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College of Engineering and Computing

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Crichigno and Brookshire developing curriculum to improve technology education

By Leigh Thomas | March 26, 2020

Jorge Crichigno (Principal Investigator) and Robert Brookshire (Co-Principal Investigator) of the College of Engineering and Computing have been awarded a $300,000 grant designed to enhance education and training for careers in information technology.

The award is from the National Science Foundation and will be used by the Integrated Information Technology (IIT) Department to help prepare learners for 21st century information technology jobs. Through this project, Crichigno and Brookshire will collaborate with Stanly Community College and the Network Development Group in North Carolina to develop a curriculum that will teach core IT and cyber concepts and hands-on skills using virtual laboratories, preparing students for the job market. The project will enrich secondary-school, two-year and four-year programs with courses also to be offered at Fort Jackson.

The material will cover high-demand fields such as networking, platform technologies and cybersecurity. To support learning, the project team will develop an online cloud that will enable information sharing and the use of virtual laboratories. Pilot tests will be conducted in the Carolinas, with the potential to be scaled and deployed nationally. The project has the support of technology companies such as Cisco Systems, VMware, Palo Alto Networks and Red Hat, which will contribute with licenses and virtual appliances to supplement the coverage of theoretical concepts with the use of professional tools and platforms.

This is a three-year project supported by the National Science Foundation’s Advanced Technological Education Program with the ultimate goal of increasing capacity in the information technology job pipeline.

Crichigno said, “This project will enhance UofSC’s curriculum in the IIT Department with a concentration in cybersecurity. It will create courses that are more hands-on, teaching theory but also partnering with tech companies to allow to students to apply theory in a virtual hands-on environment.”

This work will build on a previous grant project nearing completion where Crichigno was involved in development of the first cybersecurity concentration in an ABET-accredited Bachelor degree program in New Mexico. It will address cybersecurity education and workforce development needs in an underserved region that houses national laboratories and private and public industries.


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