National Security Agency designates ODU as National Center of Academic Excellence in cyber ops

(Southside Daily photo/Courtesy of Old Dominion University)
(Southside Daily photo/Courtesy of Old Dominion University)

NORFOLK — The National Security Agency has designated Old Dominion University a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations Fundamental for 2019-2024.

ODU gained the designation by demonstrating the faculty research grants and publications related to the field of cyber operations and the capability to provide undergraduate curricula that satisfy the necessary academic requirements (100 percent of the mandatory knowledge units and a minimum of 10 of the 17 optional knowledge units).

Specifically cited was ODU’s Bachelor of Science in Cyber Operations.

“It has been a long journey,” said Hongyi “Michael” Wu, Batten Chair of Cybersecurity
and director of the Center for Cybersecurity Education and Research. “The hard, persistent teamwork of the interdisciplinary cyber faculty finally paid off.”

Only 12 bachelor’s programs across the country have this designation, said Brian Payne, vice provost for academic affairs. Of those 12, just one other is a bachelor’s in cybersecurity. The others are bachelor’s in computer science or cyber science.

The only other Virginia institution with a cyber operations designation is Virginia Tech. Its degree is in computer science.

“This means we are the only one in Virginia to have an NSA cyber ops designation specifically in a cybersecurity program,” Payne said.

Payne added that he believes ODU’s program is the only one that is truly interdisciplinary.

“In fact, when meeting with the NSA reviewers, they specifically applauded this aspect of our program,” he said.

ODU will receive its official certificate during an awards ceremony at the Colloquium for Information Systems Security Education on June 11 in Las Vegas.

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John Mangalonzo (john@localvoicemedia.com) is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.