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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

Inaugural Batten Chair of Cybersecurity Hired

Old Dominion University has hired internationally-recognized scholar Hongyi "Michael" Wu as the inaugural Batten Chair of Cybersecurity. In this role, Wu will lead the recently created Center for Cybersecurity Education and Research. The interdisciplinary center brings together the efforts of more than two dozen faculty at Old Dominion University and works toward addressing cybersecurity through a lens that responds to the multifaceted nature of the issues.

"Old Dominion University embraces interdisciplinary strategies that have the potential to lead to evidence-based solutions for real world problems," said President John R. Broderick. "We look forward to watching Dr. Wu stimulate cybersecurity scholarship and teaching that brings value to the local, regional and international communities," Broderick added.

Wu will work with faculty from electrical and computer engineering, computer sciences, information technology, criminal justice, philosophy, psychology, political science and other academic departments to coordinate multi-disciplinary research projects and course delivery.

This fall, Old Dominion University began offering a cybersecurity major in its interdisciplinary studies degree program. "Our cybersecurity major is one of the few in the country to actually address cybersecurity from an interdisciplinary approach," said Chandra de Silva, interim provost and vice president of academic affairs. "In doing so, we ensure that our graduates are broadly prepared for the very specific but complex cybersecurity issues they will face in their future careers," de Silva said.

Wu, currently the Alfred and Helen M. Lamson Endowed Professor at the Center for Advanced Computer Studies (CACS) at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, is internationally recognized for his cybersecurity research. He has published more than 100 peer-reviewed articles and a co-authored book, "Medium Access Control in Wireless Networks." In addition, Wu has received more than $7.6 million in grant funding to support his research. Serving as a primary investigator (PI) or co-PI on six major National Science Foundation (NSF) projects over the past decade, Wu also was the recipient of an NSF CAREER award.

Wu has expressed great passion for teaching, research and community outreach. In his own words, he "views teaching, student advising and mentoring as an integral part of academic life." Wu described his teaching goals as, "making learning a pleasant and engaging experience for students and instilling the love of technical learning into the next generation of scientists and engineers."

In addition, Wu sees community outreach as central to University activities. "My public engagement is integral to my research and teaching," he noted. "I utilize my expertise to advance community goals and I create scholarship out of service by publishing my community collaborations and incorporating them in my courses."

Wu is ambitious about the future of cybersecurity at Old Dominion University.

"I envision the Center for Cybersecurity Education and Research housing one of the strongest cybersecurity programs in the nation," he said. "It will attract the most talented students in Virginia and from all over the world to join Old Dominion University to study cyber-security related disciplines. It will become nationally and internationally known for its research and scholarly excellence in several strategic areas of cyber-security."

Wu's appointment is part of a hiring effort that will bring at least four new cybersecurity scholars to Old Dominion University in the upcoming year. The initiative was spearheaded by de Silva and Morris Foster, vice president for research.

"To be competitive as a research university, we need to identify national problems that we can address at the local level," Foster said. "Cybersecurity is one of the most pressing issues facing our region and our nation. ODU should be a leader in identifying ways to address the problem. Dr. Wu has the expertise to help us become a leader in this area."

Additionally, a second faculty member has been hired to be a part of the Center for Cybersecurity Education and Research. Old Dominion graduate Sachin Shetty (Ph.D., 2007) will return to the University in the fall (2016) and hold a joint appointment as an associate professor in ODU's Virginia Modeling and Simulation Center (VMASC) and the Department of Modeling, Simulation, and Visualization Engineering (MSVE).

Shetty is currently an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at Tennessee State University. He also serves as an engineer with the Expeditionary Electronic Warfare Systems Division, Naval Surface Warfare Center, in Crane, Ind. Previously, 2007-2008, he taught electrical and computer engineering at ODU.

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