Brown has demonstrated material progress in addressing the pervasive field of cybersecurity. On March 3, the faculty voted to approve the creation of an Executive Master’s Program in Cybersecurity — a decision that the Corporation must choose whether to approve at its May meeting. As previously discussed by The Herald’s editorial page board (“Cybersecurity: a true academic priority,” Jan. 22), cybersecurity increasingly stands as a cornerstone of the modern political and social landscape and must be addressed as such within the academic world. While the recent announcement is significant and underscores the University’s commitment to this burgeoning field, Brown should progressively expand cybersecurity course offerings for undergraduates to more properly reflect the broad and multidisciplinary scope of the subject matter.
The proposed program, spearheaded by Roberto Tamassia, professor of computer science and chair of the department, will be “geared toward mid-career professionals who already have experience in the field” and conducted through both on campus and online mediums, The Herald previously reported (“Faculty approves cybersecurity program,” March 4). Unlike existing Executive Master’s programs in the field — which are offered at Harvard, Dartmouth and George Washington University, among other peer institutions — the slated curriculum will carry a unique focus on “both current and future technologies” and emphasize the human element of cybersecurity, The Herald previously reported.
In addition, the program will include a variety of simulated cyberattacks to infuse the somewhat amorphous topic with a more tangible structure. Though these workshops will not technically be open to undergraduates, the program will allow students to network with participants and establish professional contacts within the field.
As the program is not yet formalized, we urge the Corporation to approve its establishment. Not only will the program create a new stream of ancillary revenue for the University through the tuition payments of participants — a necessity for reducing the deficit — but more importantly, it will also solidify a commitment to further addressing cybersecurity within an academic context. By targeting individuals with prior experience in related professional fields, the program can serve as a platform for innovation and advancements in thought. Perhaps this cybersecurity program will serve as a catalyst in the creation of a specialized department at Brown.
Though the Executive Master’s program represents tangible progress in confronting the broad field of cybersecurity, the University must expand related offerings to undergraduates. Brown currently offers a number of cybersecurity-related courses, including CSCI 1800: “Cybersecurity and International Relations,” yet this existing selection fails to capture the pressing nature of this relatively unexplored field of study.
The subject of cybersecurity transcends the often-associated realm of computer science and is truly multidisciplinary, a quality that uniquely aligns with the core tenet of the New Curriculum. At the current juncture, Brown is far too limited in its approach to cybersecurity, and while the Executive Master’s Program is a step in the right direction, this progress must also be matched in the undergraduate arena.
Editorials are written by The Herald’s editorial page board: its editors, Alexander Kaplan ’15 and James Rattner ’15, and its members, Natasha Bluth ’15, Manuel Contreras ’16, Baxter DiFabrizio ’15 and Aranshi Kumar ’17. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.