James July-Aug 2021 web - Flipbook - Page 43
Building secure and dependable
digital systems that the modern
society relies on, and configuring
enterprise digital systems with
cybersecurity in mind, requires
a significant increase in the
number of cybersecurity professionals, computer scientists and information technologists with rigorous training
in cybersecurity. The nation
must also strengthen the
research momentum dedicated
to advancing the state of secure
computing and networking.
Currently there exists a major
shortage in the cybersecurity workforce, with nearly 500,000 jobs open
according to CyberSeek.org. This gap is substantial, especially considering that most of these
jobs require an equivalent of a bachelor’s degree or higher.
Nationally, only about 40,000 degrees in all computing
disciplines at or above bachelor’s are granted annually. The
number of new graduates with rigorous academic training
in cybersecurity is substantially lower.
Recognizing these growing needs,
Augusta University established the
School of Computer and Cyber Sciences four years ago with the vision of being a nationally visible
comprehensive research and
education college in computing disciplines with a focus on
cybersecurity. The school is
growing at an unprecedented
pace, doubling our enrollment
in recent years and more than
doubling the size of our faculty in the last two years.
Today, almost 700 students
are pursuing degree programs
in our five undergraduate majors,
two masters’ programs, and as of the
fall of 2021 in our new research doctoral
program. All of our degree programs include a foundation in cybersecurity, and three of
our bachelors’ programs, BS in Cybersecurity, BS in Cyber
Operations, and BS in Cybersecurity Engineering, have
their focus on specific aspects of cybersecurity.
A CYBERSECURITY LEADER
Our academic programs are receiving national recognition. We are a designated National Center of Academic
Excellence (CAE) in Cyber Defense by the Department
of Homeland Security (DHS) and the National Security
Agency (NSA). Augusta University was the first institution in Georgia to win the highly competitive grant from
the Department of Defense Cyber Scholarship Program
(CySP), and each year since our best students have been
winning these very substantial scholarships, for a total
of over $1.5M in scholarships in the past four years. In
2021 we won a very prestigious grant from the National
Science Foundation (NSF) CyberCorps® Scholarship for
Service (SFS) program in the amount of $3.2M. Only six
NSF SFS grants were awarded nationally this year.
In addition to our academic programs, Augusta
University is also active in outreach to high schools. We
operate the NSA-funded GenCyber camp and Girls Who
Code program for high schoolers in our area. We have also
joined forces with the National Workforce Development
Program, Skills2Work, partnering with the Transition
Assistance Program (TAP) at Fort Gordon. This program
is geared towards veterans and transitioning active-duty
members of the military to receive our Cyber Defender
Certificate and qualify for certifications to prepare them
for a successful cybersecurity career.
The world of computing is changing rapidly and
a faculty of active researchers enables us to make the
needed scientific advances in the field. The work of our
researchers also helps improve and refine our academic
programs to keep pace with the exciting developments
in our increasingly digital society. We will be starting the
coming academic year with 30 faculty, including both
world-class researchers and talented educators. In the
Greater Augusta community, we have unique opportunities to collaborate with our neighbors at Fort Gordon, at
Georgia Cyber Center, and with Savannah River National
Lab in several areas within the field of cybersecurity.
This collaboration critically depends on our faculty being
active in research, and visible nationally and internationally within their research communities.
The cybersecurity challenges that have emerged in
recent years present exciting opportunities for research
and education at our universities. Augusta University’s
School of Computer and Cyber Sciences is well underway
to becoming a comprehensive research and education
college in computing disciplines and a national leader in
cybersecurity. Visit us online, and hopefully soon in person, and watch us grow as we continue serving our great
state of Georgia and the nation.
Dr. Alex Schwarzmann is dean of the School of Computer and Cyber
Sciences at Augusta University.
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