The University of West Florida Center for Cybersecurity recently partnered with the Florida Department of State and election officials across Florida to provide training for supervisors of elections and key personnel to enhance cybersecurity resiliency ahead of the 2018 elections. [Read more…] about University of West Florida partners with state and local election officials to enhance cybersecurity preparations
UNIVERSITY OF WEST FLORIDA
The Agency for State Technology (AST) is partnering with the University of West Florida (UWF) Center for Cybersecurity to provide cutting-edge cybersecurity education and training for state agency personnel and position Florida as a leader in cybersecurity resiliency and workforce development.
The program will integrate unique and innovative features and provide hands-on training and educational courses using face-to-face, online, and remote delivery to prepare state personnel to detect and protect against emerging cyber threats and attacks. The program will provide competency-based certifications to prepare state personnel for core cybersecurity work roles.
“As the threats evolve, we must continue to train our information security and technology resources. We hope our partnership with UWF will serve as a model for other states to not only provide advanced cyber training, but to offer on-going educational opportunities for state employees,” said AST Executive Director and State Chief Information Officer Eric Larson.
The initial training will commence today at the Florida Department of Revenue in Tallahassee and focus on cybersecurity awareness and fundamentals for AST personnel, state agency information security managers, and other information technology personnel. Additional topics will include cybersecurity incident management, network defense, operating system hardening, risk management, cloud security and other emerging topics.
“When we started the UWF Center for Cybersecurity, this is the type of partnership we envisioned,” said UWF President Martha D. Saunders. “Together, we will enhance the ability of state personnel to detect and defend against cyberattacks and fulfill our commitment to be a leader in cybersecurity education and training.”
The Florida Cyber Range and UWF Cybersecurity for All program will be used to provide training. The Florida Cyber Range is a state-of-the-art platform created through a partnership between the UWF Center for Cybersecurity and Metova CyberCENTS to provide advanced training and testing solutions for academic, government, military and industry use. Metova CyberCENTS is a leader in cyber simulators, ranges and training environments. The high-fidelity training environment can emulate the internet, replicate websites, integrate social media and support dynamic interjection of vulnerabilities.
The UWF Cybersecurity for All program provides innovative education and training on emerging topics via an online learning environment, customizable modules and hands-on activities using the Range. The program aligns with the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education Cybersecurity Workforce Framework and academic pathways. The program will significantly expand the cybersecurity workforce across the state and nation and increase the number of qualified cybersecurity professionals.
UWF will leverage its leadership role as the National Security Agency/Department of Homeland Security National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education and the NSA/DHS Cybersecurity Regional Resource Center for the Southeast U.S. to enhance cybersecurity workforce development for the state and region.
“We proudly support AST in its mission to protect Floridians’ information and access to government services,” said Dr. Eman El-Sheikh, UWF Center for Cybersecurity director. “This program will position Florida as a leader in cybersecurity resiliency and innovation, enhance higher education and research, and serve as a best practice model for cybersecurity workforce development.”
For more information on Florida Agency for State Technology, visit ast.myflorida.com.
For more information on the UWF Center for Cybersecurity, visit uwf.edu/cybersecurity.
For more information on the Florida Cyber Range, visit floridacyberrange.org.
The University of West Florida is celebrating the success of the 50th Anniversary Capital Campaign, which raised more than $64.4 million by almost 20,000 donors, including 55 planned gifts and nearly $18 million in scholarships.
“We are truly grateful for the generosity of the community we serve, the alumni we have graduated and the friends we have made over the years,” said UWF President Martha D. Saunders. “Their belief and willingness to contribute to the work we do has created a spirited community of learners launching the next generation of big thinkers who will change the world.”
The campaign’s priorities for areas of giving in alignment with the University’s future vision were outlined as follows: health sciences; science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM; business, economic development and valued partnerships; historic preservation, education and tourism; scholarships; and athletics.
