The National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security have designated Butler Community College as a National Center of Academic Excellence in cybersecurity defense. The designation is through the 2024 academic year. Butler students can earn a certificate or associate degree in cybersecurity.
“This affirms that we set the bar higher for our programs,” said Brett Eisenman, associate professor of computer information technology.
About 60 students are enrolled in the program, Eisenman said. Kevin Lann-Teubner, associate professor of computer information technology, said the designation is important to Butler’s students and the college itself.
Bringing credibility to the program
“It reinforces what we teach here and gives credibility to our program,” he said. “What it means is the NSA has a series of knowledge units they’ve decided these centers of academic excellence should teach. We’ve been mapping these courses to those knowledge units.”
The designation covers more than the classes students take at Butler. It covers the “institution as a whole,” Lann-Teubner said.
“I had to prove that our information technology department also takes cybersecurity seriously,” Lann-Teubner said.
He and Eisenman also had to show that other departments teach students about cybersecurity threats.
Serving the nation
“Your ability to meet the increasing demands of the program criteria will serve the nation well,” Karen Leuschner, the National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education at the NSA, said in a letter to Butler announcing the designation.
Butler helps train students to deal with growing cybersecurity threats and prepares them for jobs such as security analysts and network administrators.
“Every day we’re hearing there’s a new data breach or new security issue of one kind or another, and we’re training the next generation of workforce employees to be able to combat these bad actors that are out in the world,” Lann-Teubner said. “The field is growing, and there’s a definite shortage of workers right now. There are more jobs available than we can fill.”
Filling the jobs of the future
Students interested in government jobs will particularly benefit from the college’s designation, he said.
Butler also holds an articulation agreement with Friends University which grants students their first two years toward the Cyber Security degree at Friends. Friends accepts up to 78 credit hours toward a bachelor’s degree from Butler cybersecurity graduates. Students may also continue at Friends to complete a cybersecurity master’s program.
The agreement between Butler and Friends helps form a local pathway for students to continue their education in cybersecurity, offering in-demand career opportunities.
Ceremony this fall
The NSA and Department of Homeland Security will recognize Butler at a Nov. 20 ceremony during the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education conference and expo in Phoenix.
Eisenman and Lann-Teubner will represent the college at the conference.