ST. BONAVENTURE — St. Bonaventure University has hired a global expert in computer technology and security to direct its bachelor's degree program in cybersecurity.
Dr. Hossein Sarrafzadeh, professor and director of the High Tech Transdisciplinary Research Network at Unitec Institute of Technology in Auckland, New Zealand, begins work at the university on June 1.
"Dr. Sarrafzadeh brings with him an in-depth knowledge of the information and communications technology sector and extensive international networks. He has had demonstrable success in developing cybersecurity programs," said Dr. David Hilmey, dean of SBU's School of Arts and Sciences. "He instantly gives our program credibility, both nationally and internationally. His vision and aspirations for our program are dynamic and bold."
Sarrafzadeh is the founder and co-director of New Zealand's first cybersecurity research center, which collaborates with Japan's primary national research institute for information and communications, the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology, and a number of universities and other research centers around the world.
The center works with a significant number of cybersecurity companies.
Sarrafzadeh is also the founder of the Center for Computational Intelligence in Environmental Engineering and the Internet of Things, a collaboration between Unitec and the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research in New Zealand and Wuhan University and Tech Company LJDY in China. Since their inception, both research centers have attracted millions of dollars of revenue from both domestic and international sources.
During his tenure at Unitec, Sarrafzadeh facilitated several significant partnerships with large technology firms, increased his department's external research income, and dramatically improved its research productivity.
Student numbers and success rates significantly improved as a result of successful initiatives and new courses and pathways he developed in the areas of cybersecurity, big data, software engineering, gaming and the Internet of Things.
The department attracted millions of dollars in national and international research funding over the years in collaboration with institutions in New Zealand and overseas involving a number of industry partners.
"We are excited to be working with Dr. Sarrafzadeh to create a sustainable and robust cybersecurity program at SBU," Hilmey said.
Sarrafzadeh has extensive experience in research, leadership and teaching, and in the development and administration of undergraduate and postgraduate programs. He also has broad experience with the computing industry, especially the information Technology and security industry in New Zealand and globally.
"I'm very excited about working with the already strong team at St. Bonaventure," Sarrafzadeh said.
To bolster the cybersecurity program, first offered last fall, St. Bonaventure has also established a cybersecurity advisory council in cooperation with Hilbert College.