Harding University to open digital forensics lab

by George Jared ([email protected]) 226 views 

Harding University will build a digital forensics lab, set to open this fall in the Mabee Business Building within the Paul R. Carter College of Business Administration.

The lab will be the first of its kind in the state, the Searcy-based school said.

Harding’s public relations specialist Lauren Stephens told Talk Business & Politics the startup cost for the lab is about $250,000.

“Through a generous anonymous donation to the university, we are able to expand horizons yet again for our students,” said Dr. Mike Williams, president of Harding University. “Beginning this fall, our upper-level students will have the resources they need to begin advancing their skills through hands-on practices they can’t find at any other university in the state.”

Sophomores, juniors and seniors across Harding’s cybersecurity, computer science, forensic science and criminal justice programs will have the opportunity to learn advanced digital forensics skills. Students will complete a series of training and coursework before beginning their work in this state-of-the-art lab.

“Upon noticing the lack of hands-on opportunities for digital forensics in higher education, we developed this innovative solution that will best prepare our students for a dynamic job market,” said Dr. Allen Frazier, dean of the Paul R. Carter College of Business Administration. “The reactions so far have been overwhelmingly positive across the board, and we cannot wait to see the lab’s impact on the campus community this fall and beyond.”

The new lab, sponsored by LeadsOnline, will be renovated in an approximately 1,000-square-foot classroom previously designated as public lab space in the Mabee Business Building.

John Stone, assistant professor of cybersecurity, has been instrumental in authoring this endeavor and will provide continued oversight for the lab upon its opening, while Jeff Cavitt, a 2009 Harding alumnus, will manage its day-to-day operations. Dean Allen Frazier will oversee all functions of the lab.

The lab is scheduled to be open 40 hours each week during the school year.