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Cyber program receives national recognition for excellence

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Augusta University has been recognized as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.

“Joining this elite group of four-year colleges and universities strengthens our academic program and validates that our cyber curriculum meets the highest national standards,” said Joanne Sexton, director of the Augusta University Cyber Institute. “Our institution has become a national leader in cybersecurity education.”

“This designation by the NSA and DHS confirms what we have known all along: that Augusta University is and will continue to be a leader in cybersecurity education in the state and nation,” said Georgia Congressman Lynn Westmoreland, chairman of the House Permanent Committee on Intelligence Subcommittee on NSA and Cybersecurity. “With this recognition, Augusta University will play a key role in filling the many unfilled and much needed positions in the cyber defense and security field. I look forward to watching this program continue to excel and the achievements of its graduates in the years to come.”

Augusta University launched the Cyber Institute in June 2015 to coordinate and improve its cyber curriculum. The institute is developing unique programs in three core areas:

• Cyber operations — field that studies the behavior and techniques of cyber criminals;
• Health security — field that develops techniques to safeguard health information in cyberspace;
• Data science — field that analyzes and makes sense of available data.

In April, the university signed a memorandum of understanding with the U.S. Army Cyber Center of Excellence to share resources and help develop a cyber-trained workforce through education, innovation, research and outreach.

“We want to help solve the cyber workforce shortage by heavily investing in cyber education and training our students to become major players in the cybersecurity field,” said Gretchen Caughman, executive vice president for academic affairs and provost. “We want to be strong community partners and help develop a robust local economy as we train the next generation of cyber warriors.”

Additional programs offered through the Cyber Institute include GenCyber camps, funded through a grant from NSA and the National Science Foundation to train high school students in cyber defense, and the annual Cyber Education Summit that brings together hundreds of government, industry and academic leaders to discuss the future of cybersecurity. This is the second year in a row that Augusta University has hosted GenCyber camps, which are free of charge to the students.