Information Technology Faculty

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Purdue Global Leadership

Jeffrey Buck
Jeffrey Buck, PhD
Jeffrey Buck, PhD
Academic Dean and Vice President

Jeffrey Buck brings more than 20 years of teaching and higher education administration experience to his role as dean of the School of Business and Information Technology. As a faculty member, Buck earned tenure as a marketing professor and taught internationally in Lithuania. In addition, Buck has extensive experience at the director and executive levels in higher education, primarily working with adult and graduate programs. In his leadership roles, he has championed the development and implementation of several academic initiatives to include an online Master of Business Administration (MBA) program, post- and pre-MBA certificate programs, a concurrent MBA/Master of Science in Technology (MST) program, a joint MBA/Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program, and an MBA program designed for Filipino nurses.

Education: PhD, University of Mississippi; MBA and BS, Ball State University

Publications: Innovative Higher Education, Journal of Applied Business and Economics

Honors and Achievements: Served in the U.S. Army

Memberships: Leadership positions with the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)

Research Interests: Organizational commitment, services marketing, factors impacting adult student satisfaction and success

Jeffrey Buck Link
Academic Dean and Vice President
Stephen Beyer
Stephen Beyer, PhD
Stephen Beyer, PhD
Department Chair

Stephen Beyer has been a faculty member in information technology for 20 years and in higher education administration for 10 years. At Purdue Global, he teaches various undergraduate courses in IT, with a special emphasis in programming, database development, and website development. Beyer oversees numerous innovations in curriculum, including use of multimedia in the classroom, modularized curriculum, customized programs, and competency based programs.

Education: PhD, University of North Texas

Honors and Achievements: Teaching and service honors

Research Interests: Instructional media for student academic success

Stephen Beyer Link
Department Chair
Jay Blatt
Jay Blatt, MA
Jay Blatt, MA
Department Chair

After working in the IT industry for 7 years, Jay Blatt shifted his focus to academia. He has been a department chair at Purdue Global for over 10 years, overseeing the Network Department and all of its full-time faculty and adjunct faculty. Prior to Purdue Global, Blatt was the dean of information technology at South Florida's American InterContinental University (AIU), managing 46 faculty and 3 department chairs, as well as Academic Scheduling and Academic Advising. He was also in charge of all curriculum development and course delivery for the brick and mortar campus.

Education: MA

Certifications: CNE, MCSE, A+, Security+

Jay Blatt Link
Department Chair
Tiffany Laitola
Tiffany Laitola, MS
Tiffany Laitola, MS
Department Chair

Tiffany Laitola is an academic department chair in the School of Business and Information Technology at Purdue Global. Prior to Purdue Global, Laitola served in a variety of leadership roles in the military and brings a combined 30 years of experience in the fields of cryptologic communications, cybersecurity/IT, and education & training.      


Education:
EDSD: Learning, Instruction & Innovation (August 2023), MSITM: Information Assurance/Security & Digital Forensics, BSITM

Certifications: ITIL Foundations, Security +, CEH (exp.), NCCT Certified Postsecondary Instructor, DEI in the Workplace

Memberships: Golden Key International Honor Society

Research Interests: Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling (TPRS), AI in learning and education

Tiffany Laitola Link
Department Chair
Kristina Setzekorn
Kristina Setzekorn, PhD
Kristina Setzekorn, PhD
Department Chair

Kristina Setzekorn is an academic department chair in the School of Business and Information Technology at Purdue Global. She oversees graduate IT programs as well as undergraduate project management and internship courses. Her team developed the master’s degree in cybersecurity management, implementing a graduate thesis and virtual internship option. Prior to earning her doctorate, Setzekorn sold agricultural chemicals and pharmaceuticals. Before joining Purdue Global in 2011, she held traditional faculty positions at Oakland University and the University of Evansville.

Education: PhD, MBA, Southern Illinois University; BS, Iowa State University

Research Interests: IT value, impact of faculty gender on student performance and persistence

Kristina Setzekorn Link
Department Chair

Purdue Global Full-Time Faculty

Rhonda Chicone
Rhonda Chicone, PhD
Rhonda Chicone, PhD
University Faculty

Rhonda Chicone is a dedicated academic, researcher, and software engineer with dual passions for software product development and cybersecurity. At Purdue Global, Chicone teaches IT, cybersecurity and secure software development courses at the graduate level. She was part of a two-person team responsible for the design and creation of the master’s degree in cybersecurity management (MSCM) program. After its creation, Chicone played a key role in helping the program achieve the distinction of being recognized as an NSA Center of Excellence for Cyber Defense.

