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Texas A&M Aims One-Two Punch for Cyber Security

The National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense issue several designations to colleges and universities that are doing work to prepare students for careers in cyber defense and perform research. Two of those credentials are specifically for education programs delivered by four year universities, two are for programs offered by two-year colleges, and two are for putting an emphasis on related research.

Texas A&M University has just received a dual recognition for both education and research. The institution earned designations in both the "Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education" and "Cyber Defense Research." Those titles will stay in effect until 2021. The Texas school is only one of 30 universities that have earned both distinctions.

The determinations are made by two federal bodes, the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security, which sponsor the program. The education title means that a school has mapped curricula to a core set of cyber defense learning standards. It comes with no monetary rewards, although institutions may be invited to participate in special education opportunities related to cyber defense.

The research designation is intended to recognize schools that integrate cyber defense research into their curriculum and the classroom setting. They also serve as sources for academic-government researcher exchanges and are open to working on specific research projects with federal agencies.

A&M, for example, runs the Cybersecurity Center, in operation since the early 1990s. During those early days, the center developed and deployed a suite of security tools that included an early firewall and intrusion detection system. More recently, the center has taken on research in the "human dimensions of cybersecurity," "malware analysis," and "cryptography and information theory."

"This helps to put the technology management program on the map as a singularly vital contributor to the cyber education and initiatives at Texas A&M," said Trez Jones, clinical assistant professor who also works at the Cybersecurity Center. "We have the only undergraduate cybersecurity course that's offered at the university. It's coupled with digital ethics and that course helped make this whole thing possible."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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