused
on the rapidly evolving fields of artificial intelligence (AI), cybersecurity and
computing, with the goal of positioning the Tampa Bay region and state of Florida
as a national leader. USF is the first university in Florida and among the first in
the nation to announce plans to create a college dedicated to AI and cybersecurity.

The vision for the college would be to offer undergraduate and graduate programs aligned
with USF’s strategic plan and the state’s Programs of Strategic Emphasis to prepare students for high-demand careers, empower faculty to conduct innovative
research that leads to new discoveries or technological advancements, grow industry
partnerships and promote ethical considerations and trust throughout the digital transformation
underway in society.  Research shows that there has been a five-fold increase in the demand for AI skills with jobs
in the U.S., while more than 40% of organizations experiencing a shortage of cybersecurity professionals say they
are unable to find enough qualified talent.

The creation of a new college would leverage USF’s existing strengths and partnerships
in AI, cybersecurity and computing, as well as its location in the Tampa Bay region,
a hub for technology and defense industries.  At USF, there are approximately 200
faculty members currently engaged in research in related disciplines, which are seeing
significant growth in funding awards.  Last year the National Science Foundation reportedly awarded more than $800 million for AI-related research.

“As AI and cybersecurity quickly evolve, the demand for professionals skilled in these
areas continues to grow, along with the need for more research to better understand
how to utilize powerful new technologies in ways that improve our society,” USF President
Rhea Law said.  “Through the expertise of our faculty and our strong partnerships
with the business community, the University of South Florida is strategically positioned
to be a global leader in these fields.”  

The formation of a new college is subject to continued consultation with faculty through
shared governance processes and approval from the USF Board of Trustees. In recent
months, an internal task force has been evaluating USF’s faculty strengths and exploring
opportunities to enhance multidisciplinary collaboration that will help advance USF’s
academic and research excellence in AI, cybersecurity and computing. The addition
of this new college would bring together expertise currently housed across several
different colleges to serve as a complement to USF’s 13 existing colleges, which would
remain operational and continue to be positioned for success.  

“Establishing this college would align with USF’s strategic initiative to enhance
academic and research excellence in key areas of societal need and opportunity,” said
USF Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Prasant Mohapatra. “By
building on our multidisciplinary strengths, such as health, engineering, arts and
humanities, and cybersecurity, we aim to support our strategic goals of advancing
student success, promoting continuous professional growth, fostering industry, government
and community partnerships, and propelling the university towards a top-25 ranking.”

More information is available here.


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