Kennesaw State named top institution for cybersecurity outreach

KENNESAW, Ga. | Aug 8, 2022

Kennesaw State University has been recognized by its peers as the top institution in the U.S. for spreading cybersecurity best practices in its community, developing cybersecurity programs and faculty, and empowering students to pursue careers in the industry. 

Photo of man sitting at computer

The colleges and universities that make up the National Security Agency’s National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity recently awarded Kennesaw State the 2022 First Place Outstanding Outreach Award. All 347 colleges and universities in the NCAE program were eligible for the honor.

NCAE is a partnership between the NSA’s National Cryptologic School, several federal agencies including the FBI and the Department of Defense, and hundreds of institutions across the country to enhance cybersecurity education through setting curriculum standards and encouraging the adoption of security best practices. Kennesaw State has been an NCAE-designated Center of Excellence since 2004. 

The University received the Outstanding Outreach Award at the NCAE’s regional annual meeting in Atlanta, where Kennesaw State earned redesignation through 2027 and had the Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity program validated as an NCAE-Cyber Defense Education program of study. 

“As an NCAE, there’s always the expectation that we will not only prepare students for careers in security, but that we will also contribute to the improvement of cybersecurity education within industry, the government, and the community at large,” said Michael Whitman, professor of information security and assurance and executive director of Kennesaw State’s Institute for Cybersecurity Workforce Development (ICWD).

The ICWD is a multidisciplinary body overseeing Kennesaw State’s online Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Cybersecurity degree programs. It also organizes several outreach initiatives, including hosting an annual cybersecurity conference with students, faculty and industry partners; running faculty training workshops; publishing the Journal of Cybersecurity Education Research and Practice; and running the Southeast Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition, where students from across the region network with peers and industry leaders while competing to defend computer networks from attack.

For Whitman, these outreach efforts – especially those involving businesses – are about educating the community on the importance of information security. 

“It’s our information that cybersecurity professionals are protecting,” he said. “If we can help banks and information warehouses in the region, then it’s much better for everyone that they be on the leading edge of information security.”

The NSA award also recognized community outreach initiatives organized by the Michael J. Coles College of Business’s Department of Information Systems and Security and its related student organization, the Offensive Security Club.

– Story by Patrick Harbin
Photo by David Caselli

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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 45,000 students. Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia with 11 academic colleges. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 7 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit