LFCC cybersecurity degree program achieves prestigious ABET accreditation

For Immediate Release:
September 10, 2021

Primary Media Contact:
Sally Voth
Public Relations Specialist
[email protected]
Phone: 540-868-7134

With cybersecurity threats making frequent headlines, there has never been a greater need for professionals to protect data and assets from cyber criminals. Just this year alone, data breaches and ransomware hacks have targeted the U.S. military and those of our allies, telecommunications organizations, municipal networks, the airlines industry, health agencies, the gas industry, transportation systems, banks, individuals and more.

In 2015, under the leadership of Dr. Henry Coffman, LFCC became one of the first two community colleges in Virginia to be designated a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense by the U.S. National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.

Now, the college is proud to announce that Dr. Coffman has led the Associate of Applied Science in Cybersecurity to accreditation by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) Computing Accreditation Commission (CAC). ABET approved the accreditation in August, but the accreditation is retroactive to Oct. 1, 2019, and remains in effect until 2026.

The A.A.S. cybersecurity program is one of the first in the world and is the only community college program in Virginia to receive such accreditation. LFCC’s faculty have worked hard to develop a program that is a model for cyber education, and this accreditation confirms our status as a leader in the field.

ABET-CAC is considered a prestigious recognition with only select top schools accredited internationally. Having this accreditation process gives LFCC another method of continuous improvement for this program, including greater access to cybersecurity professors and practitioners who can help ensure that LFCC’s program is offering students a quality learning experience.

LFCC’s cybersecurity graduates are able to either immediately enter the workforce or transfer to a four-year university to attain their bachelor’s degree. Alexia Maynard, a 2020 cybersecurity graduate, stated she was happy to learn of the program’s accreditation. Maynard, who was the recipient of the Ross Fellowship for Service and Scholarship during her time at LFCC, is in her senior year at George Mason University, pursuing her bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity. “I have certainly been well prepared by LFCC for my GMU classes and have had no issue applying my knowledge from LFCC to my current courses,” she said.

Dean of Science, Technology, Engineering, Math and Health Ia Gomez states, “Receiving the ABET accreditation is an outstanding achievement, in addition to our current center for academic excellence designation. We have always been very proud of our cybersecurity program and the ABET accreditation not only reaffirms the strength of our program, but also elevates it and places it at the forefront of cybersecurity education at the community college level. Our cybersecurity students receive great knowledge and a tremendous skillset that will make them competitive when they enter the cybersecurity workforce.”

“Accreditation by ABET signifies that the cybersecurity program meets rigorous industry standards and produces graduates who are prepared to enter a critical technical field and lead the way in innovation and emerging technologies, and anticipate the welfare and safety needs of the public,” said Dr. Melissa Stange, professor of computer science who has served as a program evaluator of cybersecurity at four-year institutions for ABET. “Students who graduate from an ABET-accredited program are also seen favorably by employers and other institutions of higher education.” 

Learn more about LFCC’s cybersecurity program at lfcc.edu/cybersecurity. For more information about ABET, its member societies, and the accreditation criteria used to evaluate programs, visit www.abet.org.

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Founded in 1970, Lord Fairfax Community College is a multi-campus public institution of higher education. With four locations — Middletown, Warrenton, Luray-Page County and most recently, Vint Hill— the College serves eight localities in the Shenandoah Valley and northern Piedmont regions. The localities are the counties of Clarke, Fauquier, Frederick, Page, Rappahannock, Shenandoah and Warren and the city of Winchester. LFCC offers more than 75 associate degree and certificate programs in a wide variety of disciplines, in addition to providing access to bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs offered on site by a four-year institution. LFCC also serves the business community by offering workforce preparation programs for employees and employers. LFCC serves more than 9,000 unduplicated credit students and more than 11,000 individuals in professional development and business and industry courses annually.

Lord Fairfax Community College (LFCC) is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award associate degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Lord Fairfax Community College. Lord Fairfax Community College is an equal opportunity institution providing educational and employment opportunities, programs, services, and activities and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, age, religion, disability, national origin, marital status, political affiliation, sexual orientation, or other non-merit factors. LFCC also prohibits sexual misconduct including sexual violence or harassment.

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