This report describes the preliminary findings from the first year of a twoyear. pilot study conducted between Union County College (UCC) and Stevens

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1 Introduction Building an Educational Pathway in Cybersecurity between Union County College and Stevens Institute of Technology by PIs, Drs. Wetzel, Hawthorne and Roemer This report describes the preliminary findings from the first year of a twoyear pilot study conducted between Union County College (UCC) and Stevens Institute of Technology (Stevens). UCC is a public, comprehensive community college in Cranford, NJ; Stevens is a private, research university in Hoboken, NJ. These two institutions are located approximately 18 miles and 30 minutes from each other; both are easily accessible by public transportation. Since September 2011, UCC and Stevens PIs have been engaged in developing a model to define educational pathways in cybersecurity degree programs between two-year and four-year institutions. This project builds on the results of the ACM ITiCSE working groups on Information Assurance Education in 2009, 2010, and 2011 (white papers available in the ACM digital library acm.org/dl). Specifically, the aim of this project is to determine whether it is feasible for qualified community college students pursuing a mathematics and/or computing-focused degree to transfer into a cybersecurityfocused program at a university with junior status, obtain a federal SFS scholarship, and be successfully placed in the government workforce upon completion of the program. Major Accomplishments and Findings After an extensive application and interview process, two UCC sophomores were selected for this pilot study. The first student entered the pilot during the Fall 2011 semester and the second during the Fall 2012 semester. 1

2 Because of the timing of this report (September, 2012), these preliminary findings will focus mostly on the success of the first student. However, both sophomores GPAs were high enough to qualify for the UCC s Vice President s list, and both declared computer science/engineering as their major with a mathematics concentration. Computer science/engineering is an Associate of Science degree containing several transfer-oriented mathematics courses, including discrete mathematics, calculus I, II, III, and differential equations as well as computer science and laboratory science courses (http://catalog.ucc.edu). During AY , the PIs Wetzel, Hawthorne and Roemer worked closely together in tailoring the first student's study plan (enclosure, p. 5) to ensure that he graduated with an Associate of Science degree with a minimum GPA of 3.25 from UCC in Spring 2012 and was prepared to join the baccalaureate degree program in cybersecurity at Stevens with junior status during the Fall To ensure acceptance with junior status into Stevens, this pilot included a summer bridge program. During the summer of 2012, the UCC graduate successfully completed an algorithms course (building on CS1 and CS2 taken at UCC) and a mathematics course on probability and statistics (building on the mathematics foundation at UCC), and was admitted into the baccalaureate degree program in cybersecurity for Fall Also during the summer bridge program, this student applied for and was awarded a federal SFS effective for the Fall 2012 semester at Stevens. During AY , the PIs will once again be tailoring an individual student plan with the same expected outcomes for the second UCC sophomore in this pilot. In addition, developing a cybersecurity option from the Mathematics transfer degree, associate of science, will be explored. PIs will be working closely with the Vice President for Academic Affairs and the faculty curriculum committee to give every effort to creating a cybersecurity degree option along with an articulation agreement with the possibility of a dual admission between UCC and Stevens. With the recent hiring of a new President, UCC is currently undertaking a curriculum-wide project of aligning all their 2

3 associate of arts and associate of science degree programs with New Jersey s Lampitt Act, which is concerned with the transfer of college credits. According to the Lampitt Act, Each public institution of higher education, in consultation with the New Jersey President s Council [www.njpc.org], shall establish and enter into a collective Statewide transfer agreement that provides for the seamless transfer from a completed associate of arts or associate of science degree program to a baccalaureate degree program (www.njleg.state.nj.us/2006/bills/al07/175_.pdf). It is with great hopes that the cybersecurity associate degree option can be created during UCC s curriculum alignment process. Activities During AY , the first UCC student visited Stevens on a regular basis. He was assigned a peer mentor at Stevens who escorted him to classes, showed him around campus, discussed university culture, and was generally available to address any concerns or questions, mostly via electronic communications. Plans are in place for the second student to follow a similar routine of scheduled visits to Stevens along with being paired with a peer mentor. For example, the first UCC graduate now a Stevens cybersecurity student met the second UCC student at Stevens Club Fair at the beginning of the Fall 2012 semester in September. Also during AY , the PIs developed a letter of commitment (enclosure, p. 6) for the students to sign, which also was signed by UCC s Dean of Students. This letter, which was refined for the second year based on lessons learned from the first, intertwines important mileposts along the journey of seamlessly transferring from UCC to Stevens. For example, the UCC student needs to apply to Stevens by February 1, provide Stevens with an official UCC transcript by June 15, and apply for the Stevens SFS during the summer bridge program. Experience from the first year streamlined the process for the second year, and consequently the timeline for the selection of the second UCC sophomore, and the reimbursement/disbursement of scholarship award 3

4 improved. The summer bridge and transition to Stevens is expected to be a smoother process as well, holding to more clearly established deadlines. Lastly, all the PIs attended the CISSE conference at the conclusion of the first academic year (June 2012), attended sessions that linked curriculum between secondary and higher education, addressed trends in cybersecurity, and provided information on the current climate and workforce needs in cybersecurity education. This information is useful and relevant to curriculum development in progress for the associate of science degree option being explored, as well as outreach for attracting qualified students to this exciting educational pathway in cybersecurity. 4

5 Enclosures <Individual study plan for first UCC student. Susanne to include.> 5

6 6

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