Cybersecurity cracks new program list for Fall 2017

Meka Al Taqi-Brown, Contributing Writer


Along with the other 36 graduate programs and 10 graduate certificate programs, cybersecurity will be added to the list of new programs starting in the 2017 fall semester.

Cybersecurity will be part of the graduate program, collaborated with the Schools of Business and of Technology in the Lumpkin College of Business.

Austin Cheney, the department chair for the school of technology, said that cybersecurity experts help protect information and make that information accessible to those permitted to see it.

“Most businesses and organizations have information networks, and individuals have mobile devices that are continually attacked by hackers and need to be protected from intrusions, whether to plant viruses (or) worms or simply attempt to steal data,” Cheney said.

A few of the jobs that the cybersecurity program will prepare students for are cybersecurity consultant, network security specialist, information assurance specialist, computer security system analyst and many more.

One of the coordinators responsible for getting the program on campus was Mahyar Izadi, the dean of the Business College.

Izadi partnered up with the chairs of the Schools of Technology and Business and organized a committee of people who would help design this program for the graduate school.

Cheney is one of the leaders who helped design the program, but designing it was a team effort.

“Dr. Rigoberto Chinchilla from the School of Technology will be serving as coordinator for the program, and Dr. Abdou Illia from the School of Business provided much of the content expertise during our committee meetings,” Cheney said, “along with Drs. John Willems, Melody Wollan and Larry White from the School of Business and Drs. Peter Ping Liu, Rendong Bai and Toqeer Israr from the School of Technology.”

The cybersecurity master’s program requires 32 semesters hours of course work, and 21 of them must be completed through Eastern.

According to the press release, six of the 11 classes are offered online, while the other classes are taught online and have a two-hour lab included in the course.

There were several steps that needed to be completed in order to approve this program on campus.

Chinchilla said it started with the approval of a Certificate in Technology Security in 2005.

Then the Master of Science in Technology was built by adding courses to the certificate, most of them existing courses within the Schools of Technology’s and the School of Business’s management information systems major.

“Approvals from the master’s program were necessary from both schools, (the Business College), EIU Council of Graduate Studies, EIU’s President and Board of Trustees and the Illinois Board of Higher Education” Chinchilla said.

The coordinators are now starting to promote the program.

“We will promote our program in local, regional and national newspapers (and) also in professional associations and via our website which is already up and running.” Chinchilla said. “Posters, fliers and a Facebook page are expected to be ready by the end of this November.”

Chinchilla said the cybersecurity program will prepare highly marketable graduates and give them the technical and professional skills they need to take lead roles in applications of information security.

“The constant attacks to our country’s assets can give our graduates not just a good career but a strong sense of contributing to protect our country,” Chinchilla said.

Students interested in the program can search “cybersecurity” in the Eastern website’s search engine.


Meka Al Taqi-Brown can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]