Filling the real-world gaps


Davenport University has more than 9,000 students on campuses across the state and online, with more than 50 undergraduate and graduate programs. Courtesy Davenport University

Davenport University is joining the ranks of higher education platforms with an edge in technology training.

The college recently announced its plan to add two new programs to the College of Technology: a Master of Science in technology management and a Bachelor of Science with a major in digital forensics.

Both programs will become available in winter 2013, said Michael Clancy, dean of DU’s College of Technology, adding that the master’s degree will require 39 credits and the bachelor’s 120 credits.

Both programs are targeted to be online and originate from DU’s Grand Rapids campus.

Clancy said the master’s program is attracting a good segment of the local IT work force that wants to return to school for management training

“For a lot of IT people, most of their training in school and on the job remains technically focused. But some of those people will aspire to become managers at some point in their career, and lots of their training never prepared them for the different role,” he said. “I’ve hired hundreds of people over the course of my career and there was a gap. You still have to keep up your technology skills.”

The response from people wanting to be trained, particularly in the new master’s program, was a pleasant surprise, Clancy said, and the numbers keep growing every day.

Hartford junior Ty Huffman, who is majoring in network security at DU, praised the addition of the master’s program, saying it “is going to be a great thing for people who want to further their education after graduating.”

“Instead of trying to get a master’s in a business-oriented program, it’s better for someone in the technology field to get a technology master’s,” he said. “After I graduate, I will probably go back to get the Master of Science in technology management. It will make my résumé look better, plus it will help me learn more.”

Clancy said the need for digital forensics training stemmed from a name familiar to many news readers: Wikileaks.

“Digital forensic skills are the people who come in after a negative event and assess the damages,” he said. “They also come up with the remediation plan and lead the charge in closing the door and making sure it doesn’t open again.”

One of the faculty teaching DU courses on the first response to cyber warfare is Ron Draayer, associate professor in the College of Technology. Draayer’s expertise is in computer security, especially training students in first-response disaster recovery and security awareness programs.

DU is considered an Academic Center of Excellence by the National Security Agency, he said, so adding a major in digital forensics fits progressively into the education of his students.

“It’s a natural extension of what we’re doing now. That’s why we’re so excited about it,” Draayer said. “It’ll really give the students a full experience of what goes on in this area and give them a lot of training from start to finish.”

And they will need that training, Draayer said. Much of American infrastructure is connected on computer networks, he explained, and if one cyber attack gets through, the results could be devastating. In this “ongoing battle,” as he called it, the opportunities for the technically trained are phenomenal, he said.

“I think we all hear about the cyber attack and the hackers and we’re pretty sure it’s not going to go away,” Draayer said. “For people looking at going into this field, there’s high potential. Businesses and the government are looking for these people, and if you can get the training in this, the sky’s the limit.”

DU plans to continue growing. Clancy said the university is currently researching possibilities for new engineering degrees, including a Bachelor of Science in software engineering and a Master of Science in networking and engineering.

If DU decides to add the programs, they are tentatively slated for 2014.

Clancy said the university also wants to look into developing its health sciences. The university has added a master's in nursing and will eventually add a doctorate in physical therapy.

“Our motto is, ‘Get where the world is going,’” he said. “And we believe it is business, technology and health.”

a master’s in nursing 
a master’s in nursing 

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