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Wednesday, November 29, 2023

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A computer cursor hovers over a security app icon. SDSU is seeking a founding director for its new Cybersecurity Center for Academic Excellence (SDSUCCAE). A computer cursor hovers over a security app icon. SDSU is seeking a founding director for its new Cybersecurity Center for Academic Excellence (SDSUCCAE).

SDSU Seeks Founding Director To Lead New Cybersecurity Center

New role to set vision in university’s push in cybersecurity education and workforce development.
By Mario Sevilla

With a rise in cyber attacks and the growing demand for cybersecurity professionals, San Diego State University is seeking a founding faculty director to lead the university’s new Cybersecurity Center for Academic Excellence (SDSUCCAE).


The new center will offer cybersecurity workforce development and research on topics including offensive and defensive cyber operations, digital privacy, and secure software design. The founding director will appoint the center’s first cohort of faculty and an executive director with an expected grand opening fall 2023.


"Cybersecurity is a dynamic academic field that combines computer hardware, expert technical skills, and diverse policy and compliance considerations," said Jerry Sheehan, SDSU vice president for information technology. “SDSU's Founding Director will help spark research discoveries while working with our faculty to prepare our students for careers in helping defend America against criminal and nation-state actors.”


The SDSUCCAE will be a critical component in SDSU’s strategy to be proactive in cybersecurity training and education. Cyber threat intelligence from Check Point Research reported in July 2022 that the education/research sector experienced more than double the number of average weekly cyberattacks than other industries. 


"This sector had an average of almost 2,000 attacks per organization every week (a 6% increase compared to July last year and 114% increase compared to July two years ago)," Check Point reported. "Such attacks can have devastating consequences like the case of Lincoln College, which after suffering a ransomware attack was the final straw that contributed to their decision to shut down on May 13, 2022, after 157 years."


SDSU has integrated cybersecurity as a core competency in many technology-based programs across the curriculum. The university also offers a suite of certificates and industry mentorship through its Cyber Tech Academy in which cybersecurity is one of the leading issues addressed. Certificate programs are available for artificial intelligence, health care and ethical hacking.


SDSU’s Graduate Program in Homeland Security, the first graduate-level Homeland Security program offered in the United States, offers courses including Cyber Warfare & Cyber Terrorism which studies cyber-attack, cyber-defense, and cyber-policy where students learn to discern probable threats.


Further, the Informational Technology Division consistently holds educational campaigns to make sure students, faculty and staff have the tools and resources to spot scams, report them and stay safe while engaging online. While SDSU focuses on cybersecurity all year round, October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month and is a nationwide awareness campaign. This year at SDSU, the effort is focused on cybersecurity being a shared responsibility with an emphasis on personal accountability and being proactive. 


Also available is the Master of Science in Cybersecurity Management (MSCM) degree and Advanced Certificate in Cybersecurity Management from Management Information Systems (MIS), which train business professionals with the current knowledge and technical skills needed to develop organizational cybersecurity plans and risk management strategies. 


And in support of more expanded training and education, SDSU also offers a Cybersecurity Bootcamp, a 400-hour training session of in-depth instruction led by cybersecurity experts. The bootcamp provides trainees with the skills and knowledge necessary to go from beginner to professional in the field in less than a year.


The SDSUCCAE’s founding director will be responsible for building an interdisciplinary research program from existing faculty expertise in SDSU departments and programs to develop a robust and resilient, externally funded research program that also delivers leading-edge workforce development opportunities for students in Southern California.


Applications for the position must be submitted by March 1, 2023