Jackson State Community College held a press conference today, June 26 from 10-11 a.m. in McWherter Centers Kisber Conference Room to announce the recent award recognition from the National Security Agency that designated Jackson State Community College as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance 2-Year Education.
Participants for the conference included: Dr. Tom Pigg, Professor of Computer Information Systems at Jackson State Community College; Steven L. Champine, Special Agent with the FBI; and Richard Harlow, Special Agent in Charge, United States Secret Service,Memphis Field Office.
The National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security have jointly announced the designation of 52 colleges and universities as National Centers of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education, Information Assurance Research, and in Information Assurance 2-Year Education for the years 2012 through 2017.
Jackson State is one out of 24 community colleges across the nation to be honored with this distinction out of over 1,000 community colleges nationwide. It serves as the only Center for Academic Excellence in Information Assurance 2-Year Education in the state of Tennessee.
The centers – now totaling 166 in 42 states, the District of Columbia, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico – are recognized leaders in these fields. Program graduates often develop into cyber experts who help to protect national-security information systems, commercial networks, and critical information infrastructure in both the private and public sectors – meeting the increasingly urgent needs of the U.S. government, industry, and academia.
‘We have an incredible number of faculty and staff that are leaders in so many ways. Today, CIS (Computer Information Systems) is being recognized for an amazing accomplishment and I am so proud of them, said Dr. Bruce Blanding, president of Jackson State Community College.
‘It is quite an honor to be recognized with this designation,’ said Dr. Tom Pigg, Professor of Computer Information Systems at Jackson State Community College. ‘This didn’t happen overnight It has been a six-year journey.’ Pigg had to study Jackson State extensively prior to applying to be considered for the distinction. ‘Jackson State is very well prepared. This is not just a CIS distinction, but an institutional honor,’ he said.
Richard Harlow, Special Agent in Charge, United States Secret Service,Memphis Field Office, said that he was proud to be here to congratulate Jackson State. Jackson State Community College was the first academic partner in our Cyber Security Task Force, he said. He continued on to explain that nearly every crime has computerized evidence to go with it. ‘There is a need for forensic inspection on all computerized devices.’
Steven L. Champine, Special Agent with the FBI said, ‘The designation reflects highly on Dr. Pigg and the institution and I am so proud to be here.’
Dr. Pigg will be holding a three-day Digital Forensics Workshop on June 27-29 teaching community college faculty from across the state. He will be using AccessDatas Forensics Toolkit (FTK), which leads attendees to AccessData Certified Examiner status. This workshop is part of the Cyber Security Education Consortium funded by the National Science Foundation Advanced Technology Education Grant. We want others to be able to take this knowledge back to their respective campuses and teach others about this ever-important issue, said Pigg.
The complete list of centers and details about the selection process are available here.
All of the designations are valid for five academic years, after which the college or university must successfully re-apply. The NSA-DHS partnership was initially formed in 2004 in response to the 2003 National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace.
More information about the National Security Agency is available online at www.nsa.gov.