NCCU Designated as Center of Academic Excellence for Cyber Defense

Posted August 25, 2023, 11:59AM

University is first HBCU in Triangle region and second in state to receive distinction

North Carolina Central University (NCCU) has been designated a Center of Academic Excellence (CAE) for Cyber Defense by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security. This prestigious recognition highlights NCCU's commitment to excellence in cybersecurity education, research and workforce development.

The CAE designation is awarded to academic institutions that meet stringent criteria set forth by the NSA. These criteria include demonstrating a robust curriculum in cybersecurity and related fields, engaging in impactful research and innovation, fostering collaboration with industry and government partners and contributing to the advancement of the cybersecurity workforce.

NCCU has consistently demonstrated its dedication to equipping students with the knowledge and skills required to address the ever-evolving challenges in cybersecurity. Through its comprehensive curriculum which integrates theoretical knowledge with hands-on practical experience, NCCU prepares students to become competent cybersecurity professionals capable of safeguarding critical information systems and networks.

By receiving the CAE designation, NCCU joins an elite group of institutions recognized for their excellence in cyber defense education. This designation serves as a testament to NCCU’s commitment to staying at the forefront of cybersecurity education and research.

"We are thrilled to be designated as a Center of Academic Excellence for Cyber Defense," said Deanne Cranford-Wesley, Ph.D., director of NCCU’s Cybersecurity Lab. "This recognition validates the hard work and dedication of our faculty, staff, and students in promoting cybersecurity education and research. It also underscores our ongoing commitment to producing highly skilled professionals who can address the complex cybersecurity challenges of the modern world." 

NCCU is the first historically Black college or university (HBCU) in North Carolina’s Triangle region and the second in the state to receive this designation. Only 12% of four-year universities in the United States have received this designation. 

“We are thrilled to have been granted the CAE honor for our cybersecurity program at NCCU, said Anthony Nelson, Ph.D., NCCU School of Business dean. “This recognition further solidifies our commitment to providing the highest level of education in this vital field, and we look forward to continuing to prepare our students for successful careers in the ever-evolving world of cybersecurity." 

As a designated CAE, NCCU will continue to collaborate with industry partners, government agencies, and other academic institutions to develop cutting-edge cybersecurity solutions, enhance the curriculum, and provide experiential learning opportunities for students. This collaboration will not only benefit the institution but also contribute to the overall cybersecurity landscape, helping to fortify the nation's critical infrastructure and protect sensitive information.

For more information about NCCU's cybersecurity programs and initiatives, please visit the School of Business' cybersecurity website or contact Dr. Deanne Cranford-Wesley at [email protected].

A complete list of all CAE-designated institutions is available on the CAE Community website,

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