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UMFK among the top schools in the nation at the forefront of integrating information assurance curriculum

November 28, 2003

NR03183

The University of Maine at Fort Kent is among the top schools in the nation at the forefront of integrating a new curriculum that addresses the growing issue of security of information and data in an era of burgeoning technology.

Under the leadership of Raymond Albert, associate professor of computer science and Tony Gauvin, assistant professor of E-commerce, UMFK is not only among the few colleges and universities in the country currently integrating a strong information assurance curriculum, but the expertise of the faculty members is quickly being sought out by other campuses.

Information assurance is quickly coming of age as an academic discipline. As a result of recent events, including September 11, and ongoing issues such as identity theft, many government, military and commercial agencies have a great need for college graduates with knowledge and skills in computer and network security, cryptography and security violation detection and response.

Several national efforts are underway to increase the number of information assurance educators and graduates. Key funding agencies for these efforts include the National Security Agency, the Department of Homeland Security, The National Science Foundation and the Department of Defense.

'Information Assurance provides another valuable field of study at UMFK for students in public safety administration, E-commerce, computer applications and many other degree programs. Information Assurance is multi-disciplinary and I envision many faculty and staff participating in the educational experience. It also provides new opportunities for funded research for both students and faculty at UMFK,' said Gauvin.

The two UMFK faculty members are both recent graduates of the Information Assurance Education Graduate Certification Program at the Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security at Indiana's Purdue University.

Since returning to UMFK after the summer session, Albert and Gauvin have been developing curriculum in support of the new multi-disciplinary concentration in information assurance along with other possible endeavors that may develop in the near future.

'As our society moves deeper into the Information Age, information assurance issues such as privacy and security are receiving increasing interest. More companies, organizations and the public in general are actively seeking the knowledge and skills needed to protect their information assets and 'survive' in this very dynamic environment,' said Albert. 'The new information assurance concentration of the UMFK computer applications program has been designed to specifically address such concerns and interests.'

The Fort Kent faculty members' pioneering work has more recently led to an invitation by their counterparts at the University of Maine to discuss the current state of information assurance awareness, education and research and those programs and institutions that are supporting ongoing efforts in this new academic discipline.

On November 19, the two UMFK faculty members shared their expertise in the area of information assurance with their colleagues at the state's flagship campus in an event hosted by the newly developed Homeland Security Lab on the Orono campus.

'I am delighted to have the opportunity to share the state of information assurance education with our colleagues at the University of Maine. The efforts and progress they have made with the establishment of the Homeland Security Lab are clearly related to our efforts in Information Assurance education and I am excited about the new opportunities for collaboration that are a result of these advances,' said Albert.

Among the areas covered by Albert and Gauvin at U-Maine were considerations for a curriculum for information assurance education, a specific presentation on the new program at UMFK, national funding efforts and an open discussion on possible collaborative projects between the two campuses in the area of information assurance.

'Having been a graduate student at U-Maine, it was gratifying to be asked to speak on my current research at the Homeland Security Lab seminar series. The research and work Ray and I have completed and continue in the area of information assurance is a natural collaboration for the Homeland Security Lab and it will be enjoyable to work with former colleagues at U-Maine,' said Gauvin.

Following their presentation, Albert and Gauvin were invited to join the membership of the Homeland Security Lab.

For more information on information assurance education opportunities at UMFK, visit the website at www.umfk.maine.edu/academics/programs/cos/about/.