Southeast Joins Cisco Networking Academy Program in Celebrating 20 Years in Missouri

Southeast Missouri State University’s Cisco Academy Support Center (ASC) was recently recognized during the 20th anniversary of the Cisco Networking Academy Program in Missouri celebration in Jefferson City, Missouri.

Southeast joined the program as one of the first networking academies and has contributed to Cisco’s program providing more than 28,000 Missouri students with the training needed to succeed in various Information Technology (IT) careers.

Southeast’s Cisco ASC is one of four centers in the state and was represented at the celebration by 2017 Southeast alumnus Ryan Lowe of Cape Girardeau. During the celebration, Lowe, who majored in technology management, telecommunications and computer networking option, and currently is pursuing a graduate degree in technology management, telecommunications systems option, discussed his experience with the program and its benefits.

“Cisco’s courses provided me with real-world knowledge that’s used in industry and with computer network infrastructure,” Lowe said. “Thanks to Southeast, I was able to take that knowledge and give it physical application. The Cisco courses gave purpose and fulfillment I was missing as well as an understanding of how our computer networks work.”

A goal of the Southeast Missouri ASC is to get more students involved in the science, technology, engineering and math disciplines, said Robbie Davis, manager of the Southeast Missouri ASC and instructor of telecommunications and networking at Southeast.

Currently, 110 students are enrolled in Cisco-associated courses at Southeast, which are part of undergraduate and master’s degree programs in technology management, engineering technology, cybersecurity and computer science. Southeast also offers associate degrees in computer technology and a minor in computer networking that include Cisco-associated courses in their curriculum.

“Students receive standardized training in the courses provided by Cisco,” Davis said. “These courses follow industry standard certification that provide the students with career opportunities. Industry professionals recognize Cisco as a leading provider in network equipment and a high standard of training provided by the courses. Cisco certifications also lead to higher paying technical jobs in the networking career field.”

Additionally, Cisco-associated courses use the same lessons and assignments which allows students to receive credit between their high school and/or college-level institutions. This further allows students to transfer credits along their degree path to Southeast easily.

Becoming an academy provides access to course materials and assistance from a local ASC.  Institutions do not pay to take part in the program, and Davis says there are opportunities for more institutions to take advantage of the program and become networking academies.

“This is a unique program since it is funded by Cisco,” he said. “Institutions do not pay for the course materials. The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education recognizes the courses taught from the Cisco curriculum as Industry Recognized Certifications.”

Missouri has 44 networking academies. As an ASC, Southeast assists 10 networking academies in the region.

Being involved with the program for so long has provided Southeast with the opportunity to be involved in restructuring the curriculum as well as creating curriculum, Davis said. The academies that the Southeast Missouri ASC assist have input as well.

“As an ASC, we provide support to new and old academies in the region,” he said. “We provide instructor training, guidance within the curriculum and how to utilize the Netacad website. We have a conference every year, incorporating ‘train the trainer’ techniques to help academies learn about changes in the curriculum. I am also their first line for tech support if they are having issues. Having that local tie makes a difference.”

For more information about Southeast’s Academy Support Center, visit semo.edu/polytech/cisco.