In addition to surpassing its historic fundraising goal of $50 million, the campaign featured some of the largest gifts in the University’s history, including more than $5 million from Dr. Usha and Mahadeb Kundu to name the College of Health and another $5 million from Harold E. “Hal” Marcus to name the College of Science and Engineering.
“UWF has played a critical role in the success of Northwest Florida over the last 50 years,” said Mort O’Sullivan, chair of the UWF Board of Trustees and chair of the UWF 50th Anniversary Capital Campaign Executive Steering Committee. “We have a bright future ahead.”
Other notable gifts included $3.1 million from an anonymous donor to establish an endowment for need-based scholarships that will assist deserving students in their pursuit of the American Dream, and $1 million from Dr. Bob Kimball, UWF marketing and economics professor, to create the Bill and Ellie Kimball Memorial Undergraduate Scholarship Award in memory of his parents.
“Our donors believe in the transformative power of higher education and demonstrate it with their invaluable support,” said Howard J. Reddy, interim vice president for university advancement. “We thank them for their vital investment in helping move UWF forward.”
The University raised more than $48 million of the campaign’s total during its quiet phase, which launched in 2011. In 2012, Quint and Rishy Studer gave their first of two $1 million gifts, to fund the Pensacola Pledge Scholar Program. The second $1 million gift was given in July 2015, to develop the Center for Entrepreneurship.
Pen Air Federal Credit Union committed $1 million to name Pen Air Field, home of UWF football on the Pensacola campus, while $250,000 of a $770,000 legacy gift from the estate of John Thayer and Joan Ames Burr served as the lead gift for football, with the remainder supporting high impact and undergraduate research initiatives in the Hal Marcus College of Science and Engineering.
With the momentum gained from the 50th Anniversary campaign, the University is looking ahead to its future growth. One key upcoming development in the University’s future vision is the Innovation Campus Network, a “transformative university model” that will connect physical campus destinations along the Gulf Coast of Northwest Florida for innovation, collaboration, research and engaged learning to prepare students for the changing world and workforce of tomorrow. Among its main priorities, the Innovation Network will create “knowledge centers” fostering partnerships among UWF students and faculty, state colleges, industry experts, K-12 educators and the community, and providing enhanced opportunities for multidisciplinary learning, research and discovery relating to high demand career fields, such as cybersecurity, supply chain logistics, advanced manufacturing and STEAM.
The University of West Florida Center for Cybersecurity is partnering with Metova CyberCENTS to create the Florida Cyber Range from Metova’s CENTS® portfolio of cyber range simulators.
The range will be used for hands-on cybersecurity education, training, operations and research. This partnership provides a platform for the UWF Center for Cybersecurity and Metova CyberCENTS to proactively explore knowledge, technologies and tools to further advance cybersecurity regionally, nationally and globally.
The Florida Cyber Range will provide advanced training and testing solutions for academic, government, military and commercial organizations through various cybersecurity exercises and activities. The Florida Cyber Range will revolutionize cybersecurity education and operations within the state and position Florida to provide critical cybersecurity expertise for the nation.
“We are honored to partner with Metova CyberCENTS to launch the Florida Cyber Range,” said Dr. Eman El-Sheikh, director of the UWF Center for Cybersecurity. “The Florida Cyber Range provides a state-of-the-art environment to help cybersecurity students and professionals gain valuable practical skills to detect and defend against real world cyber-attacks. The range will help organizations differentiate themselves and prepare against emerging threats and attacks through innovative training experiences.”
The National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security designated UWF as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education and as the CAE Regional Resource Center for the Southeast U.S. In this role, the UWF Center for Cybersecurity provides leadership to advance cyber defense education among colleges and universities in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Puerto Rico, South Carolina and Tennessee.
The Florida Cyber Range is designed to provide a Tier 1 Cybersecurity Hub capable of providing services to institutions looking to expand their cybersecurity offerings.
“The Florida Cyber Range will complement expanding cybersecurity education, training and research initiatives by using real world situations to prepare against complex cyber-attacks,” El-Sheikh said. “The UWF Center for Cybersecurity will develop resources and models for integrating Florida Cyber Range exercises into education and training programs and will disseminate these resources regionally and nationally.”
