Vargas Announces New Cybersecurity Facility, Accreditation From ABET

Sep 1, 2018

University president Carlos Vargas announced Aug. 31 that Southeast will introduce a designated space for cybersecurity majors. Missouri Governor Mike Parson (left) also spoke at the press conference.
Credit Joshua Dodge- Arrow Photo Editor

Southeast president Carlos Vargas announced at a press conference with Governor Mike Parson on Aug. 31, a room in Dempster Hall will be transformed into a cyber range, which will serve as a designated work place for cybersecurity majors as soon as the spring semester.

“It will provide an enhanced environment for specialized cybersecurity,” Vargas said. 

The range, to be located in Dempster Hall room 246, will be a work space for Southeast faculty and students to use for testing and training. 

Vargas said the cybersecurity program at Southeast is the only one in Missouri and one of 50 nationwide. 

Vargas announced the program has become one of four programs nationwide to receive accreditation from the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, Inc. (ABET). 

“This is significant because up until now there has been no program specific accreditation for cybersecurity programs,” Vargas said. 

Additionally, Vargas said Southeast’s Bachelor of Science in computer science has received reaccreditation by ABET. 

Parson was granted a brief tour of campus before the conference and spoke on the importance for the growing cybersecurity job market. 

“Cyber crime damages costs expect to be over 6 trillion dollars annually by the year 2021,” he said. “That’s up from 3 trillion in 2015. Cyber crime represents the greatest transfer of economic wealth in our history and will have more profitability than the global trade of all major illegal drugs combined.” **(see editor's note below)

In 2017 the Southeast cybersecurity program had $101,044 withheld, in response to statewide slashes in funding for higher education.

Parson said he was looking into ways to place money back into higher education. 

“One of the things we’ll look at and analyze is what amount of money that we are spending on any program, school, university,” he said. “What is the outcome of that, what are we getting as the end result. That’s important to me to figure out.”

Senior Connor McGarr, who attended the press conference, said he was excited for the space because he did not have a spot on campus to prepare for competitions and other extracurriculars. 

“We were working out of a closet for the last year,” McGarr said.

**Editor's Note: The governor's quote references research provided by Cybersecurity Ventures. The article is available hereThe research is referenced in the “number 1 fact” on the story which is available here.