America’s elite colleges are failing in the wired age: Study

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America’s most prestigious institutes of higher learning are failing to prepare a new generation of students for leadership in a wired world, says a new study released Tuesday.

The study, “One Leader at a Time: The Failure to Educate Future Leaders for an Age of Persistent Cyber Threat,”  was published by the Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy at Salve Regina University in Newport, R.I.

The study “details the failing of America’s most prestigious graduate programs to prepare their graduates — and ultimately the nation — for leadership of critical institutions” in an age when they can be damaged or even destroyed by poorly understood cyberattacks, says a summary provided by the university. 

Pell Center Fellow Francesca Spidalieri surveyed 70 top-ranked master’s degree-level programs in business, law, public affairs, public policy, international relations, criminal justice, and healthcare management. 

“Not one of the programs reviewed — not one — includes any aspect of cybersecurity among their core requirements,” the summary states. Only 10 of the 70 elite programs surveyed, concentrated in just five universities, scored three or higher on a four-point scale designed to assess “the exposure their students receive to cybersecurity issues,” says the summary.

“Ultimately, achieving cybersecurity is more than a technical problem,” said Ms. Spidalieri in a statement, “It is an operational problem, and only the leaders of institutions have the authority necessary to implement the fundamental, overarching policies that can begin to address some of these threats.”

Noting that President Barak Obama has referred to cybersecurity as “one of the most serious economic and national security challenges we face,” the study concludes that “the training of America’s next generation of leaders has, on balance, remained remarkably unconnected to the challenges of this century.”


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About the Author
Shaun Waterman

Shaun Waterman

Shaun Waterman is an award-winning reporter for The Washington Times, covering foreign affairs, defense and cybersecurity. He was a senior editor and correspondent for United Press International for nearly a decade, and has covered the Department of Homeland Security since 2003. His reporting on the Sept. 11 Commission and the tortuous process by which some of its recommendations finally became ...

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