The technology management program in the College of Education and Human Development has received another boost from the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security. Texas A&M was recently designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence (CAE) for Cyber Defense both in education and research.
“This helps to put the technology management program on the map as a singularly vital contributor to the cyber education and initiatives at Texas A&M. We have the only undergraduate cybersecurity course that’s offered at the university. It’s coupled with digital ethics and that course helped make this whole thing possible,” explained Dr. Trez Jones, clinical assistant professor who also works half-time at the Cybersecurity Center.
The designations place Texas A&M amid a select group of only 30 universities who have earned both distinctions. The next step is to apply for designation as a CAE in Cyber Operations. If approved, Texas A&M will join the short list of six schools who have earned all three designations.
As stated in the designation letters, Texas A&M’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.”
Texas A&M will now top lists for funding opportunities for which the university would have otherwise been ineligible. Right now, a proposal is being prepared for the National Science Foundation’s “Scholarship for Service” program. If selected, Texas A&M will receive funds for scholarships and stipends for up to 25 undergraduate students over five years to pursue cybersecurity studies.
Texas A&M has been dedicated to the advancement of cyber defense since the 1990’s when the first academic course utilizing an active attack-defense laboratory was created. The university has continued to build a robust body of cybersecurity research under the direction of a strong faculty and has graduated an impressive number of cybersecurity students.
In 2015, the Texas A&M Cybersecurity Center was created. Director Dr. Daniel Ragsdale along with faculty, staff and students in the Cybersecurity Club are working to contribute to the development of a workforce that fully appreciates the increasing cybersecurity threat. These designations, and future funding, will help solidify Texas A&M’s role in cyber defense around the world.