Metova is the owner and developer of the Cyberoperations Enhanced Network and Training Simulators product line, which is a portfolio of Cyber Simulator and Range solutions. CENTS® solutions provide an integrated, Live-Virtual-Constructive cyber range environment for training, exercising and testing full-spectrum cyberspace capabilities. Metova’s cyber range products have been in development and production for over a decade. Taking input directly from cyber operators, beginning with the U.S. Air Force conducting Computer Network Defense exercises in 2001, Metova’s CENTS design has continued to evolve and progress from the first Department of Defense Cyber Range installation, the Joint Cyberspace Operations Range, to the premier cyber range platform currently used within the DoD.
“We envision a future public-private enterprise that will encourage cyber innovation and training, all while being supportive of entrepreneurship,” said Bill Dunn, president of Metova CyberCENTS. “Metova CyberCENTS is pleased to be joined by UWF in bringing the Florida Cyber Range to life, not only for the Cyber Coast, but for government, industry, universities and K-12 across Florida and the nation.”
For more information on the Florida Cyber Range, please visit floridacyberrange.org.
For more information on the UWF Center for Cybersecurity, visit uwf.edu/cybersecurity.
For more information on Metova CYBERCENTS, visit cybercents.com.
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The University of West Florida formally installed Dr. Martha Saunders as its sixth president during the inauguration ceremony held on April 21 at the UWF Center for Fine and Performing Arts.
“The inauguration of a new president is really a celebration of the university she serves,” Saunders said.
Trustees, faculty, staff, students, board members, community leaders and delegates from institutions across the globe attended the celebration, which included a reception at UWF on the Emerald Coast on Tuesday, a distinguished guests reception on Thursday evening and an inauguration procession, ceremony and reception on Friday. Honored guests included Marshall Criser III, chancellor of the State University System of Florida, Madeline Pumariega, chancellor of the Florida College System, the Honorable Ashton Hayward, mayor of the City of Pensacola, Connie Crosby, representative of first UWF president Harold Crosby, past president Dr. John Cavanaugh, and Drs. Morris Marx and Judy Bense, presidents emeriti.
“This is an extraordinary day for the University of West Florida and I am thrilled to install Dr. Saunders as the sixth president of this remarkable institution,” said Mort O’Sullivan, chair of the UWF Board of Trustees. “She is the leader we need to take the University to the next level and help us grow our impact on our community, region, state and beyond.”
Saunders was selected as the sixth UWF president in September 2016, following a unanimous resolution passed by the Board of Trustees and confirmation by the Board of Governors in November. She assumed the role on Jan. 1, as the University launched its 50th Anniversary milestone celebration.
Saunders’ career in higher education began in 1984 at UWF, where she served as an instructor in the communication arts department. She quickly rose through the ranks, taking on roles including public relations program coordinator, director of the University Honors Program and dean for the College of Arts and Sciences.
Saunders also served as vice president for academic affairs at Columbus State University and as the first female chancellor for the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. She then led the University of Southern Mississippi as its first female president, before returning to UWF in 2013 as provost. In 2014, Saunders was appointed executive vice president at UWF, assuming the role as chief operating officer, in addition to chief academic officer and vice president for the Division of Academic Affairs.
Growth in enrollment, fundraising and campus structures were hallmarks of her previous leadership at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and the University of Southern Mississippi. Saunders envisions similar growth in those areas at UWF by increasing its physical presence in downtown Pensacola and Fort Walton Beach, investing in programs such as global online, cybersecurity and supply chain logistics and visiting local high schools to recruit talented students.
“I foresee a future when people arriving in this area will know they are in a university town because they can see it, hear it, feel it, experience it,” Saunders said. “ Our students will come to us fully confident in their choice because we will take them where they want to be.”
Saunders received a doctorate in communication theory and research from Florida State University. She earned a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and a bachelor’s degree in French from the University of Southern Mississippi.
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