- Texas A&M University at College Station found that one way to adapt the changing field of cybersecurity into an academic setting was to develop a minor, which could be instituted more quickly, offering more options to students interested in that career path, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education.
- The challenge was to develop a program that was responsive to the industry but not reactive, and free of the bureaucracy that sometimes inhibits innovation in the academy.
- While workforce demand often drives new program creation, remaining current and keeping faculty up-to-date on industry trends is a continual struggle. And with institutions, especially public ones, constantly feeling the pressures of budget cuts, resources present another challenge to modernizing curricula.
One of the initially touted benefits of relying on contingent faculty was the idea that instructors could be dually employed in industry and the academy, bridging the gap between what the workforce needs and what students are receiving in their educations. As liberal arts institutions struggle to adapt their curriculum while critics argue its essentialities are increasingly antiquated, majors like cybersecurity face the opposite problem.
Close collaboration with industry is imperative for successful academic programs today. One of the benefits of career and technical education and apprenticeship programs is the ability for students to receive on the job training while completing their academic courses, ensuring the skills they learn are up to date. But the most effective approach is teaching students how to be thinkers, rather than doers, which will prepare them for jobs that do not even exist today and make them invaluable to the workforce. It is this idea that is undergirding the tech industry's push for liberal arts grads.
Pat Donachie contributed to this piece.