Anderson University Launching Center for Cybersecurity

October 30, 2019

Anderson University Center for Cybersecurity

You lock your doors at night, keep your valuables in a safe and buy a security system to guard your home. 

But even behind locked doors, a security risk remains, often as close as your pocket. Computers, phones, tablets, cars, power plants and even thermostats—anything with an IP address—can be a victim of a cyberattack.

In a world dependent on technology, protection in cyberspace is increasingly critical. Industries including retail, finance, healthcare and the government are hiring cybersecurity professionals. 

That’s why Anderson University will launch the Center for Cybersecurity in the fall of 2020. The new center will bring four new bachelor of science degrees to AU. 

“Our cybersecurity majors will give students the ability to serve and protect people and resources in cyberspace,” said Dr. Ken Knapp, director and professor of cybersecurity programs.

In addition to a traditional cybersecurity major, the center is leading the way in cybersecurity programs by offering three interdisciplinary majors: Cybersecurity and Criminal Justice; Cybersecurity and Mathematics; and Cybersecurity and Analytics. The cybersecurity programs will also include a minor and non-degreed professional certificate. 

“Dr. Knapp is a leader in the field and has built an excellent program, with opportunities for students to pursue a major, minor or professional certificate,” said Provost Dr. Ryan Neal. “Additionally, our program emphasizes an interdisciplinary approach, allowing students to pair cybersecurity with criminal justice, analytics or mathematics.”

Anderson’s unique interdisciplinary approach to cybersecurity allows students to integrate cybersecurity courses with courses from the School of Public Service and Administration, the College of Arts and Sciences or the College of Business. 

“We are not only including technical Cybersecurity courses in the programs, but we are also including courses like risk management and regulatory compliance,” Knapp said. “Cybersecurity is not just a technology problem. You also have to address issues regarding people in the workplace. Our programs are going to provide a holistic approach to cybersecurity.”

Dr. Knapp brings top-notch expertise to the cybersecurity programs. He holds a slew of professional credentials, gained over 20 years of experience including computer security in the U.S. Air Force, taught technology at the Air Force Academy and has a history in cybersecurity program development at another university. He holds his Ph.D. in Information Systems with a research focus in information security from Auburn University. His interest in cybersecurity was first piqued when a network on his Air Force base in Texas was attacked in 1996 and he helped solve the problem. 

The Center for Cybersecurity is in the process of hiring highly-qualified faculty, and Anderson is basing its cybersecurity program on national standards for the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security. Dr. Knapp will also build an advisory board of industry professionals to help the programs adapt to the ever-changing cybersecurity field.

The cybersecurity curriculum includes ethical hacking, cyber threat intelligence, digital forensics and cloud security courses. The center is also building a cybersecurity lab for classroom instruction. 

As a certified ethical hacker, Dr. Knapp is trained to break into systems to find their weaknesses and vulnerabilities to fix them, and he will be able to guide his students in ethical hacking in the safe, contained lab.

Dr. Knapp said cybersecurity majors will also benefit from AU’s core curriculum, which will help them develop a biblical worldview in their approach to serving society through cybersecurity. 

“We want to keep introducing cutting-edge classes,” Dr. Knapp said. “Our classes will help catapult students into great jobs after they graduate from Anderson.

Those who pursue a minor in cybersecurity or a non-degreed professional certificate will receive an overview of cybersecurity through six courses. The professional certificate is offered online, and those who are mid-career or those who hold at least an associate degree who would like to build their professional credentials may benefit from the certificate. 

Although cybersecurity majors were rare just 10 years ago, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that information security analyst jobs are expected to grow 32 percent by 2028, making it one of the fastest growing career fields.

“Our center for cybersecurity fits perfectly with our institutional goals and mission to expand our academic offerings as we seek to equip and educate our students to fill a present and growing need in the region and across the globe,” Dr. Neal said. “Our corporate and industry partners across virtually every sector are eagerly awaiting the start of our program in fall 2020.”

Students who are interested in the new cybersecurity programs can apply to Anderson University today. Questions about the new Cybersecurity program can be addressed to Dr. Ken Knapp at kknapp@andersonuniversity.edu.