Liberty University joins network of institutions to bolster nation's cyber defense
Digital and wireless communication is connecting the world like never before, but with it comes increased criminal activity and extreme efforts to keep businesses and individuals safe from attacks. Liberty University will play a critical role in helping Virginia to become a global leader in cybersecurity research, technology development, and the training of cybersecurity professionals through the new Commonwealth Cyber Initiative (CCI).
Liberty was recently designated as a member of one of CCI’s four regional nodes, serving alongside nine other institutions in the Southwest region. Faculty from Liberty’s Center for Cyber Excellence have also been selected to serve on the leadership council for the region. Liberty faculty will work closely with faculty from Virginia Tech, which is serving as the program’s lead for the Southwest node.
CCI aims to unite the best minds in cybersecurity through a network of 320 faculty members across 39 higher education institutions, as well as 65 private companies, four federal partners, and 45 other regional partners. The Commonwealth has committed to invest $20 million annually from 2020 and beyond for this unprecedented collaboration of top researchers, educators, and industry leaders. The network will provide the connective platform necessary for Virginia’s cybersecurity experts to work together to position the state as a leader where cybersecurity meets data analytics, machine learning, and autonomous systems.
For Liberty, the inroads that the initiative will provide in both research and workforce training will have added benefits.
“As Dr. Allen Harper (executive director of the Center for Cyber Excellence) works with his cyber team and our faculty to build these new bridges of relationship and support, our students will gain in profound new ways,” said Dave Brat, dean of Liberty’s School of Business. “Research opportunities will keep Liberty on the cutting edge of technology related to data analytics, artificial intelligence, and engineering projects. This initiative will help the School of Business collaborate with the School of Engineering and ultimately provide valuable skills for our students as they enter the job market.
Additionally, Liberty University is all about the entrepreneurial spirit, and eventually the best applications may find their way to business applications.”
In 2018, Liberty was recognized by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education.
In recent years, Liberty has worked to build its Center for Cyber Excellence and its undergraduate and graduate degree programs in cybersecurity to meet workforce demands. The nation has over 300,000 current job openings in the field, and that staggering number is expected to grow even more, up to 500,000 in the coming years. Liberty’s graduates are consistently proving attractive to employers because of their commitment to operating from a solid ethical foundation — a necessary quality for workers who are entrusted with highly sensitive information.
Read more about Liberty’s role in training cyber warriors in the Liberty Journal.
Visit Liberty.edu/Cyber for information on pursuing a degree in cybersecurity.