Putting students on the case
In early 2001, I was the victim of credit card fraud. I had my credit card number stolen and put on the black market for cyber criminals to purchase. I ended up investigating this crime myself and not only found the perpetrators, but a career path as well. Today, I’m applying what I learned from this personal experience to my career at a Fortune 500 technology company and to the Cyber Crimes and Information Security class I lead at University of Phoenix.
Investigating my own credit card fraud helped me combine my interests in investigation and technology—causing me to become immediately interested in making a career of it. To accomplish this goal, I needed more education in the cyber crime/information security field. I found that without higher education, it was almost impossible to pursue a career in this field. So after earning my Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Information Assurance and a Master of Science in Information Technology, I decided that I wanted to help others break into the information security industry—without having to be a victim of it first. Becoming an instructor was the obvious way to accomplish this.
I got my start in teaching while working as a police officer for a small town police department, but I wanted a more flexible schedule and to be able to use my law enforcement experience to help a wider range of people understand information security and cyber crime. This is why I decided to teach at University of Phoenix and later contributed to a book titled “Digital Forensics for Network, Internet, and Cloud Computing.”
University of Phoenix allowed me to use my field experience to instruct a diverse group of students in the law enforcement and information technology fields. And, because I’m able to facilitate the course along with my career, my students benefit from up-to-date industry news and trends.
Helping students boost their knowledge
While most students who enter my class may not be pursuing the field for the same reasons I entered into it, they do enroll for very specific reasons. My students want to broaden their understanding of their field and tap into industry knowledge—boosting their understanding of what’s going on in cyber crime and information security. I also find that those in law enforcement want to learn more about information security and vice-versa. So, my goal as their instructor is to spark their interest in how these fields intersect in today’s corporate world.
My course engages students by taking a broad look into the fields of cyber crime and information security. As a class, we look at the role cyber crimes take in the security of company data while managing risk. This is exactly what I do in my career. So, this means that if I learn something on the job one day that can help my students prepare for a career in the same field, I have the freedom to adjust my course and present it to my class that very next day.
Preparing for the unexpected
My decision to teach at University of Phoenix was based on flexibility in scheduling and on my ability to adapt the coursework to changes in technology. For example, risk management has changed significantly since I started teaching at University of Phoenix. Today, information technology is moving toward cloud computing, and because my course is based on a centralized curriculum, I have the freedom to use current analysis of the transition to cloud computing to ask my students how that shift will impact security, without having to wait for additional resources from the University.
In addition, I’ve also found that the teaching skills I’ve developed and the resources I have access to at University of Phoenix have helped me grow professionally. If I sign up for a program that could help my fellow employees, I let them know and encourage them to attend so that they too can become another resource for our company. My teaching experience has also encouraged me to become a proponent of education and lifelong learning. That’s why I continue to take classes and complete certifications, while encouraging my students and co-workers to do the same, broadening their skills and knowledge in cyber crime and information security.
This article originally appeared in the Chronicle of Higher Education, UOPX Campus Viewpoints section. To review our current faculty articles, visit:https://chronicle.com/campusViewpoint/University-of-Phoenix/29/.