HCC Receives Additional Funding to its National Science Foundation’s Advanced Technological Education Grant
Harford Community College, a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education, has received $52,440 in supplemental funding from the National Science Foundation's Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program. Funds will be used to further enhance the College’s Information Assurance and Cybersecurity Associate of Applied Sciences program and ongoing ATE efforts under the Hire Harford First project.
During the 12-month project period, the College will use the funds to develop and implement a cyber competition component through a new capstone experience within the Information Assurance and Cybersecurity curriculum. Adding cyber competitions will help ensure that graduates of the program emerge with the practical skills that information security employers need most. In addition, more associate degree-level students will have the opportunity to take part in applied undergraduate research experiences. The new on-campus HCC cybersecurity competition will take place during the spring semester and Information Assurance and Cybersecurity students will be able to participate virtually and in person.
Harford will hire a part-time cyber competitions coordinator to establish the infrastructure for managing student participation in competitions and coordinate student participation during the funding period. Professional development about problem-based learning through cybersecurity competitions to prepare faculty to integrate cyber competitions into the curriculum, both through the new capstone course and within existing courses, will be provided.
HCC’s Hire Harford First ATE project has reformatted two core courses using a competency-based framework to help produce workforce-ready graduates. The College will explore how well hands-on cyber competitions increase students’ competency, provide exposure to an applied undergraduate research experience, and motivate students to pursue cyber defense research at four-year institutions and in future employment.
In only two years, Harford Community College Information Assurance and Cybersecurity students gain a valuable degree that is distinguished by their substantial hands-on and applied training experiences. Adding cyber competitions to the curriculum through core courses and a new capstone course will enhance classroom experiences, expose students to the fundamental inquiry processes that unite all undergraduate research experiences, and illuminate the opportunities available in bachelor’s degree programs and cyber careers.
Each year, Harford graduates approximately 60 Information Assurance and Cybersecurity AAS degree and certificate students who bring professional skills in reverse engineering, critical thinking, teamwork, and communication to the workforce, at a time when the cybersecurity industry projects continued growth.