Center for Academic Excellence tools

UW Bothell - Certified Regional Resource Center

The Center for Information Assurance & Cybersecurity (CIAC) at the University of Washington Bothell is designated as a Center of Academic Excellence (CAE) through the National Security Agency (NSA). Additionally, CIAC is also designated as a Certified Regional Resource Center (CRRC), in recognition of the rigerous & comprehensive training programs. Read on for information regarding pedagogy and links to CAE resources. 

Pedagogical resources

Proven models for teaching as developed by CIAC and the University of Washington cybersecurity faculty.

Cybersecurity as a system

cys-flow.JPGCIAC views security as an organizational system. Technology is an important component of the system, but there are many other components as well. The most effective cybersecurity professionals will diagnose events, communicate, and respond at the system level.

The events and the responses often cross organizational boundaries. Operations have to flow smoothly up and down within an organization, and they also travel through professional networks across the region or sector, supply chain, or governing authority.  

Cybersecurity operations are inherently multidisciplinary and continually evolving. 




An adaptive model for cybersecurity training

If we are to train cybersecurity professionals to work effectively in the evolving operational systems, our courses must also evolve. At CIAC we design our programs with this in mind. Our courses are developed within a pedagogical model that incorporates ongoing feedback from the socio-technical cultural context and from the needs of practitioners.

This model has enabled us to produce a series of highly ranked programs. Each time a course is offered, the objective is to advance the readiness of our students to respond to the cyber events seen across our region and across the nation today.


CIAC's guiding principles for student education 

CIAC is devoted to the academic growth of all students through six principles:

  1. Proven pedagogical model: Classroom methods guide students from novice to expert skill levels, and prepare them for the dynamic nature of the IA/Cyber fields.
  2. Blending academics and practice: Courses are taught by expert practitioners who blend theory and practice for the benefit of the students.
  3. Active learning: Students are encouraged to learn through real world projects and research brought into the classroom from organizations such as the National Security Agency, T-Mobile, Microsoft, Boeing, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and the Honeynet Project.
  4. Encourage professional affiliation: The Pacific Northwest region has a thriving community of Information Assurance (IA)/Cyber professionals. Students are required to affiliate with Infragard and others to gain different perspectives on IA/Cyber challenges. They are encouraged to join Information Systems Security Association International (ISSA) or Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA), depending on their interests.
  5. Exposure to career opportunities: The UW Information and Engineering Schools (iSchool, CECS) hold annual career fairs that IA/Cyber students are encouraged to attend. Time in class is spent discussing what employers are looking for, including invited guests from some of the leading employers of IA/Cyber professionals.
  6. Personalized career and education guidance: Professors and researchers work personally with each student to be certain their personal, educational, and career goals align, ensuring retention and ultimate success upon graduation.

Resources for CAE's

CAE Community

The CAE Community is a portal for CAE's and displays public pages such as the national list of CAEs and an interactive map to locate CAE schools. 

CAE Initials

  • National Centers of Academic Excellence - CAE
  • National CAE in Cybersecurity - CAE-C
  • National CAE in Cyber Defense - CAE-CD
  • National CAE in Cyber Defense Education - CAE-CDE
  • National CAE in Cyber Defense Two-Year Education - CAE-2Y
  • National CAE in Cyber Operations - CAE-CO
  • National CAE in Information Assurance Education - CAE-IAE
  • National CAE in Cyber Defense Research - CAE-R
  • Confidentiality, Integrity, Availability - CIA Triad
  • Central Security Service - CSS
  • Department of Homeland Security - DHS
  • Knowledge, skills and abilities - KSA's
  • Knowledge units - KU's
  • National Initiative for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies - NICCS
  • National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education - NICE
  • National Institute of Standards and Technology - NIST
  • National Security Agency - NSA

CAE Tech Talks

Every month CAE Tech Talks provide a forum where subject matter experts from the field and from academia can present research and information on a spectrum of cybersecurity topics. To see past recorded talks and videos visit: Capitol Live. Visit the Tech Talk home page for the calendar and live stream. Live streaming is scheduled at 10:10AM PST, on the third Thursday of the month. Login as Guest and enter your name.

Courses in Cybersecurity

National Initiative for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies (NICCS) publishes an interactive guide to the many courses available for the Framework categories and specialty areas: NICCS Education and Training Catalog. CAEs can become part of the NICCS catalog through an online form for vendors.


To help close the cybersecurity skills gap CyberSeek provides detailed data about supply and demand in the cybersecurity job market.

Knowledge Units (KUs)

Core to the CAE's mapping to the NICE Framework is the set of knowledge units (KU's).

NICE Cybersecurity Workforce Framework (NCWF)

The Cybersecurity Workforce Framework (AKA the NIST/NICE Framework) is foundational to CAEs planning for curricula for new professionals. The Framework is organized around seven high-level Categories of cybersecurity work. The Framework drills down to Specialty Areas within the Categories, and finally to details of Competencies; Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities; Tasks; and Job Titles.