PNW redesignated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense

PNW redesignated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense

Purdue University Northwest (PNW), through its College of Technology, has again earned redesignation as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense (CAE-CD) by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

“This is the third time PNW earned the CAE-CD designation by DHS and NSA, affirming the quality and rigor of our cybersecurity curriculum that meets the national standard,” says Keyuan Jiang, chair of the PNW Computer Information Technology and Graphics department. “We are proud to be a CAE-CD institution producing graduates to meet the growing demand of the cybersecurity workforce.”

The redesignation, valid through 2029, underscores PNW’s sustained commitment to a well-established cybersecurity program and high standards for education, research and future workforce development.

“Our Computer Information Technology program at PNW has a well-designed course curriculum with heavy emphasis on hands-on learning and faculty expertise in cybersecurity,” says Michael Tu, professor of Computer Information Technology and director of the Center for Cybersecurity at PNW. “We are also very active in cybersecurity research, education outreach and community engagement.”

As a CAE-CD designated university, PNW students have the opportunity to compete for prestigious scholarships, conduct research on real-world problems, participate in nationwide competitions and attend dedicated cybersecurity job fairs. This designation ensures the program is endorsed by the NSA and DHS and provides professional development and job placement opportunities for students.

Criteria set by the NSA and DHS for earning redesignation include a well-established and sustaining cybersecurity education degree program, quality curriculum, faculty expertise, hands-on experiences and a well-documented continuous improvement plan and assessment evidences. The criteria have expanded and increased in rigor over time with advancements in the fields of technology and cybersecurity.

PNW offers four-year degree programs in Computer Information Technology and Cybersecurity. The program emphasizes hands-on, application-oriented learning with extensive activities and lab practice. PNW’s Cybersecurity program is one of the first to include courses on artificial intelligence (AI), better preparing students for future workplace demands.

The CAE-CD designation represents the highest standard of university cybersecurity programs and is awarded to regionally accredited academic institutions offering cybersecurity-related degrees or certificates that meet established comprehensive and rigorous criteria. The program’s goal is to promote and support academic programs of higher learning that help produce the nation’s cyber workforce.

PNW’s Center for Cybersecurity, located on the Hammond campus, provides students with state-of-the-art, hands-on learning opportunities. Dedicated to advancing the security of the nation’s critical cyber infrastructures through research, education and outreach, the center’s mission is to improve security and resiliency in cyber systems, develop strategies to mitigate cybersecurity incidents and promote high-quality education for future workforce training.

The curriculum is designed to follow the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers/Association for Computing Machinery (IEEE/ACM) guidelines, mapped to the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) Cybersecurity Workforce Framework and accredited by Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).

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