ODU launches School of Cybersecurity
First U.S. research university to launch cybersecurity school for undergrad, grad degree programs
Old Dominion University on Thursday became the first research university in the country to launch a cybersecurity school offering interdisciplinary degree programs for both undergraduate and graduate students.
The university is expanding its existing Center for Cybersecurity Education and Research (CCSER) into the ODU School of Cybersecurity. The school will operate under ODU’s Office of Academic Affairs and report to Brian Payne, vice provost for academic affairs. Georgia Tech recently opened its school of cybersecurity and privacy, which does not include an undergraduate focus.
“The School of Cybersecurity is a great example of ODU’s commitment to providing educational solutions to address real challenges in our region and the world,” President John R. Broderick said in a statement. “It embraces an interdisciplinary foundation to expand the pipeline for a diverse group of cybersecurity, resilience and engineering professionals who will be responsible for safeguarding our critical infrastructure.”
Cybersecurity jobs are growing faster on average than all other occupations, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and last year California-based tech research firm Cybersecurity Ventures projected that there will be 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs globally by 2021.
“This is the right time and ODU is the right institution to have such a unique school,” Payne said in a statement. “To fully realize the growth of tech talent in Virginia, it is imperative that we have a diverse pool of professionals able to help secure the technology. There are more than 54,000 cybersecurity jobs open in the state. We are preparing our students for these jobs.”
The creation of the new school was largely driven by increased student interest since ODU began offering cybersecurity classes in 2015, according to a university news release.
“We started with 11 students,” CCSER Director Hongyi “Michael” Wu, who will lead the new school, said in a statement. “We now have roughly 800 students, so it made sense to create an academic unit to better support them in an education environment that they can call home.”
The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia has granted approval for ODU to award two cybersecurity degrees: a master of science and a bachelor of science.
“For ODU, this is more than a name change,” Payne said in a statement. “As the demand for cybersecurity education continues to increase, in addition to our ongoing research, we want to expand our focus on students to ensure they have the support they need to pursue these careers that are so critical to our nation’s workforce, particularly its economic and national security.”
Research scientists will be hired using research funding and more than three dozen faculty will be affiliated with the school, which will be located in ODU’s Monarch Hall.