University of Houston named center of excellence for work on cyber defense

May 22, 2015

The University of Houston's educational and research programs in cybersecurity and cyber defense have been recognized by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.

UH first received the "Center of Academic Excellence" designation for its education programs in 2007, after the creation of the Center for Information Security Research and Education. This is the first time it has received the research designation.

UH is one of 28 universities in the United States, including three in Texas, with the dual designation.

The recognition, good for six years, offers a stamp of approval for education and research into a rapidly changing field. Cybersecurity issues, from crime to espionage, have gained attention as society has grown more dependent on computers and the Internet.

"It's a scarier world today than it's ever been, because hackers have figured out how to monetize cyber-crime," said Arthur Conklin, associate professor of Information and Logistics Technology and director of the Center for Information Security Research and Education.

The education programs covered by the designation include a two-year, professional master's degree program in information systems security, offered by the College of Technology. Ray Cline, chairman of the Information Logistics and Technology department, said the program has grown from eight students in 2007 to more than 50 now.

Stephen Huang, professor of computer science, said the research designation reflects the strength of UH research in cybersecurity and related areas, led by faculty in the computer science department.

"Designation as a NSA Center of Excellence for Research is a prerequisite for several federal funding opportunities, including National Science Foundation and Department of Defense scholarships and capacity building grants," he said. "These additional opportunities will provide a boost to our cybersecurity research and education."

The research review covered the Ph.D. curriculum, the number of doctoral degrees awarded and both the research publications and grant awards for faculty working in the cybersecurity field.

The computer science department emphasizes research that addresses contemporary societal problems, said department chairman Jaspal Subhlok, noting that cybersecurity is one of the nation's biggest challenges.

"Computer science researchers, with expertise spanning cryptography, data analytics, biometrics, image processing and natural language processing, are collaborating to address the big challenge of cybersecurity," Subhlok said. "They are developing innovative solutions to detect intruders into critical infrastructures, prevent phishing attacks, fight bioterrorists and authenticate authorship of documents."

The master's degree is in high demand from employers -- "For qualified personnel, it's zero percent unemployment," Cline said -- but completing it isn't easy. Cline said that in addition to technical skills, the curriculum focuses on ethical standards required for the field. Students are required to sign a pledge every semester agreeing to the standards.

"These programs offer Houston-area companies world-class opportunities in cybersecurity education," Conklin said. "Our graduates go on to work in the security operations of some of the world's largest consulting firms, banks, energy companies and software developers."

University of Houston

Related Education Articles from Brightsurf:

Applying artificial intelligence to science education
A new review published in the Journal of Research in Science Teaching highlights the potential of machine learning--a subset of artificial intelligence--in science education.

Dementia education
School-based dementia education could deliver much needed empathy and understanding for older generations as new research from the University of South Australia shows it can significantly improve dementia knowledge and awareness among younger generations.

How can education researchers support education and public health and institutions during COVID-19?
As education researchers' ongoing work is interrupted by school closures, what can they do to support education and public health institutions dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic?

Online education platforms could scale high-quality STEM education for universities
Online and blended (online and in-person) STEM instruction can produce the same learning outcomes for students as traditional, in-person classes at a fraction of the cost, finds research published today in Science Advances.

Technology in higher education: learning with it instead of from it
Technology has shifted the way that professors teach students in higher education.

The new racial disparity in special education
Racial disparity in special education is growing, and it's more complex than previously thought.

Education may be key to a healthier, wealthier US
A first-of-its-kind study estimate the economic value of education for better health and longevity.

How education may stave off cognitive decline
Prefrontal brain regions linked to higher educational attainment are characterized by increased expression of genes involved in neurotransmission and immunity, finds a study of healthy older adults published in JNeurosci.

Does more education stem political violence?
In a study released online today in Review of Educational Research, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Educational Research Association, three Norwegian researchers attempt to bring clarity to this question by undertaking the first systematic examination of quantitative research on this topic.

Individual education programs not being used as intended in special education
Gone are the days when students with disabilities were placed in a separate classroom, or even in a completely different part of the school.

Read More: Education News and Education Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to