LLCC awarded $199,999 grant to develop cybersecurity program

The National Science Foundation has awarded an Advanced Technical Education grant of $199,999 to LLCC. The three-year grant begins in June and will support the development of a competency-based certificate program in cybersecurity.

The project is under the direction of Dr. Wendy Howerter, associate vice president of academic innovation and effectiveness, and professors of computer networking Frank Marsaglia and Jeff Mehan.

LLCC is developing the competency-based certificate program in cybersecurity with implementation planned for fall 2018. The new competency-based certificate will provide academic credit based on students’ knowledge and mastery of skills, rather than time spent in the classroom and credit hours earned. In addition, LLCC currently offers instruction in cybersecurity as one of seven tracks leading to an associate of applied science degree in computer information systems.

“As individuals continue to do more and more online and we give up privacy for convenience, we are at greater risk of identity theft and cyberattacks,” said Professor Marsaglia. “The demand for employees trained in cybersecurity is growing quickly. This competency-based program will allow students to potentially earn a certificate and find employment in less time, based on their prior knowledge and abilities.”

“The competency-based program is also an opportunity for those individuals already employed in the field,” said Dr. Howerter. “I believe the flexible format will appeal to working students since the mastery of competencies will be learned and demonstrated in an online and virtual environment. This program will bring the security skills of employees to a level needed to support systems in today’s digital world.”

In 2015, LLCC was one of six colleges and universities nationwide chosen to participate in a competency-based training program called “Jumpstart,” funded by the Lumina Foundation. The college began work on developing a competency-based program in cybersecurity, and the new NSF grant will continue that effort.