2023 Leading Cybersecurity Programs and Instructors Announced by EC-Council

TAMPA, Fla., Feb. 20, 2024 — EC-Council announced its 2023 Academia award winning partners and instructors that have had a lasting impact on Cybersecurity education and student success. The award recipients include a diverse group of institutions and faculty across North America, selected from nearly 2,000 academic institutions of higher education that provide cybersecurity education.

Acknowledging Leading Cybersecurity Education Programs

The EC-Council Academia division supports K-12, community college, and university programs to aid in providing state-of-the-art cybersecurity technologies and opportunities to obtain globally respected industry certifications. Students graduate from these programs with the skills needed to protect digital assets – helping to address the workforce gap as there is estimated to be 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity positions in 2025. Many EC-Council Academia partners, to include over 175 National Centers for Academic Excellence (or NCAEs), impart these skills through traditional classroom-based instruction, but also through Capture-the-Flag competitions, summer camps, clubs and student interest groups, and accelerated courses. EC-Council’s Academia Partner program supports faculty with the topics and modality of their chosen learning environment. These institutions have been nimble with the requirements demanded by the workforce to ensure that students are getting the skills they need for the demands of today’s employers.

The 2023 award winning institutions include:

Academia Partner of the Year Award winner:

University of Maryland Global Campus (Adelphi, MD)

Academia Circle of Excellence Award winners:

University of Phoenix (Phoenix, AZ)

Collin College (Frisco, TX)

ECPI University (Virginia Beach, VA)

Purdue University Northwest (Hammond, IN)

Miami Dade College (Miami, FL)

Academia Best Newcomer of the Year Award winner:

Keyin College (St. John’s, NL)

These prestigious partners have shown tireless dedication to cybersecurity education and their students. Here is what they had to say about their programs and EC-Council partnership.

“The values and criteria of the selection process directly reflect the mission of preparing students for EC-Council certifications, graduation and the workforce,” said Dr. Calvin Nobles, vice president and dean of UMGC’s School of Cybersecurity and Information Technology. “The noteworthy quantity of UMGC students actively pursuing EC-Council certifications stands as a testament to our unwavering dedication to equipping students with the skills most esteemed by prospective employers.”
“Receiving the EC-Council 2023 Academia Circle of Excellence Award for the fifth consecutive year is a source of immense pride for us. In this moment of recognition, we extend our gratitude to the working adult learners in the cybersecurity field, whose commitment propels our pursuit of excellence in education,” states Kathryn Uhles, dean, College of Business and Information Technology at the University of Phoenix. “Acknowledging the dynamic nature of this industry, our meticulously crafted curriculum is designed in collaboration with EC Council to empower students to learn new skills and cultivate an eagerness to evolve with industry. This accolade reinforces our dedication to creating a lasting impact on our students and their communities while doing our part to address the widening skills gap in industry.”
Damien Smith, our Program Director of Cybersecurity at Collin College writes, “We are honored to receive the ‘2023 Academic Circle of Excellence’ Award from the EC-Council. This acknowledgment underscores our steadfast commitment to cybersecurity education and ongoing program development. It is gratifying to be recognized on an international stage. Our appreciation extends to our dedicated faculty and shared values, facilitating the molding of cybersecurity leaders at Collin College.”
“We are absolutely thrilled to receive your message and the exceptional news it brings. It is with immense pride that we acknowledge Keyin College’s selection for the ‘2023 Academic Best Newcomer’ Award by the EC-Council Academic division. This honor is a testament to the dedication and innovative spirit that our institution embodies, especially within the realm of cybersecurity education. Being recognized in such a manner not only validates our efforts but also inspires us to further our commitment to excellence in nurturing our students and contributing positively to our community. The significance of being the sole recipient of the Best Newcomer Award in North America is not lost on us, and we are deeply grateful for this distinction. We look forward to continuing our partnership with the EC-Council and remain dedicated to setting benchmarks in cybersecurity education and training. Thank you for acknowledging our efforts and for this prestigious recognition,” says Craig Tucker, President of Keyin College.

Recognizing Leading Cybersecurity Faculty

Institutions of higher learning would not exist without dedicated faculty members. At EC-Council, we recognize these faculty members for the profound mark they leave on the cybersecurity community through their work with those seeking to learn. Selected from approximately 1,000 partnered institutions in North America, Instructor Award recipients are selected based on the nominee’s impact on teaching, an assessment of their instruction, student experiences, leadership, and engagement with the cybersecurity community at large.

The 2023 award winning instructors include:

Academia Instructor of the Year Award winner:

Nicole Dyess of Eastern Florida State College (Palm Bay, FL)

Academia Instructor Circle of Excellence Award winners:

Dr. Diego Tibaquirá of Miami Dade College (Miami, FL)

Matthew Frederickson of Bucks County Community College (Newtown, PA)

Ronald C. Rabello de Castro of Purdue University Northwest (Hammond, IN)

Dr. James Freedle of Collin College (Frisco, TX)

The honored instructors shared their thoughts regarding their awards. These instructors have shown innovation in approach, and their unwavering commitment to their students was clear from their statements.

