Chair’s Message | What Does It Mean to Be a School?

Oct. 16, 2020

Dear GT Cybersecurity and Privacy community,  

An academic school represents Georgia Tech’s permanent commitment to students and alumni to build a community of learners and advancing innovation. My hope is that the School of Cybersecurity and Privacy will squarely focus on this vision. A top goal must be to offer degrees and other credentials that map to new careers and roles in the cybersecurity industry. The culture we embrace now will be shared with new and current students, alumni, professors, and partners who will come to think of SCP as their home at Georgia Tech. 

We will shape the school to draw in professionals at all levels skilled in technology, business, policy and practice. We will provide specialized training and credentials for professionals to succeed in their existing or new career paths and help fill the 400K+ vacant cybersecurity jobs in the United States.  

Is this ambitious? Yes, but Georgia Tech and the College of Computing have national credibility earned by a long history of educational innovation. I look forward to discussing with you how SCP fits into the Institute’s plans for continuing to influence the course of higher education. 

If you’ve followed the growth of Cybersecurity and Privacy at Georgia Tech over the last two decades, you already know about our commitment to shaping the field. The MS in Cybersecurity was established in 2002 and the Online MS in Cybersecurity (OMS Cybersecurity) will turn 2 years old in January. Combined they will enroll almost 1,000 students. 

The ECE Thread in Cybersecurity opens a highly regarded degree to undergraduates. Cybersecurity students in Computer Science combine threads to match their career interests. Ph.D. students across the campus take courses in cybersecurity and privacy. Along with these degrees, we are committed to future course offerings that bolster cybersecurity undergraduate education in the School of Public Policy and the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs. Georgia Tech Professional Education offers cybersecurity courses and certificates to mid-career professionals. SCP will give us the opportunity to build on all these programs.  

This summer, Rahim Millious became OMS Cybersecurity’s first graduate. Rahim’s story is an example of how Georgia Tech is already shaping the industry landscape.   

In Rahim’s own words: “More than ever, individuals share a massive amount of data, and without the advances in cybersecurity to go along with the advances in technology, there will be an ever-growing gap, which puts everyone at risk.”  

From our vantage point at the beginning of this venture in the Fall of 2020, it’s hard to imagine a stronger case for a school dedicated to cybersecurity and privacy, but I’m sure that the hundreds of alumni who will follow Rahim will in their own voices lend support for the vision of the school.  

I spoke with the GT Computing Advisory Board Thursday outlining some of the prospects and goals we have for the new school and was encouraged by their engagement. I will share their thoughts with you in subsequent messages from the chair. Let me tell you, however, that Dean Isbell’s advisors are enthusiastic.  

We must think creatively and be deliberate in fostering partnerships with faculty, students, and industry to build the appropriate curriculum to train cybersecurity’s future practitioners and leaders. Towards that effort, the new school’s executive committee, led by School of Computer Science Professor Mustaque Ahamad, and a newly established advisory board for the school, led by GT Computing alumna Phyllis Schneck, Vice President and Chief Information Security Officer at Northrop Grumman, will be crucial to this process. 

Students, as we know, are at the heart of all our activities, and this month we are sharing some of the experiences of students in the cybersecurity degree programs as part of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. We are posting these to GaTechCyber on Twitter. Give us a follow and learn more about what our students are learning.  

And please join us for what is sure to be an electric panel discussion on Oct. 22 on “Creating a Cybersecurity Culture in an Organization”. Join on BlueJeans on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020, 10:30 – 11:30 AM EDT. 


Richard DeMillo  
Charlotte B. and Roger C. Warren Chair of Computing 
Chair, School of Cybersecurity and Privacy  


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Follow me on Twitter @rad_atl and @richde