R.I. College Debuts Cybersecurity Institute

In a partnership with state and Federal authorities, Rhode Island College announced the establishment of its Institute for Cybersecurity and Emerging Technologies, an initiative poised to propel the state to the forefront of cybersecurity education, workforce development, and small business support.

Guided by the leadership of former Congressman Jim Langevin, D-R.I., the institute will find its home within Rhode Island College’s School of Business.

“The Institute for Cybersecurity & Emerging Technologies is a win for students, our economy, and all of Rhode Island,” Gov. Dan McKee said in a statement.

“We know that students who graduate from this institute will have higher earning potential and will be well positioned to enter this competitive field, filling jobs right here in our state,” the governor said. “I am proud to say that Rhode Island is home to an institute that stands out nationwide as a leader in the cybersecurity field, and I want to thank Congressman Langevin for being such a strong partner in this effort.”

With the launch, the institute introduced Rhode Island’s inaugural business-oriented undergraduate cybersecurity degree, aligning its curriculum with the standards set by the National Security Agency. Students at Rhode Island College will benefit not only from theoretical knowledge but also from practical experience through internships with leading Rhode Island companies and state and local government agencies.

Looking ahead, the institute plans to expand its offerings to include a master’s degree and additional certificate programs. Beyond serving enrolled students, a key focus will be community outreach, ensuring that cybersecurity training is accessible to professionals across various industries.

“In our rapidly evolving digital world, the need for skilled cybersecurity professionals is ever-growing,” Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., said. “Whether they go on to work for the Federal government or in the private sector, developing software, or serving as a systems administrator, Rhode Island College’s new Institute for Cybersecurity and Emerging Technologies, under the leadership of my former colleague, Congressman Langevin, will prepare students with in-demand skills that can help them enter the workforce ready to meet the needs of employers.”

Come the next academic year, the institute will further diversify its academic portfolio by introducing a degree in artificial intelligence (AI).

This program will address the integration of AI into business processes to enhance productivity and insight, while concurrently addressing cybersecurity, privacy, and ethical concerns. The curriculum incorporates cutting-edge technologies such as generative AI and large language models like ChatGPT, along with the reinforcement learning techniques applied in autonomous vehicles. Moreover, students will be equipped to tackle bias in machine learning models, ensuring fairness in business practices based on the output of these models.

The institute’s launch event, attended by Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Director Jen Easterly, underscored its significance in shaping the future of cybersecurity.

“The future of cybersecurity is being shaped right here in Rhode Island. Cyber defense is a vital need, which means we must recruit, train, prepare, and inspire the next generation of cyber leaders today. That’s exactly what the Institute for Cybersecurity and Emerging Technology is doing,” Easterly said.