Southern Utah University designated as National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense

Stock photo courtesy of Southern Utah University, St. George News / Cedar City News

CEDAR CITY — The National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security have designated Southern Utah University as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education. SUU is the only public university in Utah to receive this designation.

In a press release from SUU, the director of the Cyber Security and Information Assurance Graduate Program and professor of information systems, Dr. Dezhi Wu, said the designation represents a “rigorous national standard for our high-quality cybersecurity degree programs on campus.”

He said:

It promotes excellence in our academic programs, new research and funding opportunities in cyber defense for our faculty and students, new collaboration opportunities with other universities & industry partners, and our outreach opportunities to the community. It also certifies us to produce professionals with cyber defense expertise for the nation.

According to the notification from the NSA and DHS, “[SUU’s] ability to meet the increasing demands of the program criteria will serve the nation well in contributing to the protection of the National Information Infrastructure… Like all nations, the United States has a compelling interest in defending its vital national assets, as well as our core principles and values, and we are committed to defending against those who would attempt to impede our ability to do so. Education is the key to promoting these ideals.”

SUU has become a national leader in cyber security education in recent years, the press release stated. The university offers strong undergraduate programs in computer science and information systems, with options to specialize in cyber security. SUU also has a Masters of Science in Cyber Security & Information Assurance program which focuses on the design and management of systems tasked with defending networks from external threats, such as terrorism.

“We see a lot of news about cyber security and a growing gap in the workforce, meaning there are a lot more jobs out there than we have qualified individuals to fill,” said Dr. Rob Robertson, Computer Science and Information Systems department chair. “This designation puts us into a National Community that is dedicated to improving the cybersecurity skills of professionals entering the industry. It is a great community to belong to, and will open many doors for the University and our students.”

National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education certificates were presented during a designation ceremony at the National Cyber Summit June 5-7, 2018, in Huntsville, Alabama.

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