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Cybersecurity Excellence: UofL’s CIS Program Leads the Way in Training and Research

April 24, 2024
Cybersecurity concept. 3D render

Cybersecurity is a critical subject for today’s workforce and the Computer Information Systems
(CIS) program has been answering the call to produce well-trained cybersecurity graduates for
over 15 years. As the most popular track in the major, our CIS track in Cybersecurity is
designated as a Center of Academic Excellence (CAE) in Cyber Defense by the National Centers of
Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity
(NCAE-C). Institutions that receive this designation have
met the rigorous requirements set forth by the sponsor of the program, the National Security
(NSA). The NSA awards CAE designations to institutions that commit to producing
cybersecurity professionals that will reduce vulnerabilities in our national infrastructure. Our CIS
track was first designated as a CAE in 2006 and is currently in review for redesignation. Recent
data from CyberSeek™ “confirms a persistently tight cybersecurity labor market with a supply-
demand ratio of 69% (69 workers for every 100 job openings). Employers deployed 663,434 job
postings for cybersecurity positions over the past 12 months, building on the growing base of 1.1
million U.S. cybersecurity professionals.” “The growth of job openings and steady increases of
people employed in cybersecurity-related roles is an indication that cybersecurity is becoming
more important and urgent for enterprises as they protect their organizations and consumers
from risks precipitated by the increase in remote workers, supply chain concerns and world
events,” said Rodney Petersen, Director of NICE, which is led by the U.S. Department of
Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology.

In addition to cybersecurity research conducted by CoB faculty such as Dr. Ghiyoung Im, our
faculty have helped lead several federal grants designed to address the needs of the workforce.
In 2020, the NCAE-C funded three certificate-based workforce development pilots (via NCAE-C-
003-2020) to increase the number of qualified cybersecurity professionals entering the
workforce and UofL was one of the institutions selected to lead coalitions to deliver
cybersecurity training. The initial UofL-led coalition focused on cybersecurity in the healthcare
industry and included the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, the University of North Florida,
Bluegrass Community and Technical College, Owensboro Community and Technical College, and
the Kentucky Community and Technical College System, with the City University of Seattle
serving as a coalition liaison. The UofL coalition, led by faculty from the College of Education,
Speed School of Engineering, and our College of Business, including Dr. Im and grant Co-PI, Dr.
Andrew Wright, has received additional grant funding to adapt the original healthcare certificate
program into the logistics and distribution industry. We were also able to expand the initial
coalition to include several Minority Serving Institutions that will participate in Train-The-Trainer
sessions so that they may customize the curriculum and begin delivering the content to their
constituents. To date, our cybersecurity-related federal grants have totaled over $10 million and
are helping prepare the next generation of cyber defenders to protect our communities and
critical infrastructure from cyber-attacks