UT Tyler professor receives grant to enhance the cyber security workforce program


TYLER, Texas (KETK) – The University of Texas at Tyler announced that Dr. Kim Nimon, interim chair of the Department of Human Resource Development, has received a grant from the National Science Foundation.

The grant is to develop an interdisciplinary curriculum that helps address the gaps in the cyber security workforce.

Nimon is working in collaboration with researchers at UT Dallas and the University of North Texas.  

“As we rely more and more on technology in our day-to-day lives, cyber security is essential to combat threats from hackers. This research will ultimately help address the need for a more robust workforce of professionals with the broad knowledge to counter and prevent those attacks.”

Dr. Amir Mirmiran, UT Tyler provost

According the university, there is a shortage of cyber security professionals, and while progress has been made, there is still an urgent need for professionals with competence in specialty areas such as artificial intelligence.

The university says that Interdisciplinary education is becoming a necessity for most applications. 

Solutions often require not only cybersecurity expertise but also expertise in engineering disciplines and/or social, behavioral and management sciences, according to the research proposal.  

“The goal of this research is to better understand how we can provide an interdisciplinary curriculum for a majority of areas and how we broaden access to cyber security education beyond the typical classroom courses,” Nimon said.  

The current curriculum includes prerequisites for computer science courses.

Nimon also added that the university’s plan is to make classes more accessible to an interdisciplinary crowd of graduate students.

The project will develop five courses to help train graduate students in cyber security and artificial intelligence techniques being explored for cyber security.  

To address the challenge that some students won’t have the necessary prerequisites, the project will build in what’s called smart pedagogy.  

“As a student is going through these courses and find that they don’t have the knowledge that they need, they will be diverted down a path to develop that knowledge. We call it just in-time learning, and then they move back into the mainstream course,” said Nimon. 

The research will examine if students can benefit from student-led learning as well as they can from instructor-led education.  

If so, the idea would be that the courses and content could be made available on the web for self-paced learning.  

NSF is an independent federal agency created to promote the progress of science; advance the national health, prosperity and welfare; and secure the national defense.  

NSF supports basic research and people to create knowledge that transforms the future.  

 The University of Texas at Tyler focuses on student success and innovative research in the more than 80 undergraduate and graduate degree programs offered to nearly 10,000 students.  

Classified by Carnegie as a doctoral research institution and by U.S. News and World Report as a national university, UT Tyler has campuses in Tyler, Longview, Palestine and Houston.

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