FHSU designated a center of excellence in information assurance, cyber defense

Hammond Hall

by Rachel Rayner
The National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security recently designated Fort Hays State University as a Center for Academic Excellence in Information Assurance and Cyber Defense.

Dr. Melissa Hunsicker Walburn, chair of Informatics, accepted the award at a ceremony held in conjunction with the Colloquium for Information Systems Security Education.

The National Center of Academic Excellence (CAE) designation program promotes higher education programs in information assurance and cyber defense to address the critical shortage of professionals with these skills and highlight the important role of higher education in defending America's cyberspace. FHSU first earned this designation in 2009.

Since that initial designation, some of the existing curricular requirements were expanded, and new criteria or "knowledge units" were added for this accreditation cycle, said Hunsicker Walburn. The current designation continues through academic year 2020.

FHSU is one of less than 50 educational institutions in the country designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence. The designation is awarded only to educational institutions that meet the standards of excellence for cyber security established by the NSA and DHS. The criteria have expanded in scope and increased in number over the past few years as security and technology challenges evolve rapidly.

"Cyber security, cyber defense and information assurance remain among the top challenges facing governmental agencies, national security and private industry," said Hunsicker Walburn. "Addressing the safety and security of our citizens and governmental agencies is an essential goal of these programs."

She said that with an increasingly skilled and adaptable cyber security workforce, businesses and private industries are better equipped to defend against cyber activities that can have considerable economic impact.

"I am proud that our cyber security undergraduate and graduate programs can contribute to answering this need locally, regionally and nationally -- as our programs are available both on campus and online," she said. "This designation is validation that our program remains high quality and nationally competitive."

FHSU's Informatics Department offers both graduate and undergraduate programs in cyber security/information assurance. For more information, visit www.fhsu.edu/informatics.

Back to top