Gannon University Launches New Venture in Secure Intelligent Systems Design: New Cyber Engineering and Cybersecurity Programs in Cutting Edge I-HACK Center
Posted: November 19, 2018
Gannon University's College of Engineering and Business is
launching two new programs, cybersecurity and cyber engineering and
creating an Institute for Health and Cyber Knowledge (I-HACK) in
the 100,000-square-foot Knight Tower.
Students in the cyber programs will have the opportunity to earn
a bachelor's degree in either area, and a criminal justice major
can earn a minor in cybersecurity, beginning in the fall of
The decision to create these programs was driven by the faculty
who seized a unique opportunity to capitalize on the University's
exceptional electrical, software and computer engineering and
computer and information science majors. More importantly, however,
the program was designed to meet the growing needs of today's
national and global job markets and take the regional expertise to
a new level, leading the engineering and design realm of the
According to a report by Cybersecurity Ventures, by the year
2021 it is estimated that cybercrime damage will exceed $6 trillion
in expenses annually. Perhaps just as surprising, however, is the
prediction it makes regarding new employment opportunities; the
report predicts that roughly 3.5 million vacant positions globally
are expected by the same year.
Fong Mak, Ph.D. professor of electrical and computer engineering
and interim program director for the new cyber programs, spoke to
the significance of these statistics.
"The entire world has just begun engaging with what they call
the 'Industrial Revolution 4.0,' and cybersecurity, AI applications
and the internet of things are major parts of the process," he
said. "The marketplace is desperate for talent with these
technical, design and creative skills, and Gannon will be preparing
students to meet that demand."
Students will have the opportunity to develop high proficiency
in both cyber engineering, focused on the hardware-related
components, and cybersecurity, centered primarily on software, Mak
Vice President of Academic Affairs, Walter Iwanenko, Ph.D.,
clarified Gannon's decision to simultaneously launch both of these
programs and the I-HACK here in Erie,
"While there are other cyber security programs in the country
that focus more on the assessment and analysis aspects of
cybercrimes and systems, our programs set the bar as ABET
accredited programs for the design and creation of secure
intelligent systems from both the hardware and software
applications of cybersecurity," he said. "We want our students out
there designing systems, integrating robust secure systems and
protecting your personal and business information."
Accompanying the program launch is the new facility designed as
the Institute for Health and Cyber Knowledge, I-HACK, to be housed
in Gannon's Knight Tower. This new facility will consist of a
security-controlled hacking lab, cyber defense lab, engineering
labs, secure data center and two floors of flexible space to house
external industry partners.
While regional cyber security programs exist, Gannon will be the
first to meet the ABET's accreditation standards and to offer cyber
engineering as well, leading many to anticipate Gannon as the
forthcoming lead regional institution in cybersecurity and cyber
Students enrolled in the cyber programs will gain knowledge and
expertise in the areas of IT security, mobile security and
implementation, ethical hacking, cyber information security, data
security, information assurance, server and cloud security, among
others. Furthermore, graduates will find application in a wide
range of fields, including health care, hardware and software
design, security services, secure data storage and security
Iwanenko commented on the overall implications of the programs.
"The decision to commit to secure intelligent systems design will
impact students in majors across the University, including
healthcare, business, science, math and criminal justice," he said.
"These new programs are the first phase of a longer-term initiative
that will allow Gannon to continue as a leader in delivering
high-quality professional education and to be a stronger partner in
Erie's efforts to become a center of excellence in cybersecurity
and intelligent systems design."
For more information on the cybersecurity and cyber engineering
programs, see www.gannon.edu/i-hack.