The National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security have designated the University of West Florida as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education through the academic year 2021-22. A ceremony recognizing this national CAE-CDE designation will be held June 7, 2016, at the Eighth Annual National Cyber Summit in Huntsville, Alabama.
The National Centers of Academic Excellence program seeks to reduce vulnerability in the nation’s information infrastructure by promoting higher education and research in cyber defense and increasing the number of professionals with cyber defense expertise. Students attending nationally designated CAE-CDE schools are eligible to apply for specific federally funded scholarships and grants.
“UWF’s designation by the NSA and DHS as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education is a tremendous accomplishment that recognizes the quality of our programs, faculty and activities,” said Dr. Eman El-Sheikh. El-Sheikh serves as the director of the UWF Center for Cybersecurity, which led the University’s efforts to obtain this prestigious national recognition. “It puts UWF among only five percent of higher education institutions in the nation and among the company of elite institutions in cybersecurity education.”
UWF’s application passed a rigorous review by CAE reviewers that demonstrated the University’s competency and commitment to academic excellence in cyber defense education. As part of the application process, UWF’s bachelor’s degree in computing and information sciences – cybersecurity, launched in 2014, was enhanced to meet CAE curricular criteria set forth by the NSA and DHS. Students who graduate from the program will receive an NSA-DHS National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education annotation on their transcripts.
UWF’s multidisciplinary cybersecurity program options also include several undergraduate and graduate certificates in cybersecurity, intelligence analysis, information security management and geospatial cybersecurity; as well as an online master’s degree in IT – cybersecurity and an MBA emphasis in information security management, both starting in Fall 2016.
“The CAE-CDE designation strengthens our ability to support regional and national cybersecurity workforce needs and prepare graduates to become future leaders in defending our nation’s cyberspace. It also gives potential employers additional confidence when hiring our graduates,” added El-Sheikh. “We are eager to work with regional government, military and industry partners to address the critical shortage of cybersecurity professionals and lead innovative cybersecurity education and research.”