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FAMU Designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence
Daniel Wingate (left) and Laurent Gabriel were the first recipients of the Information Assurance Certificate Program.

April 25, 2012

– Florida A&M University (FAMU) has been designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education (CAE-IAE) by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).  This designation covers academic year 2012 through 2017.

“This designation will prepare students at FAMU to contribute to the protection of the National Information Infrastructure,” said Christy Chatmon, an instructor in the Department of Computer and Information Sciences (CIS) who successfully coordinated FAMU’s efforts to be designated as a CAE-IAE.  “President Obama has acknowledged on many occasions that there is a critical shortage of professionals with these skills.”

Chatmon also stated there are other benefits for FAMU by being designated as a CAE-IAE such as the following:
  • It will provide a higher degree of participation in IA by a historically black college and university (HBCU).  Statistics show that minorities are underrepresented. 
  • The designation positions FAMU to compete for funds to financially support students and to expand Information Assurance (IA) research at the University.  Students attending designated schools are eligible to apply for scholarships and grants through the Department of Defense Information Assurance Scholarship Program and the Federal Cyber Service Scholarship for Service Program.
The goal of this program is to reduce vulnerability in the national information infrastructure by promoting higher education and research in Information Assurance Education.  NSA and DHS want to produce a growing number of professionals with IA expertise in various disciplines.

IA is one of the fastest growing areas of information technology.  It addresses concerns ranging from individual privacy and information protection in commerce, entertainment and social interaction to national security.  This field has become one of the most popular tracks of study in the Department of CIS at FAMU.  Since CIS launched its IA program in 2004, nearly 70 students have completed the IA certificate program and received professional certificates by the NSA and the Committee for National Security Systems (CNSS).  Numerous CIS graduates who have completed the IA Certificate Program are employed in the intelligence community.

In a letter congratulating FAMU, Neal L. Ziring, information assurance technical director, stated that the Department of CIS’s “ability to meet the increasing demands of the program criteria will serve the nation well in contributing to the protection of the National Information Infrastructure.”  In addition, one reviewer remarked that FAMU’s submission, “demonstrated ongoing outreach, an excellent range of Information Assurance research topics and solid IA courses.”  FAMU was also recognized for submitting an “exemplary application.”

Other faculty members in the Department of CIS that worked with Chatmon were Edward Jones, professor and chair, Hongmei Chi, assistant professor and Deidre Evans, associate professor.  They will be in attendance for the formal announcement on June 11, 2012 in Orlando at the 16th Annual Conference of the Colloquium for Information Systems Security Education.

For more information, contact Chatmon at (850) 412-7353.

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