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NSA, DHS name Tiffin University as National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Staff




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TIFFIN — The National Security Agency (NSA) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have designated Tiffin University as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education (CAE-CDE) through 2025.

Tiffin University’s B.A. in Cyber Security received the designation.

The NSA and DHS jointly sponsor the National Centers of Academic Excellence (CAE) program. The program’s goal is to promote higher education and research in cyber defense to produce professionals with cyber defense expertise.

“Receiving this recognition is a big deal,” said David Selnick, TU Vice Provost and Dean of Criminal Justice and Social Sciences. “The criteria to achieve this designation are extremely high, and only a relatively few institutions across the country are accepted.”

This prestigious title places Tiffin University among a select group of universities that meet the federal government’s criteria for demonstrating a commitment to cyber security education. Currently, there are 10 schools in Ohio with this designation and 300 schools nationwide.

To achieve the CAE-CDE designation, institutions must meet a specific set of academic requirements and programmatic criteria. Schools are awarded based on their robust degree programs and close alignment to specific cyber security-related knowledge units, validated by top subject matter experts in the field.

“This designation acknowledges that Tiffin University’s cyber security program is at the forefront of workplace development for the cyber security field,” said Scott Blough, TU Chief Information Security Officer, Executive Director of the Center for Cyber Defense & Forensics and Associate Professor. “We are proud to be a leader in cyber security education.”

Karen Leuschner, National CAE Program Director, noted in a letter to Tiffin University that education is key to building a highly skilled cyber security workforce. “There is a critical shortage of professionals with cyber security skills, and the solution to defending America’s cyberspace is higher education.”

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts a 31 percent growth rate in the cyber security industry through 2029, highlighting the critical importance of quality higher education.

“The CAE-CDE designation will enhance students’ prospects of landing important government jobs,” said Blough. “Adding this recognition to their personal credentials will put them ahead of other candidates. Employers will be ensured that they studied cyber security concepts and practices advocated by the National Security Agency.”

Tiffin University’s cyber security curriculum provides students a solid background in technology applications, threat assessment and mitigation. Students perform real security vulnerability assessments for businesses, attend professional conferences, participate in hack-a-thons, conduct research and become involved with TU’s Center for Cyber Defense and Forensics. “One of the hallmarks of our program is the senior seminar,” said Blough. “Students participate in a variety of hands-on activities that require network penetration and defense, as well as forensic analysis.”

According to Blough, TU cyber security majors have interned at the FBI, National Security Agency, United States Coast Guard Research & Development Center, Department of Homeland Security, Maritime Security Center, Maritime Transportation System Information Sharing Analysis Center, Arctic Domain Awareness Center in Alaska, Seneca County Drug Task Force, Cooper Tire, First Energy, District Attorney Offices, law enforcement agencies, major healthcare organizations and financial institutions.

“Our program keeps pace with industry demands to prepare students for 21st century jobs,” said Blough. “By the time they graduate, our students have developed the ‘Security Mindset.’”

In addition to the bachelor’s degree in cyber security, Tiffin University offers a minor in cyber security, a bachelor’s degree in digital forensics and a master’s degree in cyber security.

“Your ability to meet the increasing demands of the program criteria will serve the nation well in contributing to the protection of the National Information Infrastructure,” said Leuschner.

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