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ODU and Thomas Nelson Cybersecurity Agreement Provides New Career Pathway

By Brendan O'Hallarn

Old Dominion University President John R. Broderick will join Thomas Nelson Community College President John Dever and Virginia Secretary of Technology Karen Jackson April 21 to sign an articulation agreement in the area of cybersecurity.

The agreement signing will take place in the Espada Room in Thomas Nelson Community College's Moore Hall at 9 a.m. It will also be attended by John Savage, the director of cybersecurity for Virginia Community Colleges.

Through the agreement, students graduating from Thomas Nelson with an Associate of Applied Science degree in information systems technology with cybersecurity career studies certificates will be able to readily transition to Old Dominion's cybersecurity major, offered through the interdisciplinary studies program in the College of Arts & Letters.

"Cybersecurity is an issue that will only increase in the future," said Brian Payne, Old Dominion's vice provost for academic affairs. "We are committed to working with our higher education partners and our industry and government partner to provide the best education possible for our students."

The agreement was fostered by the activities of the Hampton Roads Cybersecurity Education, Workforce, and Economic Development Alliance, an initiative funded by the National Institute for Standards and Technology.

"Over the years, Thomas Nelson has partnered exceptionally well with Old Dominion to provide pathways for our associate degree graduates to pursue further education and advanced degrees at the university level," said Dever. "We are delighted to continue these joint efforts in cybersecurity, a field critical for the future of Hampton Roads, the Commonwealth and the nation."

Cybersecurity remains a top priority for Gov. Terry McAuliffe and the Commonwealth's public and private industry leaders. At the February signing ceremony for a similar articulation agreement signed between Old Dominion University and Tidewater Community College, the governor said 36,000 positions in cyber-related industries are vacant in Virginia.

Old Dominion recognized this critical Commonwealth need in launching its cybersecurity initiative in 2015. Old Dominion hired internationally recognized scholar Hongyi "Michael" Wu as its first Batten Chair of Cybersecurity. Wu has led the creation of the University's Center for Cybersecurity Education and Research, which brings together the work of more than two dozen faculty members at Old Dominion.

ODU has blended coursework with research, bringing together faculty, staff, students, community members and other partners to discuss how to study and teach cybersecurity.

Thomas Nelson's cybersecurity program has matured into a variety of offerings to support career pathways for high school students, transitioning military, college transfer students and industry professionals seeking to advance in the cybersecurity field.

The articulation agreement signed with Old Dominion, along with dual enrollment courses available for high school juniors from Hampton City Schools, helps the college provide seamless career pathways from high schools to colleges and universities and then to industry.

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