Throughout her career, she has held various positions, including software engineer, software engineering manager, director of software development, CTO (Chief Technology Officer), and CSO (Chief Security Officer), primarily focusing on commercial software products. Her significant contributions to program development within academia demonstrate her strong passion for the intersection of innovation, education, and technology. In addition to her professional achievements, she frequently publishes and presents at national conferences.


Education: PhD, Northcentral University; MS, Kent State University; BS, Youngstown State University

Publications: Chicone, R., Ferebee, S. (2020, October). A Comparison Study of Two Cybersecurity Learning Systems: Facebook’s Open Source Capture the Flag and CTFD. Issues in Information Systems.

Chicone, R., Ferebee, S. (2020, October). The Better Assessment Tool: Facebook’s Open Source Capture the Flag or CTFd. Presented at OTPGH (www.otpgh.com) online.

(2020) Keynote Speaker. Security Awareness and Becoming a Human Firewall. Minot State University’s An Evening of Information Assurance & Cybersecurity.

Chicone, R., Burton, T., & Huston, J. (2018). Using Facebook’s open source Capture the Flag platform as a hands-on learning and assessment tool for cybersecurity education. International Journal of Conceptual Structures and Smart Applications (IJCSSA) 6(1), Special Edition: Transforming Learning With Smart Technology.

Burton, T., Chicone, R., & Ferebee, S. (2018, October). Enhancing Online Student Engagement with Extracurricular Activities. Presented at the IACIS 2018 58th International Conference, Clearwater, Fl.

Burton, T., Chicone, R., & Ferebee, S. (2018). Enhancing Online Student Engagement with Extracurricular Activities. Issues in Information Systems, 19(3), 202-211.

Certifications: Information Systems Security (INFOSEC) Professionals Certifications CNSS 4011, NSTISSI 4011     

Honors and Achievements: 2018 Spirit Award, Purdue University Global

Memberships: Association of Computing Machinery (ACM), The American Association of University Professors (AAUP)      

Research Interests: Secure software development and quality assurance, cybersecurity, the intersection of AI and cybersecurity, and using AI to teach software development

Rhonda Chicone Link
University Faculty
Carol T. Edwards
Carol T. Edwards, PhD
Carol T. Edwards, PhD
University Faculty

Carol T. Edwards has over 20 years of service and leadership in non-profit, business and the academic arenas. She has instructed IT and cybersecurity courses at Purdue Global for over 15 years. Edwards is responsible for course design and curriculum development in IT courses and the creation of a nursing course. She began her academic career as a Business Instructor, after which she served in academic positions as a substitute instructor and an academic advisor for national, international, study abroad and at-risk students at American Intercontinental University (AIU). She has worked in fortune 500 companies, is a notary public and a CAEL certified portfolio evaluator. Edwards is a frequent presenter, collaborator and writer for national conferences.

Education: PhD, Northcentral University; MEd, BIT, American InterContinental University ERT; AS, Essex County College

Publications: ProQuest, Journal of Online Higher Education, MERLOT Journal

Certifications: MOUS, Microsoft, CAEL Certification, GRAPE Camp Peer Reviewer - Merlot & Online Learning Consortium (OLC)

Honors and Achievements: Outstanding Full-Time Faculty Award, Innovations Lab Fellow, Peer Reviewer Extraordinaire, Outstanding Dedication to Students Award

Memberships: Great Emerging Methods (GEMs), Merlot, Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), Online Learning Consortium (OLC), Technology, Colleges & Community (TCC)

Research Interests: e-Learning, Education Technology, student Persistence, Student engagement, diversity, equity and inclusion

Carol T. Edwards Link
University Faculty
Chris Esquire
Chris Esquire, JD
Chris Esquire, JD
University Faculty

Chris Esquire has over 4 years of teaching and curriculum design experience in a variety of content areas and across several colleges and universities. Before joining the University, Esquire worked in public, private, and government sectors in IT and cybersecurity and is also an Army veteran. He has presented nationally and internationally, has several publications, and has award-winning cybersecurity research.

Education: DBA (ABD) Computer and Information Security, Northcentral University; JD, Birmingham School of Law; MSISM Project Management, Grantham University; BSIS IT & Accounting Fraud and Forensics, University of Alabama in Birmingham

Publications: International Guide to Cybersecurity, 2nd edition; There Was a Data Breach…Now What?; Data Breach Liability: The Cloud Is Not an Imaginary Place; Data Breach Liability: Protecting Your Clients, Customers, and Employees From Data Breaches; Addressing Privacy: GDPR, Cloud, and You; Applying the Risk Management Framework to the Cloud; Hacking Your Way at Sea: A Look Into Maritime Cyber Legal Issues; Critical Infrastructure Protection: Protecting Others by Protecting Yourself

Certifications: GPEN, CEH, CCSK, CSSGB

Honors and Achievements: First place award, November 2017: “Hacking Your Way at Sea: A Look Into Maritime Cyber Legal Issues”; Maritime Risk Symposium Alabama Legislature Medal of Honor Army Achievement Medal

