Leading Institution:
Fordham University

Cybersecurity Education Diversity Initiative (CEDI)

The co-chairs at CEDI understand the difficulty of creating a full-fledged cybersecurity program from scratch at MSIs. Each institution will adopt these courses at different speeds and even programs that are rolled out rapidly might not be quick enough to enroll all interested students before they graduate. The best way to alleviate these concerns is by having subawardees develop credit transfer agreements with their chosen MSIs so students can take courses already taught at the sub-awardee university and graduate from their current institution while achieving a minor or certificate in cybersecurity. There will be no need for significant overhauls in the cybersecurity curriculum at the school, nor any reason to develop new courses—agreeing on a credit-transfer process will easily enhance the cybersecurity education at the MSI. One innovative transfer agreement is seen in Bluegrass Community and Technical College (BCTC), where they will offer college level credit for high school students. Before joining the coalition, BCTC already had a great relationship with two high schools serving a predominantly African America neighborhood in Lexington, KY, and developed a rapport with Kentucky State University, the only MSI in Kentucky. Their credit transfer program will be a three-way agreement between themselves, Kentucky State University, and the high schools. If this is successful, high school students will get an early start on taking cybersecurity classes from the CAE designated Bluegrass Community and Technical College, and after completing a 2-year program there, will move on to earn a bachelor’s degree at Kentucky State University.

CEDI will share existing courses with MSIs rather than developing new ones. Leadership at CEDI will oversee the creation of a Shared Knowledge Center, which will be the major library from which MSIs can pull on the resources produced by the CEDI coalition. This facilitates collaboration from universities around the country and allows MSIs to easily download new courses, video lectures, and labs for their own programs. In addition to creating a CEDI-exclusive shared resource center, the PI will also pull courses from the CLARK library so MSIs can integrate lessons that are created and currently taught at NCAE-C designated universities.

Sharing courses from existing cybersecurity programs is just half of the solution—students at MSIs will need professors with the cybersecurity skills to effectively teach these lessons. This can either be accomplished by creating bootcamps where faculty from MSIs can learn how to implement labs they will teach in courses, or by sending faculty from sub-awardee institutions to MSIs as guest lecturers or online instructors. These two options have unique benefits. By training faculty at MSIs to teach courses, the knowledge gained after the bootcamp is retained and kept inside the MSI for as long as the professor is there. This ensures a long-term impact at that institution.

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Dr. Thaier Hayadneh
Email: thayajneh@fordham.edu