RICHMOND, Va. (Oct. 14, 2019) – Virginia Commonwealth University has been designated a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense education by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.
The Centers of Academic Excellence program promotes higher education and expertise in cyber defense to reduce vulnerability in the national information infrastructure. Institutions are designated based on their robust degree programs and close alignment to specific cybersecurity-related knowledge units, validated by top subject matter experts in the field.
“This designation speaks to the vast expertise of the College of Engineering faculty and staff who educate and mentor students and who work tirelessly to ensure students graduate from VCU prepared to enter the workforce and ready to make the world a safer, more secure place through science and practical solutions,” said VCU President Michael Rao, Ph.D.
VCU was recognized as a National Center of Academic Excellence based on the College of Engineering’s Bachelor of Science degree in computer science with a concentration in cybersecurity, which teaches students teaches 22 knowledge units covering 326 topics required for this designation.
The university's Cybersecurity Center was instrumental in securing VCU's designation as a National Center of Academic Excellence. As a regional resource center for cybersecurity throughout Central Virginia, it provides leadership to advance cyber defense education and cybersecurity support throughout the region. Milos Manic, Ph.D., professor of computer science, is the center's director.
“VCU Engineering is dedicated to preparing its students for careers in the 21st century digital economy,” said Barbara D. Boyan, Ph.D., the Alice T. and William H. Goodwin, Jr. Dean of the VCU College of Engineering. “We are grateful to our industry partners for their support in establishing these critical programs to ensure the technology talent needed to address the challenges of the future.”
VCU Department of Computer Science covers all fundamental areas of computer science with a focus on data science and cybersecurity. Undergraduate computer science majors can earn certificates in cybersecurity and/or data science by taking three upper-level technical electives. The department also offers post-baccalaureate certificates in both cybersecurity and data science.
“The designation as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education reflects our commitment to cybersecurity education,” said Krzysztof “Krys” Cios, Ph.D., professor and chair of the VCU Department of Computer Science.
Members of VCU’s computer science faculty have received grants from the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Security Agency and industry for research in different areas of cybersecurity, which provides strong support for the center’s academic programs.