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UCM Designated a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense by NSA

By UCM News Bureau, July 18, 2022

UCM CAE-CD DesignationDr. Hyungbae Park and Dr. Belinda Copus from the University of Central Missouri (center) were presented the CAE-CD Designation Certificate by representatives from National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense (CAE-CD) Program Office, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), and FBI, Operational Technology Division.


WARRENSBURG, MO - The University of Central Missouri (UCM) has been designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense (CAE-CD) by the National Security Agency. UCM’s status was recognized at the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) conference in Atlanta, Georgia on June 8, 2022, and is one of only four universities in Missouri to hold the CAE-CD designation.


“At UCM, we are fully committed to meeting the growing demand for cybersecurity professionals in the State of Missouri and our nation,” said Roger Best, UCM President. “Our Center for Cybersecurity brings together disciplines from across the university to promote cybersecurity awareness and best practices, interface with industry partners, and engage our communities. We’ve been blazing a trail in cybersecurity at UCM and are grateful for this designation from the NSA and its reflection on the tremendous work of our faculty and staff.”


The CAE-CD designation is awarded to regionally accredited academic institutions offering cybersecurity degrees and/or certificates at the associates, bachelors, and graduate levels. Programs designated CAE-CD have met the rigorous requirements promulgated by the National Security Agency and have demonstrated that they are committed to producing cybersecurity professionals that will reduce the vulnerabilities in our national infrastructure.


“There is a substantial, unfilled demand for cybersecurity professionals, and our higher-education institutions cannot train professionals quickly enough,” remarked Jeff Robertson, Dean of the College of Health, Science, and Technology. “UCM has responded with programs that bring together top faculty, industry partners, and solid curriculum, and this recognition from the NSA validates our commitment to program quality.”


UCM’s cybersecurity programs were instituted in 2015 (BS) and 2016 (MS). The program curricula provide foundational and hands-on training in technical, systems, human, organizational, and societal aspects of cybersecurity, with courses that cover topics such as cryptography, secure programming, network security, cloud security, web applications security, cyber-physical systems security, information assurance, ethical hacking, usable security, and computer forensics. The curricula are designed according to the National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense (CAE-CDE) Education Program Knowledge Units jointly sponsored by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).


Belinda Copus, the Chair of the Department of Computer Science and Cybersecurity, commented, “Our Bachelor of Science and Master of Science cybersecurity programs are developing professionals who will join the growing cyber workforce in service to our society and all that we value. Students come to UCM for cybersecurity training because they want to be part of the cybersecurity solution, and they want to learn from the best. The CAE-CD designation demonstrates our quality commitment and reaffirms our students’ decision to come to UCM.”


UCM is frequently named among the best universities in the country by U.S. News & World Report and the Princeton Review, with the university’s Computer Networking, Computer Science, Information Technology and Cybersecurity programs consistently recognized as top performers nationwide year-over-year.


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