National Security Agency names CSU a Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense

csu faculty receive NSA designation

CSU faculty members received the NSA designation during a ceremony in September. 

Colorado State University has been named a Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense by the United States National Security Agency. The agency awards such designations to institutions that “commit to producing cybersecurity professionals that will reduce vulnerabilities in our national infrastructure.”

CSU’s designation is awarded through the 2027 academic year and allows the University to compete for grants like the Department of Defense Cybersecurity Scholarship Program and the National Science Foundation’s Scholarship for Service program.

According to the NSA, the Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense designation indicates that “your institution is helping reduce threats to our national infrastructure by promoting higher education and research in cyber defense as well as provide the nation with a pipeline of qualified cybersecurity professionals.”

The designation came about through efforts by faculty across several departments and colleges, notably the College of Business’ Department of Computer Information Systems and the College of Natural Sciences’ Department of Computer Science.

“The designation makes CSU eligible for new opportunities,” said Indrakshi Ray, professor in the Department of Computer Science. “We would like to make CSU the premier institute for research, education and outreach for cybersecurity.”

Undergraduate and graduate students at CSU can access educational and degree offerings from a variety of places across campus. These range from the computer science undergraduate major with a concentration in networks and security to the College of Business’ Graduate Certificate in Cybersecurity. The CSU Cybersecurity Center of Excellence, founded in 2018, expands upon such degree offerings with lab equipment, research topics and certification opportunities.

“We are honored and proud that our Master of Computer Information Systems degree, along with a Cybersecurity Certificate, are NSA-validated programs of study,” said Leo Vijayasarathy, professor and department chair of the College of Business’ Department of Computer Information Systems. “This NSA recognition will expand scholarships opportunities and career options for business and MCIS students and offer new avenues of research grant funding for our faculty.”

Demand for qualified cybersecurity workers in the U.S. continues to grow. Over an eight-year period tracked by Cybersecurity Ventures, the number of unfilled cybersecurity jobs grew by 350% between 2013 and 2021.