May 10, 2007

Sacramento State one of leading universities
in nation on information security

The National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security have designated Sacramento State’s College of Engineering and Computer Science as a Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance and Security, for academic years 2007-12.

Sacramento State is one of only 87 universities across the country—and only five in California—to receive the designation.

“We have several courses in information security such as cryptography, network security, computer forensics and computer security and privacy, that meet the National Security Agency’s standards for security concepts and knowledge,” says computer science professor Isaac Ghansah, who led the college’s effort to become a Center of Academic Excellence. “These courses provide information on a body of knowledge that every information security professional should know. We have also developed a minor program with the Division of Criminal Justice that is open to students at Sacramento State.”

The federal government initiated the National Centers of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance and Security in 1998 as a way to protect the critical infrastructure that is supported by computers throughout the country. Power, telecommunication, banking and transportation systems are some examples of systems controlled by computers which, left vulnerable, can be attacked.

“The mission of our Center for Information Assurance and Security has several facets,” says Ghansah. “We’re planning education, training and awareness programs in security issues and practices, as well as outreach programs to assist the community—including schools, industry and government—in information assurance and security issues.”

As a Center for Academic Excellence, the University will also be eligible to apply for grants to which only these centers can apply. “Also, students who graduate from a Center for Academic Excellence institution can list that on their resume, and federal, state and local governments see that as a real plus for anyone applying for a job in information security field,” says Ghansah.

“This distinction will position the Computer Science Department, the College of Engineering and the University in a unique place to serve our community,” says College of Engineering and Computer Science dean Emir Macari. “We will be able to train and educate others in our region about the importance of information assurance and security.”

Sacramento State will be among 12 other universities receiving the CAE conferral on June 5 at the annual conference of the Colloquium for Information Systems Security Education at Boston University.

“This conferral really puts us on the map and makes us unique,” says Ghansah. “We can be proud of this acknowledgement of our academic excellence.”

For more information on the College of Engineering and Computer Science, visit www.ecs.csus.edu. For media assistance, contact the Sacramento State Public
Affairs office at (916) 278-6156.