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Cyber Excellence: Armstrong Earns Elite National Designation

SAVANNAH, Ga. – The National Security Agency and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security recently recognized Armstrong State University as a National Center for Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education. This elite national designation, awarded through the 2021 academic year, underscores the university’s growing commitment to cybersecurity education and research. 

“Being recognized as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education is a tremendous honor,” said Armstrong President Linda M. Bleicken. “Armstrong has a deep commitment to the preparation of talented students for cybersecurity professions.”

Armstrong’s Center for Applied Cyber Education offers an interdisciplinary approach to cyber education. Under the auspices of the university’s Department of Computer Science and Information Technology -- in collaboration with the Department of Criminal Justice, Social and Political Science and the Cyber Forensics Division of Armstrong’s Police Department -- students learn to secure data, investigate intrusions and prosecute cyber crimes. Through the Center for Applied Cyber Education, students receive first-class instruction that prepares them to prevent and investigate cyber attacks on global networks and international systems.

Karen Leuschner, the National Center of Academic Excellence program manager, praised Armstrong for meeting the evolving demands of cybersecurity education.

“Your ability to meet the increasing demands of the program criteria will serve the nation well in contributing to the protection of the National Information Infrastructure,” she said. “Like all nations, the United States has a compelling interest in defending its vital national assets, as well as our core principles and values.”

Currently, Armstrong is one of only four institutions in the state of Georgia to receive this designation, joining the national mission to reduce vulnerability to information infrastructure breaches through the promotion of university scholarship and research. As a National Center of Academic Excellence school, Armstrong students are eligible to apply for scholarships and grants through the Department of Defense Information Assurance Scholarship Program and the Federal Cyber Service Scholarship for Service Program. 

The National Center for Academic Excellence designation program promotes higher education in cyber defense to prepare a growing number of professionals to meet the need to reduce vulnerabilities in the nation’s cyber networks. The program was started by the National Security Agency in 1998, with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security joining as a partner in 2004.

Allison Scardino Belzer, Ph.D.

"I love the mix of Armstrong students, hearing their ideas and having students learn from each other.”

Allison Scardino Belzer, Ph.D.
Teaching since: 2003