University of Pittsburgh
April 20, 2004

University of Pittsburgh Named Center for Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education by the National Security Agency

Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH—The National Security Agency has designated the University of Pittsburgh as a Center for Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education for the academic years 2004-2007. Pitt joins 50 other schools, including the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and the Air Force Institute of Technology, with the designation. A ceremony recognizing designated Centers of Academic Excellence will be held June 8 during the annual conference of the Colloquium for Information Systems Security Education in West Point, N.Y.

Pitt's School of Information Sciences' (SIS) Department of Information Science and Telecommunications (DIST) has developed a Security Assured Information Systems (SAIS) track, which includes three new courses and a seminar series. In addition to the SIS offerings, Pitt's Department of Computer Science, School of Engineering, and Graduate School of Public and International Affairs have courses containing strong information assurance components.

"This is a significant recognition of the School of Information Sciences' important accomplishments in information security," said Provost James V. Maher. "SIS Dean Ron Larsen, SIS faculty member James Joshi, and the members of the curriculum team are to be congratulated on this designation."

"Pitt's efforts generate a unique, multidisciplinary strength for addressing the multi-dimensional issues related to Information Security and Assurance," said James Joshi, assistant professor in DIST and core faculty member of SIS's Laboratory for Education and Research on Security Assured Information Systems. "This designation recognizes the fact that Pitt can significantly contribute to the protection of the nation's information infrastructure through research and education. The SAIS track we have developed at DIST has been instrumental in receiving this prestigious designation."

The National Security Agency coordinates, directs, and performs highly specialized activities to protect U.S. information systems and produce foreign intelligence information. The Centers for Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education Program is intended to reduce vulnerabilities in the national information infrastructure by promoting higher education in information assurance and producing a growing number of professionals with information assurance expertise in various disciplines.

The 2003 Presidential Report, "The National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace," refers to cyberspace as the nervous system of the nation's critical infrastructures and indicates that the healthy functioning of cyberspace is essential to the U.S. economy and national security.