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Clark State Cybersecurity Program Named Center of Academic Excellence

Clark State Cybersecurity Program Named Center of Academic Excellence

October 31, 2016

The Cybersecurity/Information Assurance associate degree program at Clark State Community College has been named a Center of Academic Excellence 2-Year (CAE2Y) education for 2017. The CAE2Y designation is awarded by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) with support from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and CyberWatch. The CAE2Y designation recognizes the quality of Clark State’s Cybersecurity/Information Assurance program. 

“Clark State's Cybersecurity program is cutting edge, but with this designation we receive national recognition for our program,” said Aimee Belanger-Haas, Clark State dean of business and applied technologies. “The selection process is stringent and only allows for schools that truly exemplify cybersecurity excellence to achieve the designation.”

Clark State is one of five schools with this designation in the state of Ohio, and one of only two community colleges.  “We can now provide students with the NSA/DHS approved designation as they leave Clark State to pursue a four-year degree or employment,” said Belanger-Haas.

Prospective schools are designated after meeting stringent CAE criteria and mapping curricula to a core set of cyber defense knowledge units. Schools may also elect to map their curricula to specialized focus areas. CAE2Y institutions receive formal recognition from the U.S. government as well as opportunities for prestige and publicity for their role in securing our nation's information systems.

Belanger-Haas said cyber defense is important to the national security of the United States, as well as business and industry.  The CAE designation is a national designation recognizing the quality of the college's cybersecurity educational practices and curriculum. 

“It indicates that Clark State Community College as an institution is committed and follows cyber security standards,” said Belanger-Haas. “It validates that our Cybersecurity program is rigorous and our students are some of the best in the nation. It will permit our students to get a leg up on other potential candidates for jobs.”

At Clark State cybersecurity is taught throughout the curriculum, not only in information technology, but in other disciplines as well, such as health care and criminal justice. “We also had to identify that the institution is cyber aware and have policies and practices in place,” said Belanger-Haas. “This is not just a certification for our Cybersecurity program; it is an institution-wide designation.”

The CAE2Y designation is awarded to community colleges that have established a high quality cybersecurity program and have mapped their courses to two of the training standards—CNSS 4011 and 4013e—of the Committee on National Security Systems.

“This designation is an incredible honor and a game changer for an already strong Cybersecurity program,” said Clark State President Dr. Jo Alice Blondin. “Additionally, it is a confirmation of Clark State’s strength in cybersecurity. We have excellent faculty, outstanding student internship opportunities and collaborative business and industry partners that all contributed to our success in being named a Cyber Defense Center of Excellence by the National Science Foundation.”    

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