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July 12, 2007

Information assurance program recognized

Pitt again has earned designation from the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education (CAEIAE).

Pitt joins approximately 30 other schools as a CAEIAE, among them Boston University, Syracuse and the United States Military Academy at West Point.

Pitt’s renewed designation spans the academic years 2007-12.

“This is a significant recognition of the School of Information Sciences’ important accomplishments in information security,” said Provost James V. Maher. “SIS Dean Ron Larsen, SIS faculty member James Joshi and the members of the curriculum team are to be congratulated.”

Central to Pitt’s redesignation are the security assured information systems (SAIS) tracks of study offered through SIS’s graduate programs in information science and telecommunications. The SAIS tracks focus on the design and development of secure and reliable networked information systems; deployment, management and maintenance of networks, systems and IT infrastructures, and the evaluation and certification of security systems and software. The tracks are certified by the committee on national security systems, a federal board that directs policy related to protecting classified government information.

The CAEIAE program aims to minimize the vulnerability of U.S. information systems by promoting college-level instruction and research in network and information security, or information assurance (IA).

A college or university applies for CAEIAE designation and undergoes a review of its contribution to IA education and research, including funded research projects, IA-focused curriculum and the quantity and quality of published research, among other areas.

“This designation is a strong validation of Pitt’s high-quality IA-focused degree programs, and it says that Pitt is among the front-runners when it comes to IA-focused research,” said Joshi, co-founder and director of the Laboratory for Education and Research on Security Assured Information Systems.

Students in a CAEIAE can apply for certain IA scholarships offered by the Department of Defense and for the National Science Foundation’s Federal Cyber Service: Scholarship for Service. Pitt received the NSF award last year, which provides more than $1 million over four years for scholarships to students pursuing the SAIS tracks. Approximately a dozen institutions in the country currently feature a scholarship for service-supported program.

Formed in 1998, the CAEIAE program was expanded in 2003 to address a shortage of information security professionals.

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