MSU’s statewide Program of Distinction in Cybersecurity and Network Management recognized nationally for community outreach

By MSU Public Relations | May 3, 2024

collage of photos taken during cybersecurity community outreach program

In 2023, the CNM program completed more than 100 outreach events, reaching 18,000 individuals. Some of these outreaches include the Security Matters and Tech Mania events.


MURRAY, Ky. – Murray State University’s statewide Program of Distinction in Cybersecurity and Network Management (CNM) placed within the top 10 nationally among 400 institutions through a community outreach competition by the National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education (CAE-CD). 

The CAE-CD Community Outreach Competition Committee was established to encourage and promote cybersecurity awareness and online safety practices by taking advantage of the October Cybersecurity Awareness Month and all throughout the year. In 2023, the CNM program, through the outreach support of the Cyber Education and Research Center, completed more than 100 outreach events, reaching 18,000 individuals. 

A recent event that took place was the annual Security Matters conference on April 25. The largest technology security conference in the region, the free event offers small business and security personnel, Murray State students as well as high school students the opportunity to hear from industry individuals about a variety of issues and topics. With nearly 300 attendees, Security Matters 2024 saw its largest attendance in its history.

Other events hosted by Murray State Cyber Program include the following:

  • The annual IT Matters conference held in Paducah, Kentucky

  • Tech Mania, a high school IT event that includes IT and cybersecurity competitions

  • TEN @ 10, a weekly online video series highlighting various cybersecurity topics

  • A regular segment on WKMS, Cyber Bytes, which discusses various cybersecurity topics

“Being recognized for the second year in a row through the community outreach competition reiterates the level and commitment that our Center and program faculty have for our Murray State community, region and state,” said Dr. Michael Ramage, director of Murray State’s Cyber Education and Research Center. “Dr. Randall Joyce and our faculty have done an exceptional job of engaging with our community through speaking opportunities, hands-on activities and cyber exercises and competitions, making them truly deserving of this recognition.” 

Other ways that Murray State continues its cybersecurity outreach can be seen through its work with community colleges and adult students. The CNM program recently updated its transfer pathway for CNM with the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) Computer Information Technologies program. Last fall, Murray State University’s Cyber Education and Research Center recently received a $1.5 million three-year grant from the Employment and Training Administration within the Department of Labor through the Delta Regional Authority (DRA) to fund a Cybersecurity Analyst Certificate program.

In 1997, Kentucky House Bill 1 created Programs of Distinction through the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education at public postsecondary institutions, including Murray State University’s cybersecurity program.         Murray State offers a bachelor’s degree in Cybersecurity and Network Management, along with an accelerated master’s degree (available online) in Cybersecurity Management that can be completed in 12-18 months and certificates at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. 

Murray State has a Cyber Education and Research Center that provides education, research, development and outreach support for the University’s cyber-related programs including the CAE-CD designated CNM Program, which welcomed its largest freshman class in program history this past fall with a 30 percent increase in overall program enrollment from the previous fall.

The recently-passed state biennium budget includes an allocation of $10 million in funding for the construction, renovation and operations for Murray State’s Cyber Education and Research Center. 

In addition to its continued CAE-CD recognition, Murray State’s CNM program has been certified through the Quality Assurance Commons with the Essential Employability Qualities Certification, and has won multiple national awards over the years through ITERA including Program of the Year. 

Graduates join a global network of alumni who are employed at Google, Microsoft and Amazon Web Services, among others. 

Murray State University’s statewide Program of Distinction in Cybersecurity and Network Management has been designated again as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense and recently redesignated through 2029. 

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