Michael Whitman To Lead Institute For Cybersecurity Workforce Development

 Dr. Michael Whitman
Dr. Michael Whitman

Kennesaw State professor brings wealth of information security expertise

KENNESAW, Ga. (Aug 15, 2019) — Kennesaw State University has selected Michael Whitman, professor of information security and assurance, to serve as executive director of the Institute for Cybersecurity Workforce Development (ICWD), home to the University’s top-ranked online cybersecurity degree.
 
Whitman is the ICWD’s first executive director. His role involves managing the interdisciplinary Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity program and developing additional cybersecurity degrees, certificates and professional education opportunities.
 
He brings more than 20 years of experience teaching information security courses. A distinguished researcher and author, Whitman has written 10 widely used textbooks and published information systems research in top academic journals. He also is the executive director of the Center for Information Security Education (CISE), which supports cybersecurity education initiatives across the region.
 
“Mike Whitman has years of experience developing and leading cybersecurity education,” said Jon Preston, dean of the College of Computing and Software Engineering, who was part of the committee that appointed Whitman. “Additionally, he has a strong ability to work with all students, faculty and staff within the contributing colleges to make the Institute successful.”
 
Kennesaw State formed the ICWD in 2017 as part of a statewide initiative to encourage businesses and governments to create cybersecurity jobs in Georgia. Answering the University System of Georgia’s call for a comprehensive, online cybersecurity degree, the ICWD established Kennesaw State’s B.S. in Cybersecurity the same year.
 
Offered exclusively online through the USG’s eMajor platform, the B.S. in Cybersecurity is a collaboration between the Michael J. Coles College of Business, the College of Computing and Software Engineering, and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. The ICWD oversees the program by scheduling the courses, coordinating with the academic departments on faculty schedules and representing the program inside and outside the University.
 
Whitman was one of the initial organizers of the ICWD as well as a key architect of the cybersecurity degree program. As ICWD’s executive director, one of his focuses will be on managing the degree’s rapid growth.
 
“Enrollment already is far ahead of what we expected,” Whitman said. “At the end of year one, we already were at year three enrollment projections. The short-term tactical challenges will be to manage that growth.”

Program enrollment currently sits at more than 430 students, Whitman said, adding that Kennesaw State plans to hire additional cybersecurity faculty in the Information Technology and Information Systems departments.
 
Under Whitman’s leadership, the ICWD also will assume management of several key initiatives previously conducted by the CISE, including organizing the annual Conference on Cybersecurity Education, Research and Practice; hosting the Southeast Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition; and publishing the Journal of Cybersecurity Education, Research and Practice.
 
“This should enhance those opportunities, as the events will now be seen as much more interdisciplinary in nature,” Whitman said. “We hope to attract more faculty and student interest because they will see that these activities are not just part of the Coles College of Business.”
 
Whitman said the ICWD’s interdisciplinary focus is one of the key things that attracted him to the position. The program requires students to complete IT courses offered by the CCSE and Information Security and Assurance courses through the Coles College, while offering criminal justice electives in cybercrime through the CHSS.
 
“It’s unique in that it really brings together several disciplines,” Whitman said. “Some computer-related, some not. That really allows students to tailor their degree program to their personal interests and career preferences.”
 
The B.S. in Cybersecurity is one of three cybersecurity-focused degrees offered by Kennesaw State, along with the more managerial Bachelor of Business Administration in Information Security and Assurance through the Coles College and the Bachelor of Science in Information Technology through theCollege of Computing and Software Engineering. All three degrees have helped KSU earn a reputation for producing skilled information security graduates.
 
CyberDegrees.org ranked Kennesaw State first in its 2019 list of the top cybersecurity degrees, while Military Timesranked the University among the top 10 best cybersecurity programs for veterans. Kennesaw State is also recognized by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance/Cybersecurity for the years 2015-2021.
 
Whitman earned a Ph.D. in Management Information Systems from Auburn University’s Harbert College of Business and previously served in the U.S. Army as an officer in the 2nd Armored Cavalry with duties as an automated data processing system security officer.

— Patrick Harbin

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