Prime Role for CUNY in Cyber NYC

University Is a Partner in Bid to Make the City a Hub of Learning, Innovation in Cybersecurity

Prime Roke for CUNY in Cyber NYCThe City University of New York will play a major role in the implementation of Cyber NYC, a $30 million initiative announced by the New York City Economic Development Corp. (NYCEDC) to transform New York into a worldwide hub for cybersecurity innovation.

CUNY, part of a consortium of academic institutions that also includes Columbia, NYU and Cornell Tech, will take the lead in designing a multifaceted applied cybersecurity learning initiative, pairing academic and industry leaders and exposing students to a vital and rapidly emerging field that will count an estimated 3.5 million unfilled jobs by 2021, according to Cybersecurity Ventures.

The effort will include the development of industry-informed curricula and new instructional vehicles for their delivery; a Tech-in-Residence program that will pair students with top leaders from the tech sector, providing the tools to apply academic lessons to real-life industry needs; a citywide forum that brings academic and industry leaders together for a two-way conversation and the creation of a regional cybersecurity conference; and the development of a graduate program in Cybersecurity Studies at the Grove School of Engineering/City College of New York.

“The benefits of our participation in this crucial citywide effort will be felt on campuses across the University,” said Interim Chancellor Vita C. Rabinowitz. “The applied cybersecurity learning initiative will bring industry professionals into classrooms to give our students a real-life perspective. It will foster needed discourse, and engage our academic peers in vital discussion. Cyber NYC enables CUNY to expand offerings for adult learners and add learning opportunities, including a master’s degree program, equipping our diverse student population to work in this burgeoning field.”

Bridges to Industry

The first component of CUNY’s involvement will focus on the development of specialized educational units called stackable credentials. The courses, to be developed in partnership with NYU Tandon School of Engineering, will be self-standing modules that can provide continuing education for professionals and, potentially, be combined to form credit-bearing credentials toward a certification or degree. The courses’ scaled delivery, across multiple universities via global learning platform edX, will enable industry professionals in finance, health care, retail and media to keep abreast of rapidly changing cybersecurity hazards and practices.

Adding to a grant obtained last year from the New York City Department of Small Business Services, CUNY will enlist cybersecurity professionals to serve as adjuncts in an expanded Tech-in-Residence program, Tech-In-Residence Cyber Corps, bringing an array of courses that stress job-skills acquisition and deliver educational lessons within a real-life context. The program’s reach will be University-wide, but adjuncts will initially be deployed to campuses that provide cybersecurity courses including John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City College, New York City College of Technology, Queensborough Community College and Hunter College.

LaGuardia Community College will partner with software development school Fullstack Academy to lead an intensive cybersecurity boot camp. LaGuardia and its faculty will host a six-week preparatory course for adults who have limited exposure to information technology (IT), teaching the basics of industry software and terminology in preparation for the boot camp. The boot camps will arm New Yorkers with industry-targeted skills, and will aim to place more than 1,000 students in jobs over the first three years. Cyber NYC is expected to help spawn 10,000 good-paying jobs in the coming decade, providing an inlet to many New Yorkers from non-traditional backgrounds, particularly those from low-income families or who are otherwise disadvantaged.

The NYCEDC funds will seed the development of a new graduate studies program in cybersecurity, to be housed at the CCNY Grove School of Engineering (GSE). The master’s degree program will be launched as a fifth-year extension of the school’s existing B.S. in Computer Science and later grown into a stand-alone yearlong program, building on GSE’s record of providing industry-informed graduate studies such as its Masters in Translational Medicine program. Facebook, already an engaged GSE collaborator, has agreed to assist in the development of this valuable addition.

Finally, CUNY will create a citywide Cybersecurity Discipline Council, a new vehicle through which to address pressing issues and needs. The forum, which is expected to culminate in a full-scale, regional cybersecurity conference, will be another needed bridge provided by Cyber NYC to connect the academic and private sectors.

Other key objectives to be pursued in the NYCEDC cybersecurity initiative involve the creation of a cybersecurity-focused innovation center, Hub.NYC, in SoHo to aid tech startups, an aim that will be coordinated by the Israeli firm, Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP); a Global Cyber Center for industry collaborators, to be opened in Chelsea and coordinated by Israeli firm SOSA; and a technology transfer component, to be overseen by Columbia University, which will harness emerging technologies in the pursuit of cybersecurity measures and, by connecting the creators with experienced entrepreneurs, help shepherd the resulting properties to the private sector.