By Kelsey Kendall

Old Dominion University was recently named a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity (NCAE-C) for cyber research by the National Security Agency (NSA). Having already been recognized by the national entity for efforts in cyber operations and defense, ODU is now one of about a dozen institutions nationwide to receive all three NCAE-C designations.

This latest recognition highlights the University’s ongoing efforts to contribute high-impact, cross-disciplinary research in the School of Cybersecurity, such as cybersecurity policy, accessibility and healthcare systems. It also opens the door to new opportunities for funding and partnerships with federal agencies such as the NSA and the Department of Defense.

“This latest designation is well-deserved," said Brian Payne, interim provost and vice president of academic affairs. "I have seen the School of Cybersecurity grow into the robust program it is today. Old Dominion University has made it a widely respected school for cybersecurity research, academics and operations, providing opportunities for faculty and students to contribute to the field of cybersecurity nationwide.”

Daniel Takabi, director of the School of Cybersecurity, said ODU has made much progress in cybersecurity since the first program was launched in 2015 with 11 students. Now, there are more than 1,450 students in cybersecurity and cybercrime programs.

This latest designation “bolsters” ODU’s reputation in cybersecurity not just in the region, Takabi said, but across the country.

“It shows the great research that our faculty and students are doing, essentially showcasing our strong research program in different areas of cybersecurity,” Takabi said. “The evaluation is rigorous, looking at different factors related to research activities, and obviously we’ve been able to show that we exceeded the core requirements significantly.”

Institutions across the country that apply for the NCAE-C designation for cyber research are evaluated for their research activates, publications, number of faculty, Ph.D. programs and more.

"ODU is home to an outstanding group of experts conducting high-impact research and contributing to our greater understanding of cybersecurity in all areas of our communities," Kenneth Fridley, vice president of research, said. "I am proud of the work our cybersecurity faculty and students have done to innovate and take their research to new levels."

ODU received the National Center of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity for cyber operations and cyber defense in 2019 and 2023, respectively.