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2007.07.25 > For Immediate Release
contact: Tim Kaldahl - University Relations
phone: 402.554.3502 - email: tkaldahl@mail.unomaha.edu

Information Assurance Degree Now Offered at UNO

Omaha - The Nebraska Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education (CCPE) approved a new University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) undergraduate degree in information assurance at the group’s July 17 meeting in South Sioux City, Neb.

The UNO College of Information Science and Technology (IS&T) will offer the bachelor of science in information assurance as an interdisciplinary major that will prepare students for positions in industry and research in information assurance as well as provide them with the foundation necessary for success in graduate programs.  Information assurance, an emerging and rapidly expanding area of study, addresses problems in the fundamental understanding of the design, development, implementation and support of secure information systems.  The need for secure information systems has become a paramount concern as the computer-enabled, Internet-connected, digital-based global society of the 21st century emerges, said Hesham Ali, dean of IS&T.

“It’s often said that businesses and organizations that do not concern themselves with computer security and information assurance will not be in business for long.  We know that to be true,” Ali said. “The resources and faculty we have in place will make this a popular major almost immediately.”

Undergraduate concentrations in information assurance were first offered at UNO in the fall semester of 2003.  Between fall 2003 and fall 2006, 24 students have completed an information assurance concentration in either the undergraduate computer science or the information systems degree program.  Additionally, courses that will serve as the foundation for the new degree have seen strong and increasing enrollments in the past few years.

The new degree is also consistent with and benefits from the current resources of UNO’s well-established Nebraska University Consortium on Information Assurance (NUCIA). 

NUCIA is recognized as a National Security Agency (NSA) Center of Academic Excellence and also offers NSF’s (National Science Foundation) Cybercorp scholarships for UNO students pursuing an information assurance degree or concentration.  Blaine Burnham serves as the director for NUCIA and is an IS&T senior research fellow who, prior to coming to the university, worked in a variety of information assurance roles at the NSA, Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia Laboratory.

“Many of our students working in this area have been sought out to work at area businesses and government agencies while still taking classes,” Ali said. “Having them out in the community has been tremendously positive for our college and the university.”

Ali said the degee is consistent with the University of Nebraska’s Strategic Framework, the UNO strategic plan, and the mission of IS&T and tePeter Kiewit Institute.

"This new degree not only gives our students a new and compelling education option, but it will provide much needed experts for our area and regional businesses, agencies and governments,” he said. 

For more information, call (402) 554-3502.

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