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Sexton named founding dean of School of Computer and Cyber Sciences

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Joanne Sexton, director of the Augusta University Cyber Institute, has been named founding dean of the new School of Computer and Cyber Sciences. The appointment is effective immediately.

For the past 18 years, Sexton has overseen the expansion of the university’s computer science, information technology and cyber programs. Working with university leadership, she helped create the Augusta University Cyber Institute in June 2015, establishing a framework for all things cyber at the university.

“Ms. Sexton has helped make Augusta University known for cyber and has taken our computer science, information technology and cyber curriculum to the next level,” said Gretchen Caughman, executive vice president for academic affairs and provost. “She has done a marvelous job leading the Cyber Institute, and I’m sure she will continue her great work leading the development of the new School of Computer and Cyber Sciences during the next year as we conduct a national search for permanent dean.”

Under Sexton’s leadership, the university’s bachelor’s degree program in computer science has recently been accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET, the recognized accreditor of college and university programs in applied science, computing, engineering and engineering technology. ABET accreditation demonstrates a program’s commitment to providing its students with a quality education.

The Cyber Institute, also under Sexton’s leadership, was recognized in 2016 as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.

Sexton has also been a strong voice for investing in the K-12 pipeline by helping bring youth programs to the university, including the NSA-sponsored GenCyber camps, the Girls Who Code club and BSidesAugusta STEM.

A former information technology expert for the U.S. Navy, Sexton served as the first commanding officer of what is known today as Navy Information Operations Command Georgia. She has more than 20 years of information technology experience in the Navy, spanning hardware maintenance, software development and support, telecommunications services, computer center operations, software quality assurance, space operations management, project management and information security practice.

She holds master’s degrees in computer science and in national and strategic studies. She is a Certified Information Systems Security Professional and has earned Global Information Assurance Certifications in several areas of cyberdefense, including security essentials, incident handling, intrusion analysis and penetration testing.

 As the founding dean for the new School of Computer and Cyber Sciences, Sexton plans to expand the core curriculum in three areas:

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

The new school will be housed in the 168,000-square-foot Hull McKnight Georgia Cyber Innovation and Training Center, which is scheduled to open in the summer 2018.

About the author

Arthur Takahashi

Arthur Takahashi is Digital Media Coordinator at Augusta University. Contact him to schedule an interview on this topic or with one of our experts at 706–446–5128 or atakahashi@augusta.edu.