The University of South Alabama School of Computing has been designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Systems Security Education by the National Security Agency and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
The Center of Excellence certificate was presented to USA Computer & Information Sciences Dean Dr. Alec Yasinsac and Senior Instructor Angela Clark by National Cybersecurity Coordinator Howard A. Schmidt at the 15th Annual Conference of the Colloquium for Information Systems Security Education at the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Ohio. The prestigious national designation covers the academic years 2011-2016.
“Your 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,” said Richard George, information assurance technical director of the Centers of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education in the letter announcing the designations.
His letter described a “critical shortage of professionals with these skills and highlights the importance of higher education as a solution to defending America’s cyberspace.”
Yasinsac said, “USA has a long-standing reputation for delivering quality education with specializations that provide imminently marketable skills. We are proud to achieve the Center of Academic Excellence distinction that provides opportunities for Alabama and Gulf Coast students to gain skills and jobs that not only offer perpetual, recession-proof employability but that also contribute to our country's national security.
The designation is a tribute to the faculty for their hard work and skill in achieving the academic and technical requirements, Yasinsac said. In addition, he praised USA President Gordon Moulton and USA Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. David Johnson for having the foresight to contribute the resources necessary for the designation.
“We are proud to be a nationally recognized National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Systems Security proudly serving Mobile, the Gulf Coast, Alabama and the entire nation,” Yasinsac said.
Les Barnett, the newly appointed director of the USA Center for Forensics, Information Technology and Security, said, “We see immense opportunity on the horizon for students in our region to attain world-class computing skills that are in high demand both nationally and locally by companies such as SSI Group, CPSI, Televox, ThyssenKrupp, Austal, Airbus, etc. As is our tradition, USA will continue to produce students with skills that allow our community to expand economically through the rapidly growing computing industry.”
Barnett also credited faculty members Bob Sweeney, Angela Clark and Michael Black for their work on the project, as well as the assistance USA received from Ray Vaughn at Mississippi State and from U.S. Department of Defense representatives who assisted with this process, particularly Karen Leuschner, Lynn Hathaway, and April Tinson.
USA School of Computing Associate Dean Dr. Roy Daigle said, “As the first university with ABET Accredited programs in Information Systems, Information Technology, and Computer Science, we have consistently been at the cutting edge of computing education. It is no surprise that we are expanding into this new and exciting field at a time when our nation needs it the most. Our students are already enthusiastic about computing forensics and this designation only builds the excitement.”