Interview with Angela Holden, DM, PMP about the B.S. in Cybersecurity and M.S. in Cybersecurity Management at Lindenwood University

About Angela Holden, DM, PMP Angela Holden and her team oversee the Information Technology (IT) and Cybersecurity Programs in the College of Science, Technology and Health at Lindenwood University. Dr. Holden supports students in both the Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity and the Master of Science in Cybersecurity Management programs, through her teaching, mentoring and advising. She also volunteers to serve on various committees, with her most recent assignment to help design and build a Cybersecurity Lab for students at the main campus in St. Charles, MO.

As Professor of Information Technology, Dr. Holden teaches IT Compliance, Governance, and Ethics, Management & Administrative Theory for IT Professionals, Systems Approach to IT Projects, Project Management, and IT and Cybersecurity Capstone courses at the undergraduate and graduate level in the Cybersecurity and Information Technology programs. She is responsible for curriculum development, and scheduling courses taught by highly qualified instructors.

Prior to joining Lindenwood, Dr. Holden’s career was in IT for a major St. Louis-based company, leading multicultural software development teams and large-scale project implementation initiatives. She also served in IT Governance developing policies and procedures for the company. Dr. Holden’s degrees include a Doctorate in Management, an MS in Cybersecurity Management, an MBA, and a BA in Management. She is also a Project Management Professional (PMP®) and certified in ITIL.

Interview Questions

[] How is cybersecurity as a field evolving to meet the needs of contemporary information systems across various fields ranging from business and public policy to engineering, computer science, and public health? When was Lindenwood University’s programs in cybersecurity and cybersecurity management developed, and how were they designed to help students both at the beginning and middle of their careers to meet the ever-changing needs of organizations with regards to cybersecurity and risk management?

[Dr. Angela Holden] Turn on the news or do a Google search and you will see that cybersecurity threats are everywhere, all the time. Hackers and other bad actors (AKA “bad guys”) around the world are continually bombarding our networks to find a way in to steal information, money, or secrets, disrupt services, spread misinformation, or hold us to ransom. The bad guys are getting more and more creative, so cybersecurity as a field must keep evolving to stay ahead of the curve. This clear and present danger applies to all industries, including healthcare, business, defense, infrastructure, government, and more! It also applies to you personally. Everyone has a phone, a home network, computer devices, and a smart TV that can be hacked if security has not been set up sufficiently. Students learn about these vulnerabilities and cyberthreats, and how to protect themselves and their organizations from something disastrous happening. It is the principle of “Protect, Detect, Respond” in action.

The undergraduate Cybersecurity and graduate Cybersecurity Management programs (along with the IT programs) were redesigned in 2019 and rolled out in 2020 right before the pandemic started. These newly designed programs address the main topics of concern in cybersecurity today and are taught by industry professionals. At the undergraduate level, students learn the basic concepts, tools and technologies to enable them to move into a technical career in cybersecurity or move to the next level. At the graduate level, students learn about the many aspects of managing cybersecurity in an organization.

[] Could you please provide an overview of Lindenwood University’s Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity, and how it is structured? What foundational concepts and skills do students learn in the areas of cybersecurity, network and cloud security, information technology, and digital forensics? May we have more information about the types of roles that this program helps prepare students for?

[Dr. Angela Holden] The BS in Cybersecurity program is comprised of the University’s general education requirements, core requirements that apply to all IT and Cybersecurity programs, required courses for the major in Cybersecurity, and electives to make up the 120 credit hours necessary for graduation.

Courses in the core requirements provide foundational knowledge in IT, networking, and cybersecurity, hardware, programming in Python, and database and project management. Blockchain is a hot topic in IT that is included in this group of courses. Once we have those building blocks in place, students have a solid foundation to move forward from.

The BS in Cybersecurity is a technical degree program that builds knowledge and skills to prepare students to serve in technical roles in an organization. Vulnerabilities and cybersecurity threats can occur at any layer of an organization’s network architecture, so the courses in the undergraduate Cybersecurity program are intentionally focused on security for the servers, network, cloud, applications, web, and more. Each of these courses are based on industry best practices, frameworks, and standards that are used in the real world and are taught by instructors who are certified professionals in the field.

The Ethical Hacking, Advanced Penetration Testing, Cybersecurity Analysis, and Digital Forensics and Cyber Investigation courses teach the skills and knowledge needed by a Cybersecurity Analyst or Penetration Tester. This is the kind of role we are preparing students to undertake in their careers.

As the final course in the Cybersecurity program, students take a capstone course in which they act as a Team Leader to plan a project to evaluate, select, and deploy a suite of Cybersecurity tools to monitor the network and protect an organization from cyberattacks. Parts of the plan are developed and submitted each week for instructor and peer feedback.

[] May we have more details on the Lindenwood University’s Master of Science in Cybersecurity Management, how it is structured, and how it helps to propel students’ careers into cybersecurity and IT management? How do the courses in this program prepare students to design, manage, and maintain cybersecurity systems?

