SUU’s Cyber Defense National Designation Renewed

Published: February 05, 2024 | Read Time: 2 minutes

Cyber security student looking at code on computer

Southern Utah University’s Department of Computer Science & Cybersecurity is honored to once again earn a designation as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense (CAE-CD) by the National Security Administration (NSA) for their Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity degree.

The CAE-CD provides cybersecurity students with several unique opportunities. Students attending a CAE-CD school are eligible to compete at a national level in cyber defense competitions, which foster professional connections and hands-on learning. Last semester, competing students took 3rd overall in the country and 1st place among the defending teams at the national Hack the Building 2.0 competition.

“Through this honor, students can prove that their education in cyber defense is meaningful and that they have learned about the breadth and depth of topics needed to be qualified for employers to keep their computer systems secure,” said Dr. Sagers department chair and associate professor of cybersecurity. “This endorsement proves that SUU once again lives up to its potential as a university that prioritizes student success.”

Another advantage includes access to recruitment scholarships at CAE-CD-designated universities. If acquired, students will be eligible for full-time employment at various (DoD) agencies and facilities. These candidates may also receive compensation for travel expenditures, room, and board for a cyber-related conference.

Dr. Sagers, Dr. Garry Wallace, Dr. Shalini Kesar and Dr. R. Alexander Nichols led the effort to retain CAE-CD endorsement. After a thorough evaluation, the cybersecurity program satisfied the criteria for the distinction.

The rigorous application process assessed the curriculum to ensure that all mandated content is taught and assessed, and the number of graduates and qualified teachers, institutional support, student participation in activities, security policies and protection of data for students and faculty are also evaluated. After the program of study evaluation, the assessment and continuous improvement plans of the degree are examined, as well as the regional accreditation of the University by the Northwest Commission of Colleges and Universities. The recognition proves that SUU continues to live up to its potential.

The university initially earned this distinction in July 2018, making SUU eligible for several grants and faculty training opportunities since that time that directly enhance cybersecurity education. Since adopting cybersecurity as a major in Fall 2021, the program has grown exponentially– with three times as many students as of Spring 2024. Growth rates for the program are projected to continue in coming years, thanks to outreach and involvement at elementary and secondary schools in Cedar City.

As a university that prioritizes innovation, earning this accreditation is reflective of the values of the SUU community and the remarkable members within. Learn more about the programs relating to Computer Science and Cybersecurity at SUU.

Tags: Computer Science College of Engineering and Computational Sciences Cyber Security

Contact Information:

Nikki Koontz