“I am profoundly honored to receive the Academic Instructor of the Year Award in Cybersecurity Education from the EC-Council Academic division. This esteemed recognition stands as a testament to the collective efforts of my dedicated students, colleagues, and the entire Space Coast Florida cybersecurity community. My passion lies in equipping students with hands-on, real-world activities and providing unwavering support during capture the flag events. The journey to build a thriving cyber defense community with my students has been incredibly fulfilling. Witnessing the professional growth and personal development of my students as they navigate their academic and professional paths has been the most rewarding aspect of this endeavor. It has become a personal mission to facilitate and inspire my students to lead and expand their skills in the rapidly evolving field of cybersecurity. Through innovative teaching methods and fostering a collaborative learning environment, I am committed to preparing them for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. I am sincerely grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the cybersecurity education landscape and to play a role in shaping the future of talented individuals entering this dynamic field. This award serves as motivation to continue my dedication to excellence in education and cybersecurity, and I look forward to furthering the impact of our collective efforts in the years to come. Thank you to the EC-Council Academic division for this honor, and to everyone who has been part of this journey.” Nicole Dyess, Professor, Program Manager for the Eastern Florida State College Center for Cybersecurity & Digital Forensics

“It is an honor and a privilege to receive this award, but I accept it in the name of my students, who benefit from all the work we do. Our top priority is getting our students ready for the workforce and becoming our next line of defense in CyberSecurity.” Dr. Diego Tibaquirá, Professor of Computer Science with a concentration in CyberSecurity and Cloud Computing at Miami Dade College Padrón Campus

“I am profoundly honored to receive the EC-Council 2023 Academic Instructor Circle of Excellence Award, a recognition that resonates deeply with the ethos of Bucks County Community College. This award is a testament to the exceptional programs offered by EC-Council, which have been instrumental in enriching our curriculum and empowering our students with cutting-edge cybersecurity knowledge and skills. The unwavering support and dedication of our students and faculty have been pivotal in leveraging these resources to their fullest potential. 

Together, we celebrate this achievement and reaffirm our dedication to advancing cybersecurity education and our shared mission to foster a safer digital world.” Matthew J. Frederickson, Faculty Instructor at Bucks County Community College

“It’s my pleasure and honor to receive this award. But my true award is the success of my students when they pass not only the CEH certification, but being successful in all that they do.” Ronald C. Rabello de Castro, Faculty Instructor at Purdue University Northwest

EC-Council Academia honors leading instructors and programs annually through the EC-Council Academia Partner Awards. We congratulate the winners for being selected for their respective awards, and for their successful programs. EC-Council is grateful to work with such dedicated faculty and staff, confident that the cybersecurity community is better because of their efforts. The Director of Academics at EC-Council, Wesley Alvarez, addresses all award recipients, stating, “Cybersecurity education needs to quickly evolve to cater to all working professionals, as well as the tip of the spear, managing threats and securing critical infrastructure. Skills-based competencies and hands-on education is mandatory now, and we strive to bring exposure to earlier ages as we know they are ready for it with the technologies they are already utilizing today. These award-winning programs and faculty have taken a multi-faceted approach to education, making learning engaging while ensuring the employability of their students with the skills they are acquiring.”

About EC-Council Academia

EC-Council, the inventor of Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) certification course and exam, has a mission to provide Cybersecurity education and certifications to students across the world to prepare them for their future careers. Founded in 2001, EC-Council offers over 200 different training programs and certifications – ranging from End-User Security to highly technical Penetration Testing to Information Security Management, and many other tactical courses. Recognized under the US Department of Defense 8140/8570 and an ISO/IEC 17024 Accredited Organization, EC-Council holds these and many other distinctions and accreditations by prestigious agencies worldwide – making EC-Council’s certification programs highly desirable and valued within the cybersecurity global communities.

The EC-Council Academia partner program offers free partnership opportunities to academic institutions globally. These partnerships establish cybersecurity ecosystems through education that support students, alumni, faculty, employees, and the local communities at large. Through established partnerships, academic institutions can access extensive discounts on learning resources, technologies, and certifications, offering students opportunities to obtain stackable credentials to become more competitive as they enter the workforce. The program also focuses on initiating faculty development, scholarships, and cyber competitions. To date, EC-Council supports upwards of 2,000 education networks and institutions globally. EC-Council Academia works with academic institutions at all levels, including over 175 National Centers of Academic Excellences (N-CAEs) as designated by the National Security Agency, contributing to certify tens of thousands of students annually with industry-leading credentials. For more information on EC-Council Academia, please visit www.eccouncil.org/academia.

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