[Dr. Angela Holden] The MS in Cybersecurity Management program is comprised of 12 courses (36 credit hours) focused on managing cybersecurity people, processes, and technologies for an organization. As many students come from a technical background in Information Technology or Cybersecurity there are courses in topics such as Advanced Business Communications, Management and Administrative Theory, IT Compliance, Governance and Ethics, and Systems Approach to IT Projects, in which students are taught about various project management methodologies and frameworks. Each of these courses builds the skills and knowledge needed for students to advance from a technical position to a Team Leader or Management position in an organization.

In Business Approach to Cybersecurity and Cybersecurity Systems and Architectures courses, students study the eight domains of the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) exam which they can take later if they wish. To achieve full CISSP certification, students also need up to 5 years of on-the-job experience in the field. In the Current Issues in Cybersecurity course, students research recent data breaches, investigate why they happened, critique how organizations responded to the incident, and analyze how the incident could have been handled better.

In a similar manner to the undergraduate program where students study how vulnerabilities and cybersecurity threats can occur at any layer of an organization’s network architecture, in the graduate program there are courses in Ethical Hacking and Countermeasures, Data Forensics and Evidence Collection, Network and Data Center Security, and Secure Application Development. However, graduate students are learning how to manage these issues by writing policies, procedures and plans to improve the security posture of an organization. Also, they prepare an Incident Response Plan, so they can respond quickly and effectively if a breach occurs.

In the Cybersecurity Management Capstone course, students tie together everything they have studied in the program to devise a Cybersecurity Program Plan for an organization based on industry best practices, frameworks, and standards, which must also align with the organization’s strategic goals and objectives. Most students opt to take the Capstone course if they are already working professionals. During the course, their Cybersecurity Program Plans are developed in sections, and students receive instructor and peer feedback as they work through the course.

Alternatively, students may decide to pursue an internship opportunity to enable them to gain some on-the-job experience in a chosen industry. Not only do students have the benefit of guidance from a supervisor and co-workers during the internship, but they also meet regularly with a faculty member to discuss how goals and objectives for the internship are being achieved. Sometimes the internship results in a job offer for the student.

[] Both Lindenwood University’s Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity and Master of Science in Cybersecurity Management can be completed entirely online. What online technologies do these programs use to facilitate interactions between course faculty and students?

[Dr. Angela Holden] The Learning Management System (LMS) used for all courses at Lindenwood University is Canvas. Other methods of interacting between instructors and students include email, and virtual meetings via MS Teams, Zoom, or Canvas Conferences.

We offer a variety of modalities for our courses. Fully online courses are primarily asynchronous, although an instructor may offer an occasional synchronous class meeting. Distance Learning courses are comprised of a weekly synchronous class meeting and online assignments. Hybrid courses are comprised of a combination of on-ground class meetings and online assignments. Either way, instructors support their students by offering online office hours at posted times, and/or by appointment.

[] What role does faculty mentorship play in Lindenwood University’s Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity and Master of Science in Cybersecurity Management? Independent of faculty instruction and support, what career development resources and academic services are available to students of these programs? How can students make the most of these mentorship opportunities and support systems while in the program?

[Dr. Angela Holden] Lindenwood University offers many services to students, for example, Career Services are available to students in the Center for Experiential Learning. For more information about these services, please see the Center for Experiential Learning’s website.

Also, the Library offers research services, a writing center, equipment loans, and more. For more information about these services, please visit Library Services.

Free Tutoring Services are accessible 24/7 via Canvas, and students can obtain an online lab subscription to practice their skills in Ethical Hacking and Penetration Testing courses.

[] For students who are interested in Lindenwood University’s Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity and/or Master of Science in Cybersecurity Management, what advice do you have for submitting a competitive application? As Lindenwood University provides U.S. military benefits to its students, what should active and former members of the U.S. military take into consideration when deciding whether to apply to either of these programs?

[Dr. Angela Holden] For a competitive application, we look for students who are passionate about learning and have solid career goals. Our Professional Advisors will work with undergraduate students to map applicable transfer credit into their program of study and lay out a degree plan. For entry into the graduate program we look for an undergraduate degree in a related field such as Information Technology, Computer Science or Cybersecurity, and/or some work experience in a related field.

At Lindenwood University we have a dedicated team of specialists in the Veterans Affairs Office who can help our valued military veterans with their questions about programs and benefits. Prospective students should visit the Veterans Affairs Center for contact information.

[] What makes Lindenwood University’s Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity and Master of Science in Cybersecurity unique, and particularly strong degree options for students? From faculty expertise and mentorship opportunities to the quality of the curriculum, what are some standout aspects of the program that you would like prospective students to know about?

[Dr. Angela Holden] Curriculum design for the undergraduate and graduate programs in Cybersecurity was guided by the expertise of an Advisory Board comprised of professionals from a variety of industries. They also participated in course development and textbook selection. This is what makes Lindenwood University’s Cybersecurity curriculum a strong and high-quality degree option.

Prospective students should know that our instructors are degreed and certified in their fields and many of them are employed full-time by major corporations. As such, our instructors are in tune with the latest developments in the field, have real-world experience to bring into the classroom, and are awesome mentors for their students.
This is what makes Lindenwood University’s Cybersecurity programs stand out from the crowd!

Thank you, Dr. Angela Holden, for your excellent insight into Lindenwood University’s Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity and Master of Science in Cybersecurity Management!