Alamance Community College’s Associate in Applied Science degree in Information Technology-Systems Security (Cybersecurity) has been officially designated a National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense (CAE-CD) program of study.
Educational institutions receive the CAE-CD designation only after meeting a rigorous set of requirements established by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
ACC earned this designation based on its robust degree program and the close alignment of curricula components to specific cybersecurity-related knowledge units. This alignment is validated by top subject matter experts in the cyber field.
To earn the CAE-CD designation, the College was required to demonstrate its commitment to cyber defense excellence through several criteria: submission of actual student labs and projects, evidence of student participation in cyber defense competitions, a demonstration that cybersecurity is a topic woven through the entire institution, the identification of workshops or lectures where the program’s faculty have shared expertise with other organizations, and evidence of industry partnerships that continually strengthen the program.
The overarching goal of the CAE program is to reduce vulnerability in the nation’s national information infrastructure by promoting higher education and expertise in cyber defense (CD). The standards set forth by the NSA/DHS curriculum guidelines ensure that students from CAE institutions, such as ACC, receive a quality and robust cybersecurity education that prepares them for a career in the cyber workforce.
“This was a huge endeavor. The framework established by the NSA and DHS sets a high bar, one that most certainly demonstrates depth and breadth of a program,” said Debra McCusker, an Information Technology instructor at ACC, and who also serves as project manager for the College’s Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense journey.