GW expands web security programs

To spread cybersecurity education across disciplines, the University added academic programs and coordinated cross-school efforts in the field this fall, pushing into business, law and education.

Even the most basic lessons in cybersecurity are valuable for the country’s entire workforce, said associate professor of education Diana Burley. Case in point: Infected personal devices that employees plug into work systems could cripple entire firewalls.

“The education of future cybersecurity professionals has taken center stage in the national strategy to secure cyberspace,” Burley, who researches cybersecurity education, said.

The GW Cybersecurity Initiative, formed this summer by the Board of Trustees, is taking shape in the schools of engineering, business, law and education, filling Beltway policymakers’ calls for more tech-trained experts.

The GW School of Business’ world executive MBA program, geared toward mid-career professionals, added a cybersecurity track this month with nine students enrolled, James Bailey, director of the world executive MBA program, said.

“Students will learn what we need to do in order to position policy in the federal and state government to properly protect the nation and Congress,” Bailey said.

Dean Paul Schiff Berman said the GW Law School is looking to fundraise about $5 million to hire faculty for a cybersecurity specialization for its national security masters degree in a few years. The school already offers classes in cybersecurity.

“Key governmental policy issues are going to be fought on the terrain of cybersecurity over the next five to 10 years,” Berman said, stressing the need for law students to be trained.

The business and law programs would complement the School of Engineering and Applied Science’s masters program in cybersecurity, which began this week with 45 new students.

Daniel Kaniewski, head of the GW Cybersecurity Initiative, said because policy-makers try to balance national security and privacy interests in cyberspace, the country is in need of legal, business and scientific leaders in the field.

The additional programs come after the federal government’s National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education called universities to action last year.

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