Business students at the University at Albany will not only have a state-of-the-art building in which to attend classes this fall, but will soon have the choice of a new major.
On Monday, Aug. 19, school officials unveiled a new 96,000-square-foot School of Business building. The $64 million facility possesses “technologically advanced” classrooms and workspaces, “collaborative research centers,” break rooms, a career center, graduate workspace and a stock and bond trading room.
“The new building provides our students and faculty with a stimulating, world-class learning environment that promotes innovation, networking and the sharing of ideas and resources,” said UAlbany President Robert J. Jones. “It will place our School of Business within the top tier of business schools in the nation.”
The building was mostly paid for in the 2008-09 New York State budget, which provided $54 million for the project. The college raised another $8 million and is still seeking an additional $1.75 million.
Jones thanked Gov. Andrew Cuomo, SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher, Senators Hugh Farley and Neil Breslin, and all the members of state legislature for their support of the building. He also had high praise for Business School Dean Donald Siegel for his hard work in seeing the project through.
“Thanks to Dean Siegel, our business school is ranked 86th among 450 business schools nationwide,” Jones said. “I am confident that over the next five to 10 years we will reside among the top 50.”
At the same time as the unveiling, the university announced a new major that will see collaboration between the School of Criminal Justice, the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy, the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Computing. The University at Albany is now the first SUNY school to offer a four-year degree in digital forensics. It is also only the third such program in the nation, officials said.
Dr. Sanjay Goel, an associate professor of UAlbany’s School of Business and director of research at the New York State Center for Information Forensics and Assurance, described the program as the digital version of crime scene investigation.
“We are becoming increasingly dependent on information systems, which are now very complex,” he said. “What happens if something goes wrong?”
The new major is meant to “educate students in the protection, defense and investigation of information and information systems.” Goel said security demands in both the public and private fields are growing, and there is a lack of people with the knowledge to fill those demands.
“The typical I.T. employees can’t do this work themselves and need more experienced people to deal with these complexities,” he said.
With increased attacks from online hackers to major companies like The New York Times, Google and Facebook, Goel said companies are seeking experts with the knowledge to not only stop these security breeches, but with the skills to analyze why and how it happened. This allows more controls to be put in place, and can help the company learn if the culprit is an employee committing internal fraud, an employee making mistakes or an outsider looking to break in to the system.
Goel said many companies use to rely on law enforcement to handle these types of situations, but the systems are too complex and businesses are often provided few answers. By hiring their own employees, companies now have valuable information that can be used to learn who did the hacking, what was taken and how to prevent it in the future.
This new degree will provide students with the competitive edge to find employment for years to come, officials said.
“There is a huge demand. We expect to be able to place 100 percent of our graduates within the field,” Goel said.
The major will also work as a pipeline for several community colleges that have similar programs. Six new faculty members were hired to teach and do research within the digital forensics field. Classes are expected to begin in the fall of 2014.