NIC only community college in Idaho to earn national cybersecurity designation


NIC representatives attended the National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Reception and Designation Ceremony at the National Cyber Summit in Huntsville, Ala., June 6-8. Pictured are, from left: Leonard T. Reinsfelder, commandant of the National Cryptologic School National Security Agency; NIC President Rick MacLennan; Kathleen Czurda-Page, NIC Computer Information Technology instructor/Cyber Defense program manager; Sue Shibley, NIC Business and Professional Programs division chair; and Daniel R. Stein, acting branch Cybersecurity Education and Awareness Office of Cybersecurity and Communications Department of Homeland Security.

North Idaho College has earned a highly selective designation as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense 2-Year Education, which opens doors for more federal grants, programs and job opportunities. NIC is the only community college in Idaho with the CAE2Y designation. Cybersecurity courses are part of the curriculum in NIC’s Computer Information Technology program.

The CAE2Y institutional national designation was established by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security, with the support of the National Science Foundation and CyberWatch West Center for Cybersecurity Education.

“Cybersecurity has become a major priority for businesses both big and small and there is a growing need for cybersecurity professionals,” said NIC President Rick MacLennan. “The number of open positions outpaces the number of qualified candidates entering the workforce. NIC is closing the gap by providing the best education with the highest standards in this field.”

Sue Shibley, NIC Business and Professional Programs division chair, said the designation is the culmination of 18 months of submitting documentation, building a website, upgrading content, aligning curriculum with new competencies and working with an assigned mentor.

“The CAE2Y designation ensures employers that NIC students come from a program that is nationally recognized by the federal government as meeting the highest standards in cybersecurity,” she said. “It gives them an edge in employment and opens doors into certain federal grants and programs for our college. This is going to lead the way to greater job opportunities and greater accomplishments for our students as they step into the digital world’s leadership roles of tomorrow.”

Fred Klappenberger, CyberWatch West C5 CAE2Y mentor, said the designation is a new opportunity for community colleges and most educational institutions “do not make the cut.”

“To put this in perspective, there are less than 1 percent of the community colleges in the United States that meet these criteria,” Klappenberger said. “What really impressed me about the NIC Computer Information Technology program was the cyber defense embedded curriculum in the Associates of Applied Science degree that will provide students the knowledge and skills to enter the cybersecurity workforce and/or pursue a bachelor’s degree in IT and/or cybersecurity.”

For more information, visit or call (208) 769-3448 to schedule an appointment with an adviser.

Posted: Monday, June 26, 2017

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