The Marshall University Board of Governors (BOG) today approved plans for a graduate degree in cybersecurity, making Marshall one of the state’s first public universities to offer a master’s-level degree program in the emerging discipline.

The College of Information Technology and Engineering’s Weisberg Division of Computer Science will administer the new academic program set to begin in spring 2019.

Cybersecurity is one of the fastest-growing fields in the world, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting more than 200,000 unfilled positions in the United States alone.

“This area of study is critical to meeting the online security needs around the world,” said Dr. Jaime Taylor, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. “All of us are aware of the proliferation of cybersecurity events over the past few years and the havoc they create for businesses and individuals. We are pleased to offer the new Master of Science in cybersecurity, which will produce professionals capable of addressing these burgeoning issues.”

University officials say the new master’s program will also strengthen existing programs by creating exciting new pathways for students in existing bachelor’s programs across three of Marshall’s colleges, including computer science, technology management, digital forensics and information assurance, electrical and computer engineering, management information systems, and criminal justice.

In other action, the BOG approved an official name for the new graduate student housing facility under construction adjacent to the Erma Ora Byrd Clinical Center. The name, Fairfield Landing, pays tribute to the surrounding Fairfield West neighborhood and the university’s former football stadium, which was located in the area and was in use from 1928-1998. Leasing for the new facility will begin in January with occupancy slated for August 2019.

Additionally, the board approved naming a wellness classroom in Jenkins Hall the Dot Hicks Wellness Classroom in honor of retired professor, coach and benefactor Dr. Dorothy “Dot” Hicks. Hicks served the university for decades as a valued faculty member and continues to support the university through scholarships and other gifts.

The board also approved an investment earnings update, as well as a three-month financial report ending Sept. 30.

Three new board members, William A. Smith Sr., Geoffrey S. Sheils and H. Toney Stroud, were sworn in today by Cabell County Circuit Judge Chris Chiles. The three new members replace outgoing members Oshel Craigo, Michael Sellards and Joseph McDonie, who were commended for their service during the meeting.

Originally from Leah C. Payne for Marshall University Communications