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NSA Professionals Score College Creds at Drexel

November 03, 2017

cybersecurity agreement

(L to R) Susan Aldridge, PhD, senior vice president for Online Learning and President of Drexel University Online; Elisabeth Van Bockstaele, PhD, interim dean of Drexel's Graduate College; Leonard Reinsfelder, D.A., National Cryptologic School commandant, Diane M. Janosek, National Cryptologic School deputy commandant; along with Stephen Weber, PhD, director of the Isaac L. Auerbach Cybersecurity Institute, formalized an agreement with the NCS to allow its students to work toward a cybersecurity master's degree at Drexel.

For more than half a century, students in training to become experts in numerous fields at the National Security Agency have participated in rigorous training at the National Cryptologic School — learning everything from foreign languages to codebreaking. Today the school with the classified curriculum is expanding its coursework to keep students ahead of the latest technological threats by partnering with Drexel University to offer them the opportunity to earn a master’s degree in cybersecurity.

The National Cryptologic School formalized this partnership by signing an articulation agreement with Drexel in a ceremony held at The National Cryptologic Museum in Fort Meade, Maryland on Tuesday, Oct. 31. The partnership allows Cryptologic School students to transfer up to 21 credits from their own coursework and experience toward Drexel’s Master of Science in Cybersecurity.

“The National Security Agency's National Cryptologic School is excited to enter into this agreement due to Drexel's status as a recognized leader in the area of cybersecurity education; dedication to military service members; and innovative and forward-leaning approach to technical education," Leonard Reinsfelder, D.A., commandant of the National Cryptologic School.

The partnership provides NCS students with an opportunity to broaden their education and efficiently earn a degree while studying at the Cryptologic School and also taking Drexel’s courses online.

“This exciting new partnership between Drexel and the National Cryptologic School shows the University’s leadership in cybersecurity education and commitment to addressing the shortage of trained cybersecurity professionals in America,” said Steven Weber, PhD, a professor in Drexel’s College of Engineering and director of the Isaac L. Auerbach Cybersecurity Institute. “We are thrilled to see this partnership with the NCS come to fruition.”

Weber was part of a Drexel contingent that included Senior Vice President Susan Aldridge, PhD, and Elisabeth Van Bockstaele, PhD, interim dean of Drexel’s Graduate College; that joined Commandant Leonard T. Reinsfelder and Diane Janosek, deputy commandant of the National Cryptologic School, at the signing ceremony.

The partnership is the latest in a number of efforts to position Drexel’s strength in cybersecurity education as a resource for public and private organizations. Drexel’s cybersecurity program has been recognized as a top-ranked program for veterans and by the NSA and Department of Homeland Security as a “Center of Academic Excellence,” joining an elite group of universities certified as leaders in the field.

The University has steadily expanded its cybersecurity course offerings through grants from the NSA and the U.S. Army Reserve, in hopes of meeting the need for cybersecurity professionals in the workforce. And it works with industry partners to better understand the evolving skillset required of cybersecurity practitioners.

“The demands of cybersecurity professionals vary widely depending on where they’re working,” Weber said. “By collaborating with employers like the NSA and Susquehanna International Group, we are broadening our understanding of how best to prepare our students to fill those positions and make an immediate contribution.”