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Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico Designated as National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education (CAE/IAE)
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PUPR Designated as National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education (CAE/IAE)

Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico (PUPR) was recently designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education (CAE/IAE) for the years 2009-14 by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Dr. Alfredo Cruz and graduate student Sandra Bonilla attended the conference organized by the NSA and DHS on Jun 1-3, 2009 in Seattle, Washington to receive the certificate as a designated National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education and the CNSS certification. CNSS certification complies with the standards set by the US government's Committee on National Security Systems. CAE/IAE designation is given to Universities meeting a stringent set of criteria established by the National Security Agency (NSA). Dr. Cruz is responsible for the designation and Sandra Bonilla for the CNSS certification as part of her thesis work.

According to UNESCO, there are 5,758 universities in the United States.  PUPR is one of the very few Hispanic serving institutions (HSI) in the Nation to receive this designation and one of the first 100 institutions nationwide; this is a very special recognition. The rigorous approval process for CAE/IAE designation is governed by a set of nine criteria, including outreach, university-level support, and multidisciplinary collaboration. The CAEIAE application was submitted by Dr. Alfredo Cruz, Director of the Center of Information Assurance for Research and Education (CIARE) at PUPR. “This accomplishment is particularly important for PUPR because of our location in the Caribbean, being the only designated institution in the area, and current support from the DoD, NSF, and local government.” as stated by Dr. Cruz.

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Computer Science (ECECS) offers courses on Information Assurance (IA) that have been certified by the CNSS for standards 4011, and 4013e. Upon review of the PUPR application, the Information Assurance Courseware Evaluation (IACE) Review Committee validated the mappings at 100%. The Department offers a Master in Computer Science with a Specialization in Information Technology Management and Information Assurance (ITMIA). Graduate courses in IA include: Cryptography Protocol, Introduction to Information Security, Computer Security, CISSP Exam Prep, Network Security, Information Security Management, Database Security and Auditing, IT Auditing and Secure Operations, Homeland Security: Cyber terrorism, among others. PUPR also offers undergraduate courses on security such as: Computer Forensics, Ethical Hacking, Network Security, and Reverse Engineering, among others. We have offered more than 12 courses in the area of security at both undergraduate and graduate level.

PUPR is proposing a Graduate Certificate in Information Assurance and Security (GCIAS) to highlight the ITMIA specialization as well as to prepare other Information Technology, Computer Engineers, and Information System professionals who are working in the development and/or maintenance of information and computer security systems or products, such as graduate engineers, scientists, or managers in related fields. This certification is in the process of being evaluated by the Council of Higher Education of Puerto Rico. It will prepare the student and professional with Information Assurance and Security skills that are already of great demand in today’s fast paced, high-tech, competitive work areas.

Students attending these designated CAEIAE schools become eligible to apply for related scholarships and grants through the Department of Defense Information Assurance Scholarship Program (IASP) and the Federal Cyber Service Scholarship for Service (SFS) Program.

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