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May 28, 2013

ULM partners with CenturyLink and CISCO to launch new academy

Leaders in the University of Louisiana at Monroe College of Business Administration announce the CISCO Networking Academy for students and faculty in ULM’s Computer Information Systems program.

ULM has partnered with Fortune 500 Company CenturyLink and telecommunications equipment company CISCO to launch this initiative beginning Fall 2013.

CISCO's Networking Academy is a national program that teaches students skills to build, design, and maintain networks, while improving career prospects.

"CISCO produces networking equipment used across most market segments from home use to national backbone infrastructure," said Dr. William Barnett, chair of the computer information systems program at ULM.

"Cisco networking equipment and certifications are an industry standard, much like IBM or Microsoft."

Faculty within the ULM College of Business will develop specialized classes that prepare students to earn certifications from CISCO.

CISCO and CenturyLink will provide resources including the necessary training for faculty and equipment for academy labs. 

"Having taught in the networking area before becoming dean, I fully understand and appreciate the significance of this program," said Dr. Ron Berry, dean of the ULM College of Business.

"The ability of our faculty and students to gain experience on leading edge technology that is the industry standard-especially in the area of telecommunications and networking-is remarkable, and will significantly enhance the marketability and success of our graduates."

According to Barnett, CenturyLink and CISCO will jointly develop the academy at ULM.

This will provide an initial year of academy support, which will allow CIS faculty to attend CCNA instructor training and for the construction of six CCNA training pods, which will allow students to work hands-on with industry standard equipment.

The CIS program will integrate equipment, training, and other CISCO resources into existing classes.  

As part of the program, ULM will receive curriculum and software support for courses in networking and telecommunications. The primary goal is to help prepare students to pursue the CCNA (CISCO Certified Network Associate) industry certification, and most importantly, to enter the Information Technology (IT) workforce as network engineers and administrators.  

"Our end goal is to enhance the marketability of graduates from the ULM CIS program and to help regional organizations address the shortage of highly qualified IT professionals," said Barnett.

"We appreciate the support of industry leaders such as CISCO and CenturyLink for supporting this project."

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