The Cyber Innovation Center (CIC) in Bossier City, Louisiana received a $2.35 million grant from the Department of Homeland Security on April 17, 2012. This grant will enable the CIC to demonstrate the portability of Cyber Discovery. This demonstration is the first step in a national roll-out. “Our goal is to reach more than 2 million students and 15,000 teachers over the next 10 years. We’ll partner with over 60 universities and more than 800 high schools nationwide” says G.B. Cazes, Vice President of the Cyber Innovation Center.
Cyber Discovery is a highly integrated, team-based model for educating, motivating and retaining student interest in cyber-space, cyber-citizenship, information technology and security. The model works by empowering individual teachers through advanced and innovative curricular designs that make use of team-based learning in five core academic areas: engineering, liberal arts, mathematics, science, and technology/cyber.
The Cyber Discovery was created in partnership with Louisiana Tech University. “Louisiana Tech has been instrumental in developing dynamic and innovative content. This approach to integrated curriculum and emphasis on mentoring high school teachers is what makes our program so unique” says Cazes.
Louisiana Tech University has been a leader in integrated STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) curricula at the university level since the mid-1990’s. In 2004, The College of Engineering and Science expanded its offering by implementing professional development programs for high school teachers which included student teams from their schools. These programs led to the development of Cyber Discovery in 2008, and are the genesis of what we now call the Cyber Discovery Model. Louisiana Tech University has hosted Cyber Discovery on its campus since 2008.
This past summer, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano accompanied Senator Mary Landrieu on a tour of the Cyber Innovation Center. During their visit, both Landrieu and Napolitano learned about the regional impact of the CIC’s educational programs for K-12 schools systems, higher education and the community. According to Sen. Landrieu, “The Cyber Innovation Center serves as a model for the rest of the country on how to educate and train a cybersecurity workforce. In today’s high-tech and constantly evolving world, we must have innovative, integrated and bold protection against the dangers that exist in cyberspace. These funds will help the CIC continue fostering a skilled workforce and supporting the high-tech, high-growth sector, as well as educating young people and making them aware of what is needed to keep us safe.”
Funding for this grant is through the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity Education and Training Assistance Program. The model started locally, prosperously grew over the region, and has now been asked to spread throughout North America. The Program Chair for Cyberspace Science and Engineering at Louisiana Tech University, Dr. Galen Turner states, “Cyber Discovery is a national quality program that has a regional impact.”