The CAE Designation

What is the CAE?

The National Centers of Academic Excellence (CAE) in Information Assurance/Cyber Defense designation was jointly established by the National Security Agency (NSA) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in 2010. The CAE is an institutional – rather than programmatic – designation. It recognizes excellence in the institutional approach to cybersecurity, excellence of the academic program, broad inculcation of cybersecurity in all facets of the institution (including academic programs, information technology policies, and broad awareness of cybersecurity issues across the campus), faculty and staff development, and the institution’s outreach to the community.

Information about the CAE program can be found on the National IA Education & Training Programs (NIETP) website.


Why Apply for the CAE?

While any institutional award implies prestige and recognition, a CAE designation brings some specific and significant benefits to colleges and universities:

Institution externally – CAE status is recognized by a growing number of businesses and professional associations, thereby bringing prestige and opportunities for new and beneficial partnerships.

Institution internally – CAE status can pave the way for cybersecurity to become an integral part of the institution.

Business community – Businesses will be more likely to turn to a CAE institution for training and new hire needs. Having a CAE institution in their region/local community is a matter of pride and new opportunities.

The program – CAE status provides prominence to the cybersecurity program internally and externally. Student enrollments are likely to grow. The senior administration gains a better understanding of the program and will be more likely to support its needs.

The faculty – Faculty members benefit from being a part of the CAE Community and professional development opportunities provided by NSF-supported Advanced Technological Education (ATE) centers and projects.

Students – The degree and/or certificate with clear identification of the institution as a CAE will improve students’ opportunities in job search, further academic advancement, etc.