Brookdale Community College was designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education (CAE-CDE) by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) through the 2024 academic year.

“This designation recognizes our institution for our rigorous academic programs in preparing students for careers in the growing and expanding cybersecurity industry,” said Dr. David Stout, president of Brookdale Community College. “It builds upon the foundation we have established over the years in cybersecurity, engineering and related fields.”

Institutions of higher education nationwide must meet demanding standards to achieve the designation as a Center for Academic Excellence. Brookdale and other institutions earning the official designation have successfully completed a comprehensive assessment analysis, met stringent criteria and have an interdisciplinary curriculum focusing on disciplines such as information technology, computer science, computer engineering and electrical engineering.

“The NSA and DHS designation will open up more opportunities for our students to expand their skills through academic programs, internships, conferences and other initiatives,” said Professor Michael Qaissaunee, chair of Brookdale’s Engineering and Technology department. “Our new hands-on laboratory environment will enable our students to hone their skills in a safe, secure environment while preparing them for the numerous cybersecurity opportunities in the public and private sectors.”

Professor Qaissaunee has obtained a number of grants in recent years enabling Brookdale to expand its offerings in the cybersecurity and engineering fields. Many of the courses in the certificate program are available online now, with all courses expected to be available online soon.

A formal award ceremony will take place in November. The NSA and DHS jointly sponsor the National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense (CAE-CD) program. It aims to promote higher education and research in cyber defense and to ensure that our nation produces professionals with cyber defense expertise. Brookdale is one of seven New Jersey institutions and the second community college statewide to earn the designation. For more information about Brookdale’s Cyber Center, visit