James.qxp July August 2018 web - Page 29

ccasionally, in the life of an
institution, there comes a time
when everything aligns with perfect precision. Suddenly a new trajectory is charted and the future
becomes both clear and exhilarating.
We are in that moment at Augusta University.
Of course, while it may seem like luck, it’s never an accident. In our case, our perfect storm of opportunity is the result
of visionary leadership and good old fashioned hard work in the
governor’s office, the Georgia General Assembly, the University
System of Georgia, the federal government, the city of Augusta,
our local and regional business communities and our own university and health system.
Augusta University is already home to the Medical College
of Georgia, the state’s only public medical school, part of the
academic medical center where we train the next generation of
scientists, physicians, dentists, nurses and allied health care
providers and fulfill our unique responsibility to ensure the
health of Georgians no matter where they live.
As one of four research universities in the University
System, AU is already an innovation center for education and
health care, providing access to high-value education and graduating high-impact leaders in STEM, the liberal arts, education
and business.
Now we add to those vital missions a new one: Critical
partner in Georgia’s visionary commitment to become a cybersecurity juggernaut in the state, nation and world.
A significant amount of federal, state, local and private investment, detailed by Sen. Saxby Chambliss on page 37, have poured
into Augusta in recent years— investments that will ultimately
reinvent the city and region as a cyber hub with global reach.
As the digital age explodes, securing data has become a
critical priority for government, national security and business
as well as in our personal lives. Every day we hear reports of
cyber breaches, all showing how woefully unprepared we have
been to provide the necessary security and protection to systems and data upon which the operation of our daily lives and
the security of our world now depend.
We need research into new technologies that not only
resolves existing cybersecurity vulnerabilities but also— perhaps
more importantly— anticipates and averts future ones.
We need tens of thousands of trained IT and computer science professionals and first-rate cyber warriors to comprise a
cybersecurity workforce that is the envy of the world.
We need strong partnerships among government, education
and private sector stakeholders, all working in tandem to
address these critical problems.
Augusta University, recognized by the National Security
Agency and the Department of Homeland Security as a Center
of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense, is proud to take a
leadership role in these efforts, particularly in educating the
workforce of tomorrow and advancing health system and health
information security.
The Augusta University Cyber Institute, launched in 2015,
takes an interdisciplinary approach to cybersecurity research
and education, focusing on building collaborative partnerships
across academia, industry and government to foster innovative
solutions to establish a competent, knowledgeable and experienced cyber workforce.
We launched the School of Computer and Cyber Sciences
in June 2017 and have already celebrated our first graduates.
We are pleased to soon welcome Alexander Schwarzmann, a
nationally-recognized expert in computer technology. He will
be coming to us from the University of Connecticut as the
school’s new dean. We will continue to add in-demand curricula, such as the recently launched Masters of Information
Security Management, Masters of Intelligence and Security
Studies and an IT degree in Cybersecurity, which can be taken
on post at Fort Gordon.
It is our proximity to Fort Gordon, soon to be home of the
U.S. Army Cyber Command and to the new Georgia Cyber
Center on our Riverfront Campus (which houses both the Cyber
Institute and School of Computer and Cyber Sciences) that provides our students with unparalleled opportunities for handson, state-of-the-art educational and research experience.
The federal government’s nearly $2 billion investment in
Fort Gordon coupled with Georgia’s more than $100 million
investment in the Georgia Cyber Center are transforming the
region with facilities and technology at the absolute pinnacle of
the cyber field. Our students, right in the middle of it, are
uniquely positioned to avail themselves of all of the rich educational, research and internship opportunities it provides.
AU’s Cyber Institute and local school systems are also working together to expose our younger students to these exciting
disciplines. The Cyber Institute sponsors K-12 outreach programs to stimulate younger students’ interest in cyber and to
bridge the technology gender gap, including NSA-sponsored
GenCyber Camps and the Girls Who Code club.
In addition, the Cyber Institute is offering cybersecurity
pathway high school students from throughout the Central
Savannah River Area remote access to its cyber range. This provides the development of critical hands-on cybersecurity skills
necessary for success in cyber professions.
The future is now, and Augusta University is at its epicenter.
Visit cyber.augusta.edu to learn more.
Dr. Brooks Keel is the president of Augusta University.
J U LY / A U G U S T 2 0 1 8


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