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Ferris first to offer Information Security and Intelligence degree

GRAND RAPIDS – Ferris State University has established the first Bachelor of Science in Information Security and Intelligence degree in the nation. The multidisciplinary degree targets both corporate needs, as well as those of law enforcement, defense and intelligence organizations.

Students will be able to enroll beginning in Fall 2007 for the program being offered at the University’s Grand Rapids campus.

Originating from the work of Dr. Greg Gogolin, a professor of Information Security and Intelligence at Ferris, the degree bridges the gap between the needs of the security, intelligence and law enforcement communities, and the higher education academic programs offered. The degree is made possible through a collaborative effort between Ferris, the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Defense, National Intelligence, security and intelligence organizations, and corporations.

“This degree is an example of the forward-thinking and educational creativity of our faculty,” said Thomas Oldfield, acting vice president for Academic Affairs. “The industry experience they bring to the university allows us to meet the ever-changing needs and expectations of business and industry in the state of Michigan and beyond.”

According to Gogolin, while there is great application of the competencies for degrees offered in law enforcement or defense, the more significant long-term potential may exist in corporations. Corporations own 85 percent of the critical infrastructure in the United States and face many of the same threats from terrorism, gangs and organized crime, he said.

“It is the rise in white collar crime and the need to develop the skills of individuals using information technology to fight these criminals that reflects the need for a program such as this,” said Donald Green, vice chancellor and dean of Ferris-Grand Rapids.

Added Gogolin, “A competency in a field such as Geographic Information Systems can be applied to just about any field. GIS systems can be visualized as layers of data on a map. One layer of data may be something like the addresses of registered sex offenders, while another layer may be information about a school busing route. It would be quickly apparent where the high-risk areas would be on the bus routes.”

The same techniques can be utilized by cities to map out water mains, electric lines and other operational data, Gogolin said. GIS technology can also be used to map out the human body.

As part of the program, students take a series of core courses that include information security, data mining, GIS, visual analysis, computer forensics, risk analysis, competitive theory, and organized crime, gang and terrorist organizations. Students choose a concentration from a variety of areas including digital forensics, national security or intelligence: GIS and data mining. The degree is rounded out with study that includes foreign language, religion, communications, and legal and ethical issues.