Academic Programs News

Iowa State, DMACC partner to create cyber security hub

Iowa State University and Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) have entered into a partnership to establish the Iowa Cyber Hub™ with the goal of increasing the number of cyber security professionals in Iowa.

Iowa State Interim President Dr. Benjamin Allen and DMACC President Rob Denson signed a Memorandum of Understanding July 25 to create the Iowa Cyber Hub™, a regional facility where companies can work with ISU and DMACC on cyber security issues with the goal of creating a larger cyber security workforce.

“Iowa State University has long been a leader in cyber technology and security – from the invention of the first electronic, digital computer to our prestigious designation as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance and Cyber Defense Education,” said Dr. Benjamin Allen, Iowa State Interim President. “Now, in partnership with DMACC, we’re leading the way once again. The Iowa Cyber Hub™ will help meet a critical need to secure the nation’s cyber infrastructure.”

DMACC President Rob Denson said DMACC is very pleased to partner with ISU on yet another very important workforce skill issue here in central Iowa and beyond.

“The Iowa Cyber Hub™ is an innovative concept that expands on the partnership developed among local businesses, ISU and DMACC,” said Denson. “Strong faculty at Iowa’s two largest institutions of higher education with specialized expertise, along with guidance from the Central Iowa IT Partnership, will ensure that we build capacity to train the cyber security workforce for the future.”

“The new DMACC programs in cyber security that will transfer to ISU will provide students several pathways to a degree, and will meet the needs of both full-time and part-time working students,” said Dr. Kim Linduska, DMACC Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs.  “It’s a great opportunity for both institutions to continue our strong partnership to meet the needs of all of our students.” 

DMACC Business Management/Industry and Technology Academic Dean MD Isley said this Iowa Cyber Hub™ creates a variety of different options to get more people to enter into the cyber security field.

DMACC will create a new Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree in Cyber Security and modify an existing articulation pathway from DMACC to ISU.

“We’re also in the process of developing a professional certificate in cyber security that will prepare individuals with a four-year degree to enter into Iowa State’s graduate-level cyber security program,” said Isley.

He also said both DMACC and ISU will be working with middle schools and high schools to get more students interested in cyber security.

“The Iowa Cyber Hub™ will create a critical mass of cyber security education and training in central Iowa,” said Doug Jacobson, ISU Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and a leader of the initiative. “Working together, we will serve the needs of students, faculty and employers, while also inspiring the next generation of 'cyber sleuths’ in Iowa’s middle and high schools.”

Dr. Jacobson, a faculty member at ISU for more than 32 years who has developed countermeasures for network-based security exploits and large-scale attack simulation environments, will be a lead member of the Iowa Cyber Hub™.

“We’re very fortunate to engage in this project under the leadership of Dr. Doug Jacobson, an Iowa State University Professor and nationally-known expert in computer and network security and information warfare,” said Isley.  “It’s great to have his expertise right here in central Iowa as our two institutions work to develop talent to help protect our cyber infrastructure and consumer information.”

Hub will enhance interaction with industry, academic programs
The Iowa Cyber Hub™ will interact closely with Iowa companies, providing much needed economic and workforce development to meet the region’s cyber security needs, including:

  • Space for companies to rent at ISU and DMACC for onsite support designed for their specific business
  • Company direct hire Internships and apprenticeships
  • Project based intern experiences
  • Cyber security short courses for companies to enhance the skills of their existing workforce
  • Faculty directed projects
  • Facilitated interaction between ISU and DMACC faculty and students

The Hub is also designed to increase the number of students entering post-secondary education to study cyber security by creating well-defined pathways, starting in middle school. Activities in this area include:

  • Create clear marketing and messaging to increase the number of students entering cyber security degree programs
  • Supplement middle school and high school cyber curriculum
  • Establish the DMACC Cyber Security Career Academy for high performing high school students
  • Enhance the DMACC cyber focused AS degree to ISU BS / minor
  • Articulate 200/300 level cyber security courses at ISU to DMACC
  • Create a DMACC AAS degree in cyber security; course to course articulation between DMACC and ISU
  • Promote the DMACC Professional certificate as a gateway to an ISU Master Degree in Information Assurance