Stephen Addison, dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, speaking during the October 2017 announcement of the cyber range as Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson looks on in the background.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed an executive order establishing the State Computer Science and Cybersecurity Task Force and appointed Stephen Addison, dean of the University of Central Arkansas College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, to be a member of the force.

Addison joins 30 other members who serve as leaders in education, industry and government in Arkansas. According to a press release issued from the governor’s office, the group will assess the state’s computer science and cybersecurity education programs and make recommendations to continue and enhance the progress made in computer science education over the past five years.

As the dean of UCA’s College of Natural Science and Mathematics, Addison is at the helm of UCA’s computer science department, which includes the relatively new Bachelor of Science degree in cybersecurity. The program launched in fall 2018 with nine students and grew to 57 declared majors by fall 2019.

“I am honored to be appointed to the task force, and I look forward to working with others around the state to continue advancing computer science and cybersecurity initiatives and programs in Arkansas,” said Addison. “The development of educational programs in computing and cybersecurity are critical to the economic development of the state and in recruiting and retaining businesses and industries.”

The release states that members of the task force will “provide guidance on improving and establishing updated large-scale goals and strategies; industry pathways and relevant certifications for major areas of computer science and computing; post-secondary alignment strategies and goals; work-based learning opportunities for students; teacher credentialing; correct placement and focus on data sciences and cybersecurity in curricula; potential funding usage and future needs; and outreach and development of educational materials.” The executive order was signed on Dec. 6.

For more information and a complete list of task force members, visit governor.arkansas.gov.