SRU’s BS in Cybersecurity program earns State System approval

Binary code and a hacker

Aug. 10, 2018

HARRISBURG, Pa. - Perfect timing. With reports of cybercrimes filling the daily news, system approval of Slippery Rock University's Bachelor of Science degree in cybersecurity couldn't have come at a better time. The program was one of eight new degree programs approved today by Karen Whitney, interim chancellor for Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education.

SRU's Department of Computer Science proposed the conversion of its existing concentration in cybersecurity to a full degree program to the University's council of trustees in June. The new program will offer two concentrations: secure software development and security governance, with some new courses being added to supplement the existing curriculum.

According to organizers, the evolution of the current concentration to a full degree program was motivated by a trio of factors, including:

• Significant enrollments in the current cybersecurity concentration demonstrating program success and sustainability.
• Increasing demands of comprehensive highly technical, legal and managerial skills required for fostering current and future cybersecurity workforce.
• Absence of a degree program or a major in the western State System that prepares students with comprehensive knowledge of the advanced practical secure coding practices for software and data applications in the cybersecurity domain.

This latest round of program approvals brings to 29 the number of new degrees approved since January utilizing an accelerated degree-approval process. Each of the new programs was approved by State System Interim Chancellor Karen Whitney under the new process, which was designed to shorten the time it takes from when a new program is conceived until it can be approved and introduced into the classroom.

"Our universities are continuing to respond to the needs of both students and their future employers, developing new programs in high-demand fields that will help ensure both student success and a strong and healthy economy across Pennsylvania," Whitney said. "With the accelerated degree-approval process, we are able to respond much more quickly as the workforce evolves."

In January, the State System board of governors granted the chancellor the authority to approve new academic programs once they were submitted by the universities and reviewed by staff in the Office of the Chancellor. Previously, new programs had to be approved by the board, which meets regularly only four times a year.

The accelerated degree-approval process includes the same rigorous review necessary to ensure new programs meet all appropriate standards, including those set by professional organizations that establish accreditation criteria.

MEDIA CONTACT: Kenn Marshall | 717.720.4054 | kmarshall@passhe.edu