UNH Named Center of Excellence in Cyber Defense Education by NSA, DHS

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

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DURHAM, N.H.—The University of New Hampshire has been designated a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education (CAE-CDE) by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security. UNH is the first institution in the state to earn this prestigious designation, which recognizes the university’s commitment to cybersecurity education. “This designation acknowledges that New Hampshire’s flagship public institution is on the forefront of workforce development for the high-demand cybersecurity field,” said Mike Decelle, dean of UNH Manchester. “UNH is proud to be a leader in cybersecurity education, which is crucial to the future of national security.”

Developing a cybersecurity workforce is an important part of the White House’s national cyber strategy. Karen Leuschner, national CAE program manager for the National Security Agency, noted in the designation award letter that education is key to building a highly skilled cybersecurity workforce. “(UNH’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.”

UNH earned the designation based on its homeland security bachelor’s degree, quality faculty, student activity in cybersecurity competitions and outreach to share cyber defense expertise with other organizations. In addition to homeland security, UNH offers a bachelor’s degree in computer science with a concentration in cybersecurity and master’s degrees in cybersecurity engineering and cybersecurity policy and risk management (CPRM).

To further cultivate future cybersecurity leaders and to more broadly engage relevant communities, UNH created the UNH Center for Cybersecurity Leadership, Education, and Outreach (CCLEO) to focus on cybersecurity education and training as well as external outreach and support to businesses and government agencies in New Hampshire and beyond. Maeve Dion, assistant professor of security studies and coordinator of UNH’s fully online CPRM program, says the center will highlight faculty and student research, offer opportunities for collaboration and provide cybersecurity resources for academia and industry.

“CCLEO will offer resources to manage strategic and mission risks, ensure better resilience, establish comprehensive and efficient policies and design effective systems for responding to cybersecurity incidents,” Dion said.

On the technical side, CCLEO will help engineering and computer science students develop the skills needed to build security into software, devices and networks.

Experiential learning is also incorporated into the programs. James Ramsay, professor of security studies, says students in these programs use capstone projects, course assignments and internships to contribute to the cybersecurity and digital resilience of both private and public sector organizations, which better prepares students to be successful after graduation.

“Graduates of our programs are already uniquely positioned for careers in intelligence, counter-terrorism, law enforcement, risk management, emergency management and cybersecurity,” Ramsay said. “The CAE-CDE designation and the establishment of CCLEO will open even more doors for our students to pursue rewarding careers in the public and private sectors. CCLEO will also enhance UNH’s commitment to the local and state economy and workforce empowerment.”

The University of New Hampshire inspires innovation and transforms lives in our state, nation and world. More than 16,000 students from all 50 states and 71 countries engage with an award-winning faculty in top-ranked programs in business, engineering, law, health and human services, liberal arts and the sciences across more than 200 programs of study. As one of the nation’s highest-performing research universities, UNH partners with NASA, NOAA, NSF and NIH, and receives more than $110 million in competitive external funding every year to further explore and define the frontiers of land, sea and space.