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Press Release

UNM's Information Assurance Program Receives $1.67 Million NSF Grant

February 15, 2013

The Uni­ver­sity of New Mex­ico has received a five-year, $1.67 mil­lion grant from the National Sci­ence Foun­da­tion to pro­vide 18 schol­ar­ships for Master’s degree study in Infor­ma­tion Assur­ance (IA) and cyber-security at the Ander­son School of Man­age­ment. The project, titled “UNM Infor­ma­tion Assur­ance Schol­ar­ship for Ser­vice (SFS) Pro­gram,” is under the direc­tion of ASM Asso­ciate Pro­fes­sor and Prin­ci­pal Inves­ti­ga­tor Stephen Burd, and co-PI’s Alex Seazzu, direc­tor, UNM Cen­ter for Infor­ma­tion Assur­ance Research and Edu­ca­tion (CIARE), Jed Cran­dall, asso­ciate pro­fes­sor, Com­puter Sci­ence, and Elec­tri­cal Com­puter Engi­neer­ing Asso­ciate Provost and Chair Gre­gory Heileman.

Infor­ma­tion assur­ance includes tech­ni­cal aspects of com­puter and net­work secu­rity but extends them to include related areas such as data pro­tec­tion, pri­vacy, eco­nom­ics, fraud, audit­ing and effec­tive pro­tec­tion within the con­text of human behav­ior and mod­ern orga­ni­za­tions”, said Burd. “UNM’s infor­ma­tion assur­ance pro­gram pro­vides stu­dents with a mul­ti­dis­ci­pli­nary approach to infor­ma­tion assur­ance that lever­ages strong fac­ulty resources, research, and edu­ca­tional pro­grams in mul­ti­ple UNM departments.”

The pro­gram will pro­duce grad­u­ates who can suc­cess­fully apply IA con­cepts and tech­nol­ogy to directly address tech­ni­cal, behav­ioral, orga­ni­za­tional and eco­nomic fac­tors that can often limit IA effec­tive­ness,” Seazzu said.

The UNM SFS pro­gram will pre­pare infor­ma­tion assur­ance pro­fes­sion­als for ser­vice in fed­eral, state, local and tribal gov­ern­men­tal agen­cies. Stu­dents must com­plete a sum­mer intern­ship and work for a gov­ern­men­tal agency after grad­u­a­tion. The UNM SFS pro­gram will enhance exist­ing degree pro­grams by expand­ing rela­tion­ships with fed­eral employ­ers, diver­si­fy­ing the type and increas­ing the scope of recruit­ment activ­i­ties, expand­ing cur­ricu­lum, and increas­ing the num­ber and vari­ety of internships.

The project defines ambi­tious tar­get enroll­ments includ­ing 40 per­cent minor­ity and 40 per­cent female.

Since 2007, our goal was to pro­vide as many oppor­tu­ni­ties for our stu­dents as pos­si­ble,” said Seazzu. “This is another one of those oppor­tu­ni­ties. The demand for IA pro­fes­sion­als keeps increas­ing with more and more infor­ma­tion resources need­ing pro­tec­tion. Nowa­days, sys­tems are every­where and there is a greater aware­ness involv­ing safe­guard­ing the nation at dif­fer­ent lev­els. This is a great oppor­tu­nity for our stu­dents. UNM’s sta­tus as a His­panic Serv­ing Insti­tu­tion, and its sig­nif­i­cant enroll­ment of women and Native Amer­i­cans, will assist the expan­sion of the nation’s cyber-security work­force with a diverse mix of pro­gram graduates.”

The pro­gram incor­po­rates tech­ni­cal resources from New Mexico’s national lab­o­ra­to­ries, the FBI’s New Mex­ico Regional Com­puter Foren­sics Lab (NM RCFL), and UNM fac­ulty and cur­ricu­lum in com­puter sci­ence, engi­neer­ing, and man­age­ment. The program’s empha­sis on expe­ri­en­tial learn­ing (e.g., national cyber-competitions, course­ware devel­op­ment, fraud pre­ven­tion audits, K-12 out­reach and com­mu­nity cyber-security assess­ments) inte­grates edu­ca­tion and research while pro­mot­ing ongo­ing dis­cov­ery into the learn­ing process.

I think stu­dent sup­port is vital to the suc­cess of any pro­gram, espe­cially those that require extra train­ing like cyber-security,” said Doug Brown, dean, Ander­son School of Man­age­ment.

“Our national secu­rity is heav­ily com­mit­ted against cyber attacks,” Brown said. “It’s clearly one of the next fields of bat­tle and we bet­ter be good at it.”

The UNM SFS pro­gram will recruit schol­ar­ship recip­i­ents from under­grad­u­ate pro­grams in com­puter sci­ence, engi­neer­ing, infor­ma­tion sys­tems, and account­ing in New Mex­ico and nearby states.

Infor­ma­tion about the appli­ca­tion process will be posted as soon as pos­si­ble. A pro­jected start date for the new schol­ar­ship recip­i­ents is ten­ta­tively sched­uled for Spring 2014.

For more infor­ma­tion about UNM’s Infor­ma­tion Assur­ance pro­gram, visit: Infor­ma­tion Assur­ance.


The Anderson School of Management at the University of New Mexico is dedicated to excellence in professional management education. At the Anderson School, faculty, staff, and students are committed to shaping the intellect and character of the next generation of business leaders, advancing the knowledge and practice of management, promoting economic development, and building a vibrant intellectual community that serves the highest and best interests of all our stakeholders.

The School was founded in 1947 and now offers more than a dozen concentrations at the BBA and MBA levels and is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business in the top 20% of business schools in the nation. The School is funded by the State of New Mexico and further support is generated by The Anderson School of Management Foundation. For more information, the public can visit, email, or call (505) 277-6471.