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Friends, Butler Partnering For Cybersecurity Degree Program

Deborah Shaar
Friends University opened a state-of-the-art cybersecurity lab in October.

Friends University in Wichita is offering a path for students in Butler Community College’s cybersecurity program to continue their education.

Friends and Butler are signing an agreement Tuesday that allows Butler students who complete an associate's degree in cybersecurity or computer science to transfer credits to Friends’ cybersecurity bachelor’s program. 

Friends University expanded its cybersecurity curriculum when it opened a high-tech cyber training lab last fall. It’s the first of its kind in Kansas.

Credit Deborah Shaar
Deborah Shaar
Jonathan Lanning, director of Friends University's cybersecurity program, says Friends' cybersecurity lab is one of only three in a university setting in the U.S.

Jonathan Lanning, Friends' cybersecurity program director and assistant professor, says students are learning how to handle real-time security threats, data investigations and network defense skills in a simulated corporate environment.

"What we have here is an opportunity to get their hands on the computers, to get their hands on the technology and put it to use so that it makes more sense. It feels real," Lanning says. "So when they get to apply those skills outside of this environment, they know what they are doing."

Friends University offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in cybersecurity. Butler offers an associate degree and one-year certificate.

Lanning says the cyber training lab creates a safe yet high-stress environment for students to solve problems or attacks just like if they were part of a security operations team.

Credit Courtesy photo
Friends University President Amy Bragg Carey, left, and Butler President Kim Krull signed the partnership agreement on Tuesday at the cybersecurity lab at Friends.

"They are ready to be a part of what’s going on inside that organization," he says. "Being able to help secure it, to understand what the threats are to your environment and to your co-workers, and what and who might be targeting that organization to take advantage of them."

According to the 2017 Global Information Security Workforce Study, the U.S. is on pace to reach a cybersecurity workforce gap of 1.8 million by 2022, a 20 percent increase over the forecast made in the 2015 study.


Follow Deborah Shaar on Twitter @deborahshaar.

To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at news@kmuw.org.

Deborah joined the news team at KMUW in September 2014 as a news reporter. She spent more than a dozen years working in news at both public and commercial radio and television stations in Ohio, West Virginia and Detroit, Michigan. Before relocating to Wichita in 2013, Deborah taught news and broadcasting classes at Tarrant County College in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas area.