University of Arkansas at Little Rock Sets Up Data, Cybersecurity Institutes


The University of Arkansas at Little Rock is developing national programs around data and cybersecurity. The university has recently partnered with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to create the first academic institute devoted solely to the professional development of chief data officers.

The primary role of the Institute for Chief Data Officers will be to train professionals who will take on the role of chief data officers and to provide opportunities for doctoral students to conduct research on chief data officers. The International Society of Chief Data Officers has also entered into a partnership with the new institute. In addition to donating $25,000 to the creation of the institute, the society will provide research topics and input for doctoral students to conduct research at the institute.

Dr. Richard Wang will lead the institute as the executive managing director after a decade at MIT, where he serves as the co-director for MIT’s Total Data Quality Management Program.

The effort comes alongside another partnership that will focus on training high school kids. A team of cybersecurity and data researchers have been given a National Science Foundation Grant to create a national curriculum on cybersecurity for high schoolers.

Led by UALR Associate Professor of Computer Science Dr. Mengjun Xie, researchers will use the grant funds to create PROMISE, a cohesive system of free resources designed for multiple levels of cybersecurity learners. PROMISE’s features have two main goals — to improve the quality of national cybersecurity education and to equip students to be exemplary professionals in the field.

The university is already recognized as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance/Cybersecurity Education and both the institute and PROMISE will build on that platform.

A handful of other schools including the University of Michigan and Purdue have made moves to launch big projects around data and cybersecurity as educators rush to keep up with technological development. See our previous coverage here.