Athens State University has received a national designation for one of its areas of study.

According to the university, the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security have designated the school as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education through the 2025 academic year for its bachelors of science degree in management of cybersecurity operations and minor in information systems management.

The university said the recognition has come as the result of two years of “specifically-targeted” work by Darren Waldrep, an instructor of information assurance management.

“The goal of the CAE-CD program is to reduce vulnerability in our national information infrastructure by promoting higher education and research in cyber defense and producing professionals with cyber defense expertise,” according to a release from Athens State. “It addresses the critical shortage of professionals with cybersecurity skills and highlights the importance of higher education as a solution to defending America’s cyberspace.”

According to the release, the university's management of cybersecurity operations degree program teaches students how to “tackle complex cybersecurity issues using holistic methods.”

“Students will learn risk management, security framework integration, incident response, disaster recovery, acquisition lifecycle management and information security governance strategies designed to reduce the risks associated with evolving cyber threats and cybercrime,” said Athens State officials. “Students engaged in this field of study typically find entry-level positions within information assurance management, enterprise architecture, risk management, security audit and compliance, or information assurance system architecture and engineering.”

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