Northwest Missouri State University approves addition of Cybersecurity major

Northwest Missouri State University

Northwest Missouri State University’s Board of Regents during its regular meeting Friday approved a proposal to create a Bachelor of Science in cybersecurity and begin offering it to students next fall.

Interim Provost Dr. Jamie Hooyman presented the proposal to the Board and said the program will require no new resources. The University’s current computer science faculty will teach the coursework at Northwest’s Maryville campus.

Northwest will create five courses, as requirements or electives, for degree completion.

“Cybersecurity knowledge is essential to the protection of our national electronic systems and data,” Dr. Carol Spradling, the director of Northwest’s School of Computer Science and Information Systems. “Our cybersecurity program will provide students with cutting-edge skills to meet national security challenges and will contribute talent to meet the long-term economic cybersecurity industry needs.” 

The program will help students develop skills and expertise related to cybersecurity, including the prevention and detection of cyber attacks on computer-related infrastructures within an organization. Students will gain a broad understanding of computer systems, including software, hardware, networks, information assurance, and programming. Students also will develop skills related to computer security policies and implementation as well as a relevant understanding of social engineering as a means of computer vulnerability.

Hooyman also noted graduates in the cybersecurity field are in high demand. The Department of Labor Statistics projects 18 percent job growth for information security analysts, which include cybersecurity professionals, while Forbes magazine has reported that the cybersecurity market is expected to grow from $75 billion in 2015 to $170 billion by 2020.

During his report to the Board on Friday, Northwest President Dr. Jasinski provided updates about a variety of activities and initiatives occurring on the campus, including the University’s busy Homecoming week.

University Drive, which extends along the eastern border of the campus from the entrance of the campus at Fourth Street, is closed from Wells Hall to the Administration Building to make structural repairs to a central utility tunnel connecting the Power Plant and the Administration Building, Jasinski told the Board. Additionally, steel will be moving onto campus in coming days as construction progresses on the Carl and Cheryl Hughes Fieldhouse.

Jasinski also reported that the University’s Provost Search Committee has invited two candidates for on-campus interviews later this month and said the University will announce the names of those candidates and additional details regarding the interviews next week. The individual selected for the position will fill the role vacated in June when Dr. Timothy Mottet resigned to become the president at Colorado State University-Pueblo.