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TCC academic program in cybersecurity receives national security designation

Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced today that Tidewater Community College is the latest Virginia institution to be named a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense (CAE2Y) by the United States National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

This designation recognizes schools that excel in preparing students to become leaders in cyber security and establishes TCC as a national model in this growing field.

“TCC’s accomplishment is proof that we are taking our community colleges to the next level,” Gov. McAuliffe said.

“Our two-year institutions are bastions of innovation and creativity, and this new designation at TCC will be key in providing our students with the training they need to be successful in high-tech, high-paying jobs. This is another great step in making Virginia a leader in the global cybersecurity sector.”

TCC is only the third Virginia community college to receive the CAE2Y designation. The others are Northern Virginia and Lord Fairfax community colleges.

The purpose of the National Center of Academic Excellence program, which was established in 1998, is to promote higher education in cyber defense, prepare cybersecurity professionals and to reduce vulnerabilities in the nation’s cyber infrastructure.

The NSA and DHS launched their joint effort to recognize exemplary cybersecurity education curricula in 2004 in response to the President’s National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace.

The CAE2Y designation was instituted in 2010 to recognize two-year colleges that make significant contributions to meeting the national demand for cyber defense education.

“TCC is honored to receive the distinction of being named a National Center of Academic Excellence,” said TCC President Edna V. Baehre-Kolovani. “Our faculty and administrators have worked hard to ensure our cybersecurity program meets the highest industry and government standards, and that our graduates are fully prepared to be productive workers in this vitally important field.” 

TCC faculty participated in a rigorous year-long review process to apply for the CAE2Y designation.

Since its inception, TCC’s network security/cyber security curriculum has been aligned with national standards for cybersecurity established and maintained by National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) and NSA.

“As the home of the world’s largest Navy base and thriving ports, it’s essential that TCC’s graduates are prepared to protect our nation’s cyber resources,” said Robert Guess, director of TCC’s Cyber Security program.

“TCC’s designation as an NSA CAE is a formal acknowledgment of the significant effort invested in building and leading TCC’s Cyber Security program over the last 15 years,” he added.

TCC is working with the region’s school systems, four-year institutions, employers and governmental agencies to develop the next generation of cybersecurity professionals, Guess said.

Students graduating with the Associate of Applied Science in Information Technology are eligible to apply for the Federal Scholarships for Service program, which covers tuition, fees, books, and a stipend in the junior and senior years for those admitted to four-year NSA-CAE schools.

TCC is the official training partner of the region’s International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium – or (ISC)² – chapter. TCC is also a long-standing member of the National CyberWatch Center, a national consortium of colleges and universities focused on cyber security education.

TCC cybersecurity classes are taught by well-qualified faculty members who hold master’s degrees in the field, are experienced, and possess relevant industry credentials.

For more information on TCC’s Cyber Security degree and certificates, visit or email

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