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The Need For ABET Accreditation of Associate’s Cybersecurity Programs

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Conference

2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Workforce Preparation at the Two-year College

Tagged Division

Two-Year College

Page Count

13

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/37879

Download Count

170

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Paper Authors

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Rajendra K. Raj Rochester Institute of Technology (GCCIS) Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0003-2378-1068

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Rajendra K. Raj is a Professor of computer science at the Rochester Institute of Technology. His current research interests cover the nexus between data science and cybersecurity, as applied to a variety of domains including healthcare, finance, and other critical infrastructure sectors. Dr. Raj's other focus is computing education at all levels. He volunteers with ABET's Computing Accreditation Commission (CAC), and is currently serving as an officer on the CAC Executive Committee and as a CSAB/ABET Program Evaluator for computer science, cybersecurity, and information technology. Prior to RIT, he worked at a financial services firm, where he developed and managed leading-edge globally-distributed private cloud infrastructures for a variety of financial applications. He earned his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Washington, Seattle.

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Cara Tang Portland Community College

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Cara Tang is a faculty member and leads the Cybersecurity program in the Computer Information Systems department at Portland Community College (PCC). She also chairs the Association for Computing Machinery Committee for Computing Education in Community Colleges (ACM CCECC), and led the task group that created Cyber2yr2020, curriculum guidelines for two-year cybersecurity programs.

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David Gibson United States Air Force Academy Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-2255-1677

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David Gibson is Professor Emeritus of Computer and Cyber Science at the United States Air Force Academy. During his 34-year career in the U.S. Air Force, he worked in electronic warfare, computer security, space systems, intelligence, and cyber operations. Prior to retiring, he served as Professor and Head of the Department of Computer Science at the Air Force Academy where he led development of the Academy’s cyber education, training, and research programs. He was a member of the ACM’s Joint Taskforce on Cybersecurity Education. Since 2000, he has volunteered as an ABET program evaluator and is currently on the Executive Committee of ABET’s Computing Accreditation Commission. He received his PhD in Computer and Information Science from The Ohio State University.

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Lawrence G. Jones Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology

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Dr. Lawrence G. Jones has broad and deep experience in multi-million-dollar project management and software engineering consulting, public speaking, and technical publication. He has over 30 years’ experience in nonprofit leadership involving accreditation of university STEM programs, performing arts, and software engineering and computer science education. He is currently Chair of the Board of EPIC, a new, "non-stuffy" chamber music program.

Dr. Jones retired in January 2013 as a Distinguished Principal Researcher at the Software Engineering Institute of Carnegie Mellon University. Larry has over 50 years of experience in software development, management, research, and education. He served a career in the US Air Force and is the former Chair of the Computer Science Department at the US Air Force Academy. Larry is a senior member of the IEEE (Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers) and the ACM (Association for Computing Machinery). He is a Fellow of ABET and CSAB. ABET is the recognized authority for accreditation of college programs in engineering, computing, technology and applied science programs. ABET accredits over 4000 programs at over 800 institutions in 32 countries. Over 100,000 students graduate annually from ABET-accredited programs. CSAB is the federation of societies supporting accreditation of undergraduate programs in all aspects computing, software engineering and data science. Larry served as CSAB’s Secretary/Treasurer and was the 2015-16 President of ABET leading over 2000 volunteers. He is the 2018 recipient of ABET’s highest honor, the Linton Grinter Award for Lifetime Contributions.

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Casey W. O'Brien National CyberWatch Center Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0003-3829-1184

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Casey W. O'Brien is the Assistant Director for Cyber Defense Education and Training with the Information Trust Institute in The Grainger College of Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Casey has more than 25 years of large-scale information security and IT engineering, implementation, and management experience in challenging and cutting-edge public and private sector environments.

Casey’s teaching and research interests include: practice-centered education and training solutions that combine accelerated learning programs, validated assessments, instruction, practice labs, and challenge scenarios to improve information security talent management in organizations; rapid deployment of customizable and adaptive curriculum that raises learner capability maturity in foundational security concepts, tactics, techniques, and procedures; and formative credentialing solutions that increase the number of capable professionals.

Casey is the Technical Editor of five textbooks: Ethical Hacking & Systems Defense, Linux Server Fundamentals, Information Security Fundamentals, Introduction to Scripting, and Networking Fundamentals.

Casey earned a B.A. in Psychology from the University of St. Thomas and an M.A. in Psychology from Duquesne University.

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Abstract

Cybersecurity professionals at all levels of preparation are in high demand, with the need still growing rapidly. In response, community colleges have been offering Associate’s programs in cybersecurity for over a decade. The content of such programs has been driven by many factors including the needs of local industry, professional certification requirements for entry-level jobs, and education advancement programs under such organizations as the National Security Agency, the National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST), the National CyberWatch Center, and the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).

A consequence of this diversity of drivers is wide variation in the types of graduates produced, which is not conducive to developing shared expectations, from prospective students to employers. In addition, as a discipline matures, creating standards for educational programs is a professional responsibility of the academic community, as is establishing accreditation criteria to ensure quality is sustained---enter ABET. This paper summarizes the major efforts that led to Associate's degree programs in cybersecurity, along with the motivation to create the first ABET Associate’s Cybersecurity Program Criteria. It discusses the process to develop these cybersecurity criteria, describes the current criteria, and presents the current status of the effort. In essence, this process reflects the maturation of the cybersecurity discipline.

Raj, R. K., & Tang, C., & Gibson, D., & Jones, L. G., & O'Brien, C. W. (2021, July), The Need For ABET Accreditation of Associate’s Cybersecurity Programs Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/37879

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