March 28, 2023

UA Little Rock lands $800,000 grant for cybersecurity schooling

The College of Arkansas at Little Rock acquired an almost $800,000 grant from the Nationwide Safety Company (NSA) to develop a nationwide cybersecurity schooling program for academics, in addition to develop a standardized curriculum to construct pathways for cybersecurity schooling between excessive colleges and schools.

By way of the grant from the NSA Nationwide Facilities of Educational Excellence in Cybersecurity, “Cyber 1 Inauguration,” UA Little Rock, because the lead establishment, will assist develop the Nationwide Cybersecurity Educating Academy (NCTA), create a free cybersecurity schooling course for academics, and replace pointers used to accredit school cybersecurity packages.

“NCTA is an integral part of UA Little Rock’s evolving ecosystem for cybersecurity schooling,” mentioned Dr. Albert Baker, chair of the Division of Pc Science. “By offering Arkansas highschool academics with the experience {and professional} credit to permit them to show programs within the Arkansas Division of Training cybersecurity pathways, the Division of Pc Science is making ready the upcoming technology of scholars to pursue larger schooling in cybersecurity and launch profitable careers on this burgeoning area. UA Little Rock is main, with cooperation from quite a few companions, within the growth of cybersecurity packages and curricula in Arkansas larger schooling.”

UA Little will work with tutorial companions DePaul College and the College of Louisville in addition to Darkish Enterprises, a women-led nonprofit devoted to advancing cybersecurity schooling. Dr. Philip Huff, assistant professor of cybersecurity, and Sandra Leiterman, managing director of the Cyber Area, will function principal investigators.

The NCTA was established in 2021 with a grant from the NSA Nationwide Facilities of Educational Excellence in Cybersecurity. The NCTA is a collaboration of 10 establishments in 9 states that supply the primary credentialing program for highschool cybersecurity schooling within the nation. UA Little Rock is considered one of solely three universities within the nation who supply the NCTA Educating Cybersecurity Graduate Certificates, together with the College of Louisville and DePaul College.

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The Educating Cybersecurity Graduate Certificates prepares highschool academics to supply superior placement programs in cybersecurity. Lecturers obtain instruction in a nationally acknowledged cybersecurity curriculum and foundational cybersecurity ideas.

The grant will permit the NCTA to offer a number of choices of its gateway course, Educating Cybersecurity, for gratis to certified candidates. Lecturers will have the ability to take the free course for skilled growth credit score. They may also have the choice to finish a certification examination for switch credit score to any NCTA establishment in the event that they later determine to finish the graduate certificates program. Moreover, the NCTA will develop its 12-hour graduate certificates to 18 hours to satisfy state necessities that permit educators to show concurrent credit score programs in highschool.

As well as, UA Little Rock and its companions will work with the Affiliation for Computing Equipment (ACM) to launch a joint job pressure that may challenge an interim replace to the Cyber Safety Training Consortium (CSEC) pointers. These pointers are used to accredit undergraduate cybersecurity packages via ABET, a non-governmental group that accredits post-secondary teaching programs in utilized and pure science, computing, engineering, and engineering know-how.

They may also work to have the introductory Excessive Faculty Cybersecurity Curriculum Tips formally acknowledged by state educators, which can create a standardized curriculum and pathway between highschool and school cybersecurity schooling programs.

The grant goals to fill the workforce hole of certified cybersecurity professionals which might be wanted to fill tons of of 1000’s of jobs throughout the nation.

“When the NCTA began, the state of Arkansas supplied scholarships for 60 academics to earn the Educating Cybersecurity Graduate Certificates. That is actually unprecedented throughout the nation,” Huff mentioned. “By standardizing the NCTA, we make it straightforward for different states to develop the identical profitable mannequin that Arkansas has created. This ensures that extra states can take the identical path to educating cybersecurity academics and having extra college students popping out of highschool with cybersecurity credit score who’re able to enter a cybersecurity diploma or workforce growth program.”

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The preliminary two-year grant comes with an possibility for a 3rd yr with an extra practically $400,000 in funding, which might deliver the whole grant quantity to almost $1.2 million.