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BSC’s National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education designation extended

Published: Mar 11 2024
BSC’s National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education designation extended - Photo
The National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security have designated Bismarck State College as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education (CAE-CDE) for its Cybersecurity and Computer Networks program through the academic year 2029. The two federal organizations stated that BSC’s ability to meet the increasing demands of program criteria will serve the nation well in contributing to the protection of the National Information Infrastructure. 
BSC, North Dakota’s Polytechnic Institution, initially received the five-year designation in 2019 and was just notified of its re-designation.
“This designation puts a stamp of approval on our program and shows that BSC is teaching the curriculum and supporting the opportunities and extracurricular activities that our students need to be qualified to defend the nation,” said BSC Dean of Current and Emerging Technologies Mari Volk. “Because we have this designation, BSC graduates from this program are qualified for federal jobs in the cyber field.”
The goal of the National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense (CAE-CD) program is to reduce vulnerability in our national information infrastructure by promoting higher education and research in cyber defense and producing professionals with cyber defense expertise. The CAE-CDE designation is for associate, bachelor’s, and graduate-level programs that meet the CAE-CD program’s stringent criterion. 
BSC is one of the higher education leads for Governor Doug Burgum’s K-20W cyber education in North Dakota, and offers an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Cybersecurity and Computer Networks, a Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) in Cybersecurity and Information Technology and 11 certificate and industry certification programs.
“There is a critical shortage of professionals with cybersecurity skills and the national cyber strategy highlights the importance of higher education as a solution,” says Volk. “Our polytechnic education model of degrees built by stacking industry certifications is perfect for training cyber professionals at any level, whether they are traditional-age college students or industry professionals looking to advance their skills and career.”
In July 2018, BSC entered into an educational partnership with global cybersecurity leader Palo Alto Networks expanding the college’s cyber education programs and enabling BSC to scale online and classroom cybersecurity offerings. In Fall 2024, BSC will open its new Polytechnic Advanced Technology Center, which will include a Security Operations Center (SOC), a unique digital environment with a mission to promote and advance the digital economy.
“BSC will continue to be the leader in North Dakota, as well as nationally, for cybersecurity resources and education,” says BSC President Doug Jensen. “The student-operated SOC is designed to train students in cybersecurity, giving them a real-world, hands-on experience as security analysts and security engineers under the leadership of a SOC manager.”
To learn more about BSC’s cyber education programs visit