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Educators Call for Cyber Pros To Teach Part Time

Adjunct teaching benefits students and instructors.

A panel of cyber educators today encouraged subject matter experts in the military and industry to teach cybersecurity part time.

The panel enthusiastically embraced the suggestion from an audience member at the AFCEA Cyber Education Research and Training Symposium on May 11 in Augusta, Georgia.

Col. Sharon Hamilton, USA (Ret.), associate vice president of strategic partnerships at Norwich University, encouraged those in the Department of Defense (DoD) to serve as adjunct instructors. Norwich already has adjuncts from the National Security Agency (NSA). “Every one of you out there who is in DoD now, or who has been in DoD, you can be an adjunct at our schools,” she said, adding that the school is now reaching out to the service cyber components as well.

The retired colonel also offered a suggestion for those with limited time. “With these virtual courses, you can help co-create a new course or update a course because you have recent, relevant knowledge and experience. We welcome any experienced adjuncts, even if it’s just to come in and teach a module,” she said. “That’s how one of our schools built its reverse engineering course and then went on to win the NSA codebreaker challenge for two years after that.”

And those adjunct teachers benefit as well. “It also helps you, perhaps in your next career, if you’d like to put that you have university experience,” she said.

Gail Volz, cybersecurity instructor, Augusta Tech Cyber Institute, agreed. “I would second that. My first teaching gig with Augusta Technical College was as an adjunct. We have many adjunct instructors at Augusta Technical College who are currently in the military or working in private industry here.”

Volz suggested another benefit for part-time teachers. “One of our adjuncts is from industry, and he uses it as a way to find talent. He gets people to come and work at his company.”

Some might feel the arrangement is not fair, Volz suggested before expressing disagreement. “He gives us a service of being an adjunct, and he gets to see the fresh talent coming through our programs.”

Volz then offered another motivation. “I would definitely suggest it’s an awesome way to just give back to the community.”

Nanette Barnes, director of career, technical and cyber education with the Richmond County School System, also agreed. “Yes, definitely, we would take a part-time teacher. We have ways of being able to have persons from industry come in to teach our students part time or half of the semester or half of the year,” she said. “We can take people who have that skill set that we need because we do so many things, especially with the cyber piece.”

She added that the school system just had 10 students pass “security plus” and could use help in that area. They also offer cyber summer camps. “So, please see me,” she said.

Drew Hamilton, director of the Texas A&M University Cybersecurity Center and professor of computer science and engineering, reported that his university doesn’t use the term adjuncts but does have an interesting arrangement with the schoolhouse at Keesler Air Force Base, which requires some students to learn about DoD Directive 8570, which is designed to tag, identify, track and manage the cybersecurity workforce.

“Frankly, educators can do it better than some of these fly-by-night, $3,000-a-head training companies,” Hamilton asserted.

The students go to Keesler and interact with senior noncommissioned officers and young commissioned officers, who are “outstanding role models,” Hamilton says. “Our students get a directive study credit out of it. And two of my master’s students are joining the Keesler civil service and the instructor staff down there, so I feel like we’re making a contribution to the Air Force.”

Col. Hamilton drove the point home. “You can have an impact, everybody in here,” she declared.

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