SAC continues its national role as a cybersecurity leader
August 25, 2022
The computer information systems department at SAC continues to be a nationally recognized leader in cybersecurity academics.
The National Security Agency, a federal intelligence agency under the Department of Defense, recently redesignated the campus as the regional hub of its Southwest Center for Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity (CAE-C).
“By being part of this CAE community and being a leader among the colleges and universities within our region, we have a lot of resources and opportunities to share with our students,” said Kim Muschalek, a professor and program coordinator in the SAC computer information systems department and the director of the CAE Southwest Regional Hub.
As the regional hub, SAC provides leadership in cybersecurity education among colleges and universities in nine states: Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, California and Hawaii. The college plays a role in advancing cybersecurity at the national level by facilitating collaborations, hosting training opportunities, faculty development workshops and competitions that support the CAE-C program.
CAE-C designated institutions such as SAC are recognized as having highly qualified instructors, exposure to relevant cyber topics, and connections to potential future employment in the cyber field. They are also eligible to earn national recognition and grant funding opportunities.
The process of applying for redesignation takes approximately a year, Muschalek said. SAC earned its first CAE-C credential in 2014. In 2016, the NSA selected SAC to serve as a regional hub of a five-state area. In 2021, the agency expanded the region to include nearly 400 schools in nine states, and SAC was chosen to continue to serve as the hub. The current designation is valid through 2028.
“It’s definitely upped our game,” Muschalek said. “As the regional hub leader we have an opportunity to coordinate and collaborate with lots of different community colleges and universities across the country.”
SAC offers students many pathways into a cybersecurity career. In addition to an associate degree in information assurance and cybersecurity, the CIS department offers four other associate degrees and numerous certificates relating to cybersecurity.
As one of the top programs in one of the fastest growing fields, the CIS department is constantly evolving, Muschalek said.
“We are constantly updating curriculum and updating classes and educating ourselves to stay up to date,” Muschalek said. “There are so many tools and new ways we can be attacked that it’s a never-ending challenge to stay ahead of the bad guys.”
For more information visit the department online at https://www.alamo.edu/sac/academics/program-index/communication-design-cis-music-business-and-rtb/computer-information-systems/.