TNS — Georgia Regents University is launching its Cyber Institute to develop research, new curriculum and outreach opportunities in cybersecurity starting this summer.

"We want to be known for cyber," said Joanne Sexton, director for GRU Cybersecurity Educational Initiatives. "The Augusta area has been growing in this aspect, and we want to be a major player in that."

"Cybersecurity is on everyone's agenda," said Gretchen Caughman, executive vice president for academic affairs and provost. "Some of our interest is the potential partnership with Fort Gordon, as well as NSA Georgia."

Caughman added Georgia is one of the top growing states for security jobs.

Both said Georgia legislators also have been active in the development of this program, particularly U.S. Reps. Rick Allen, R-Ga., and Lynn Westmoreland, R-Ga., who is chairman of the NSA and Cybersecurity Subcommittee of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

"They recognized the development of cybersecurity, and they are very supportive of the program," Sexton said.

The institute will provide the framework for all things cyber at the university, according to a press release.

Programs include a cybersecurity program through the Hull College of Business, a medical informatics program focused on protection of health information through the College of Allied Health, and courses on cyberterrorism through the Pamplin College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.

"Using the term cybersecurity definitely is new," said Sexton. "The needs for it have been around for a number of years. Because of the internet, we are extremely vulnerable."

The field of cybersecurity "is a great field to go into," Sexton said, adding there is a need for these jobs to be filled by qualified individuals, and the job demand isn't slowing down anytime.

©2015 the Aiken Standard (Aiken, S.C.), distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.