Universities: Key cogs in the cybersecurity fight

“We realized we can’t just be a starter program, just working with our students and just while they’re with us,” LeClair said. “We had to start engaging in the bigger conversation.”

Dr. John Ebersole, president of Excelsior College, said recent reports discussing how vulnerable many sectors are to cyber threats, and how higher education needs to respond to those threats, have been “sobering.”

The college already had those cybersecurity courses and programs, but Ebersole, too, said the college was not doing enough.

“We knew there was more we could do,” he said. “And our conclusion was that this institute was what we had to do. We shouldn’t just be offering courses, but also acting as a resource.”

The institute has already released a book of essays called “Protecting the Future,” and will offer a massive open online course (MOOC) beginning Jan. 27. It will also focus on public and private partnerships and research.

Teamwork — across sectors, across universities — was a common thread at the event, and was the crux of the launch’s keynote speech delivered by Ernest McDuffie, lead for the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE).

James Jones, an associate professor at George Mason University and the author of a chapter in the instute’s book, said partnerships  and collaboration are critical to cybersecurity.

“Years ago, if you were really involved in cybersecurity, you knew everything there was to know,” Jones said. “Now the subject matter is so complex, and so much more technically detailed, it’s impossible to know everything. There’s plenty of room for everybody.”

Follow Jake New on Twitter at @eCN_Jake.

Latest posts by Jake New (see all)