Chair’s Message | Welcome to the Inaugural SCP Faculty Cohort

July 23, 2021

Dear Cybersecurity and Privacy community,

It’s a little unreal to think that full campus operations are finally restarting after more than a year of our community being away from campus. Many of you are back already and reacquainting yourself with a regular routine. After today, we’re exactly 20 business days out from the first day of classes (Aug 23).

At our first monthly faculty meeting of the new fiscal year on Tuesday it was a genuine pleasure to see so many of you come out to Coda in midtown, and it wasn’t all business. It felt more like a homecoming of sorts, capping off a long ramp-up to create the school, which we announced last September.

You could say we crossed the finish line to becoming operational as a school with the start of the new fiscal year on July 1. We now have a home in Coda (on the 5th, 9th, and 10th floors) ready to welcome faculty, students, and staff. And more importantly, we have our inaugural cohort of faculty ready to move in. We are still in the process of deciding how to reconfigure the school for our new expanded space, but for now, the old IISP reception area on the 9th floor is serving as the department reception area too.

I am super excited to officially introduce you to the inaugural faculty and academic staff in the School of Cybersecurity and Privacy:

  • Mustaque Ahamad
  • Annie Antón (pending)
  • Sasha Boldyreva
  • Courtney Crooks (pending)
  • Rich DeMillo
  • Merrick Furst
  • Daniel Genkin (accepted effective 8/21)
  • Sy Goodman
  • Karl Grindal (post-doc)
  • Taesoo Kim
  • Vlad Kolesnikov
  • Nadiya Kostyuk (pending)
  • Joseph Jaeger (accepted effective 8/21)
  • Jae Hyuk Lee (post-doc; pending)
  • Wenke Lee
  • Lee Lerner (pending)
  • Frank Li
  • Jon Lindsay (accepted effective 8/21)
  • Vijay Madisetti
  • Sukarno Mertoguno
  • Milton Mueller
  • Sangdon Park (post-doc; pending)
  • Paul Pearce
  • Brendan Saltaformaggio
  • Peter Swire (pending)
  • Erkam Uzun (post-doc; pending)
  • Wen Xu (post-doc)

There are three additional names that I hope to add to our inaugural roster soon. I will update you as soon as possible. I will also make a more formal introduction to our new faculty members, Jon Lindsay, who is coming to us from the University of Toronto where he is an associate professor in the Munk School of Global Affairs, Joseph Jaeger who is currently a post-doc at the University of Washington, Mike Specter who will be graduating this summer from MIT and taking a year to post-doc at Google, and Daniel Genkin who is currently on the faculty of the University of Michigan.

You will notice another new addition. The Center for Deliberate Innovation (CDI) has moved to SCP. Led by Distinguished Professor Merrick Furst, CDI represents our commitment to entrepreneurial cybersecurity. Watch for Merrick and a fuller description of CDI programs and activities on the SCP website. The CDI Studio will be on the north end of the 5th floor SCP suite.

There was an incredible amount of energy and goodwill poured into the creation of this school. Your faculty contributed selflessly to spinning up an academic department from scratch. It was an unprecedented effort. I want to thank Mustaque for chairing the Executive Committee process that led to the creation of Curriculum, Recruiting, and Faculty Affairs committees. Mustaque was a tireless presence, and I am grateful for his service. Peter Swire took responsibility for the creation of the SCP Faculty Handbook, which will be a guide to future faculty and administrators. I asked Peter to document how we work. The result, which represents many hours of analysis and rounds of revisions and editing can be found on the SCP website. The Curriculum Committee, led by Sy Goodman and Annie Antón, focused on the creation of undergraduate learning experiences, beginning with threads in both ECE and Computing. This work will continue for the foreseeable future as we define and expand the boundaries of the field. Wenke Lee led the Faculty Recruiting Committee, whose success can be seen in the number of new colleagues in our inaugural roster. I thought this year would be a market test. It was. We exceeded expectations in both the number and quality of candidates who applied for positions in SCP. Thanks to everyone who generously donated time and effort to building the school.

Kenya Payton, Trinh Doan, Gloria Griessman, and Josh Preston took on extraordinary workloads with generous help from Elizabeth Ndongi and Sue Jean Chae to help the growing need for faculty support. Elizabeth is moving to a new role in SCS, and Kenya will provide backup support until a new position can be posted. Tiffany Ntuli will help us with academic program support and the transfer of SCS PhD students to SCP as we search for a new person for academic program support.

You will also see new Associate Chairs over the coming weeks. I already announced Sasha Boldyreva as the AC for Graduate Education. She is your go-to faculty member for all things having to do with the PhD program. Services for Master’s students and professional education are in the works. Other ACs will be announced soon.

As usual, faculty meetings will take place on the third Tuesday of every month from 11 am – 12 pm. You can see the slides from this week’s meeting here. Finally, we will hold a faculty retreat at the start of the fall semester to set hiring priorities for next year.

I am incredibly excited to see the progress we all have made in building our new school. As we filter back to campus, I hope you will stop in to say “hi” and talk about how we can be as successful as possible.

For students, new and returning alike, my school chair’s open office hours resume on Fridays starting Aug. 27. We will stick with a virtual format for the time being with details coming next week. Students have the mic at these sessions, so please take advantage of that.

What’s ahead? I’ll be focusing on students fall semester. I have heard from many of you about ways you want to engage with SCP — everything from new student-led clubs and organizations to career planning and advising. There is even a proposal for a student-managed cyber range.

You can also check out our first research news coverage in the school (if you’ve gotten your fill of Pegasus spyware headlines). The GT news is about an open-source malware forecasting and ranking tool and is just one of many examples of where our experts are continuing to make an impact.

Sincerely,

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

Visit me at www.demillo.com
Follow me on Twitter @rad_atl and @richde