The University of West Florida has been re-designated by the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security as the Southeast Centers of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity (CAE-C) Regional Hub.

“This prestigious re-designation recognizes the excellent and innovative contributions by UWF’s Center for Cybersecurity,” UWF President Martha D. Saunders said. “UWF has developed a number of partnerships with key players in cybersecurity that prepare our students for successful careers and address the global cybersecurity workforce shortage. We will continue our role in leading the future generation of cybersecurity professionals.”

The UWF Center for Cybersecurity has served as the Southeast regional hub since 2017, providing leadership in cybersecurity education among colleges and universities in five states and Puerto Rico. UWF’s role now expands to lead cybersecurity education efforts in a broader region that includes eight states—Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee, along with Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. 

The NSA and Department of Homeland Security reduced the number of regions from nine to five as part of a reorganization and tasked the hubs with advancing cybersecurity at the national level by facilitating collaborations and hosting training, faculty development workshops and cyber competitions that support the CAE-C Program.

“The National Security Agency is pleased to have University of West Florida serve as the Southeast Regional Hub for the Southeast Centers of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity,” said Diane Janosek, Commandant, NSA’s National Cryptologic School. “Through innovative programs and partnerships, the University of West Florida’s strong leadership will advance cybersecurity education and research efforts at the local, regional and national levels. The University of West Florida is training the nation’s future cyber professionals and strengthening our nation’s cybersecurity defense posture.”

UWF will partner with two other CAE-C designated institutions to serve as the Southeast Regional Hub: CyberFlorida at the University of South Florida and Forsyth Technical Community College in North Carolina. The Southeast CAE-C Regional Hub will form a steering committee from CAE-C institutions in each state across the region and an advisory board of industry, education, and government partners to build a vibrant and collaborative cybersecurity community across the Southeast.

“The Southeast CAE-C Regional Hub will advance national cybersecurity and build a stronger cybersecurity community by expanding strategic partnerships among CAE-C institutions, government and industry partners,” said Dr. Eman El-Sheikh, associate vice president, UWF Center for Cybersecurity. “UWF will lead efforts to advance cybersecurity education, research and workforce development across the Southeast U.S.”

Since 2017, the UWF Center for Cybersecurity has hosted nearly 20 events to advance cybersecurity education, workforce development and collaboration, including the 2018 Southeast Cybersecurity Conference and several professional development workshops. The 2019 CAE Cybersecurity Executive Leadership Forum attracted over 300 academic, industry and government executives to Pensacola. Additionally, UWF provided program development support and mentoring to 12 institutions across the Southeast to expand the number of CAE-C designated institutions.

For more information about the UWF Center for Cybersecurity, visit