As cyber threats rise globally, St. John’s University is taking the lead in preparing its students for the challenges of the future.
On Monday, December 5, The Lesley H. and William L. Collins College of Professional Studies (CCPS) celebrated a pair of honors bestowed on the Division of Computer Science, Mathematics, and Science that experts say will enhance the quality of student education now and in the future. The division’s Bachelor of Science degree program in Computer Science has received accreditation from the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, Inc. (ABET), while the Bachelor of Science degree program in Cyber Security Systems has been validated by the National Security Agency (NSA) as a program of study through the academic year 2027.
Together, officials said, the two honors enhance the University’s academic standing in fields that are becoming increasingly essential in a complex and interconnected world.
“Accreditation is expensive, complicated, and time-consuming,” said Simon G. Møller, Ph.D., Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, University Distinguished Professor, and Provost Endowed Chair. “But it’s a really great process to go through in which we can critically evaluate ourselves and identify the things on which we can improve.”
“I know this accreditation process will help our students immensely,” Dr. Møller continued. “There is no limit to CCPS and what it can accomplish.”
Both initiatives date back to 2019, when Joan E. DeBello, Ed.D., Associate Professor, Mathematics and Computer Science, and Chair, Division of Computer Science, Mathematics, and Science, and Geoffrey N. Dick, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Division of Computer Science, Mathematics, and Science, recognized the value of global recognition of the computer science and cyber security systems curricula.
“It was a long journey that lasted at least four years,” said Dr. Dick, who is also an ABET Commissioner with years of experience in accreditation. “It involved many people. Until now, I had never seen a program go through the process unblemished—and that is an incredible accomplishment.”
Dr. DeBello said the ABET accreditation for the computer science program demonstrates to industry professionals that St. John’s graduates have met or bettered universal subject matter standards. It also shows the University has employed current best practices in computer science education and performed essential curriculum assessments.
“It was a joint effort, and every person in our division and the College took part,” Dr. DeBello said.
The NSA designation, meanwhile, demonstrates that the University’s cyber security systems curriculum has established standards of student excellence, and that it consistently looks for solutions to challenges in cybersecurity education. It also means the program has met NSA standards for protection of the nation’s information infrastructure.
The biggest beneficiaries of both honors will, of course, be new St. John’s graduates, who will be ideally equipped to pivot from college students to working professionals in industries that are brimming with possibilities. A leading cybersecurity think tank recently noted that 3.4 million hires are needed to fill the current employment gap in the industry.
“These honors say that I come from a school that truly cares about its students and prepares them with skills that will apply to real-world work,” said junior Raymond Ramdat. “That, to me, is the purpose of college.”