Ferris State University’s Information Security and Intelligence program can add the title “Center of Excellence” to its credentials.
The ISI program’s courseware was certified by the National Information Assurance Education and Training Program of the National Security Agency after Ferris successfully mapped to meet all six national standards as established by the Committee on National Security Systems. As a result, the university was notified this spring that its ISI program officially earned certification as a Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance.
Greg Gogolin, an ISI professor in Ferris’ College of Business, emphasized that the significance of this certification of the university’s program, which first established an ISI Bachelor of Science degree and enrolled students in 2007, cannot be understated.
“The National Security Agency is the premier security authority in the world,” he said. “For Ferris to receive designation as a Center of Academic Excellence is a necessary requirement to qualify for grants and scholarships.”
The scholarship opportunities, as noted by Gogolin, are part of this national certification.
“Students can apply for up to $12,000 in scholarships from the NSA through Ferris,” he said. “It also provides a benchmark as to the level of quality of education we’re providing here at Ferris.”
Gogolin, Ferris’ 2010-11 Distinguished Teacher Award recipient, credited the work of fellow ISI faculty member Barbara Ciaramitaro for her leadership throughout the detailed process to attain the certification which he described as the program’s “No. 1 goal.”
Ciaramitaro credited fellow ISI faculty members Doug Blakemore, Jim Jones and Gogolin for their work as part of a collaborative effort. She also noted that the development of courses by Blakemore, Gogolin and Jones was critical to her mapping work which is comprised of submitting courseware information for evaluation.
Ferris’ recognition as a NSA Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance puts the university in a national group of institutions that includes Carnegie Mellon, Johns Hopkins and Georgetown University.
The courses and hands-on technology tools in Ferris’ ISI program were developed in large part to address one of the most significant challenges the United States currently faces: cyber security threats. Gogolin noted that Ferris’ ISI program was “rated as the strongest university information security program in Michigan” and that it was recognized by the Gartner Group, an information technology research and advisory company, as “one of the top 10 information security programs in the country.”
Ferris is one of just eight universities in the U.S. to have achieved certification against all six NSA CNSS standards. The mapping program was established to expand and strengthen the use of national standards of information assurance education and training, according to the NSA website.
“This is the highest certification in the security field that we can attain,” Gogolin said.
Students who major in ISI at Ferris take classes that focus on computer forensics, risk analysis, fraud and data mining, as well as general College of Business classes such as Accounting and Public Relations. ISI majors specialize in one of three areas: Digital Forensics, National Security and Intelligence (Global Information Systems and Data Mining). Students also can develop custom concentrations that suit their interests.
Classes for Ferris’ ISI program are offered at locations in Big Rapids, Grand Rapids, Traverse City and the Saginaw area through partnerships with institutions such as Delta Community College, Grand Rapids Community College and Northwestern Michigan College.
For more information about the ISI program, visit http://www.ferris.edu/cob/isi/ISI_Home.html
For more information on mapping, visit: http://www.nsa.gov/ia/academic_outreach/iace_program/index.shtml