Memberships: American Bar Association Privacy and Computer Crime, Vice Chair, 2017–present; Cloud Security Alliance Incident Management and Forensics Workgroup, 2015–present; American Bar Association YLD Law Practice Committee, Vice Chair, 2017–2018 term; ISACA Birmingham Chapter Academic Relations/Research Committee Director, 2016 term

Bar Memberships: Supreme Court of the United States, 2019; U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, 2016; Veterans Affairs Accreditation, 2016; State of Alabama, 2015; U.S. District Court Northern District of Alabama, 2015; U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Eleventh Circuit, 2015

Research Interests: Game theory, privacy laws, cyber laws, international cybercrime, risk assessment, security governance, information security, project management, maritime security, cloud technology, technology laws, data breach liability

Chris Esquire Link
University Faculty
Susan Ferebee
Susan Ferebee, PhD
Susan Ferebee, PhD
University Faculty

Susan Ferebee has been a professor in the information systems discipline for over 15 years and has been with Purdue Global since 2010. In addition to teaching graduate courses in writing and cybersecurity at Purdue Global, she serves as dissertation chair to a number of doctoral students outside the University. Prior to moving into teaching and research, Ferebee worked at Intuit, Lucent Technologies, AOL, and Tier3.

Education: PhD, Nova Southeastern University

Honors and Achievements: 2017 Faculty Scholarship Award (Kaplan University), 2017 McJulien Scholar Best Paper Award (AECT International Conference), 2017 Best Conference Presentation (Academic Forum), additional teaching and research honors

Research Interests: Developing narrative inquiries on unique needs of students in underserved populations, including Native American students, first-year online students, and home-schooled students

Susan Ferebee Link
University Faculty
Tamara Fudge
Tamara Fudge, DMus
Tamara Fudge, DMus
University Faculty

Tamara Fudge began her career at Purdue Global in Davenport, Iowa teaching writing, critical thinking, diversity, and communication classes before moving to teaching online courses in the School of Business and Information Technology. She specializes in web development, interface design, communication, and analysis and is a frequent collaborator, writer, and presenter. Prior to Purdue Global, Fudge taught music at the college and university level for over 20 years. She has sung opera and oratorio, and her compositions have been played on public radio and featured at a state choral convention.

Education: DMus, Florida State; MSIT, Kaplan University (now Purdue Global); MMus, BMus, Indiana University

Publications: Quad City Times

Certifications: Microsoft Office Specialist Master

Honors and Achievements: Outstanding Full-Time Faculty Award, Innovations Lab Fellow (Center for Teaching and Learning, Purdue Global)

Tamara Fudge Link
University Faculty
Marjorie Furay
Marjorie Furay, MSIT
Marjorie Furay, MSIT
University Faculty

Marjorie Furay has over 40 years’ experience in IT and business before starting her academic career as a full-time instructor of the IT190-Information Technology Concepts course at Purdue Global. The course focuses on the fundamentals of technology using online certification training and lessons to prepare them for the CompTIA ITF+ certification. Furay is also VP of the Purdue Global Internship Program-Technology providing real-world/hands-on training and developing of skills prior to graduating and employment to undergraduate and graduate students in their final courses. The focus is for the student to gain the ability to implement their education and gain experience in the field of cybersecurity, analytics, software development, database, networking, project management, or IT Support. Furay is co-founder of 1mpact IT Group, an IT Consulting Company that provides guidance and services to companies that need help with marketing and growth of the company.


Education: MSIT, Walden University; BS, Purdue University Global

Certifications: CompTIA ITF+ Information Technology Fundamentals; Business Planning 101              

Research Interests: Impact and benefits of organizing, regulating, and instituting online virtual internship environments in a university

Marjorie Furay Link
University Faculty
Gustavo Gomez
Gustavo Gomez, MS
Gustavo Gomez, MS
University Faculty

Gustavo “Gus” Gomez joined Kaplan University in 2004. Gomez started as an adjunct professor in the IT department, was later promoted to full-time adjunct, and currently holds a full-time faculty position in the networking department. He has taught IT classes for over 22 years, covering many different areas in the IT field such as programming, project management, cloud technologies, IT consulting, and networking. In collaboration efforts with the curriculum department, he participates in the process of course and curriculum development, and he also has course lead responsibilities.

Before joining Purdue Global, Gomez brings 20+ years of manufacturing experience in several industrial environments including purchasing manager at a petrochemical plant, and vice-president of R&D at a contract manufacturing firm. Gomez is a member of the National Cybersecurity League (NCL) and serves as a coach during the yearly competitions. He is an active member of PG’s Multiversity committee, and Cybersecurity Club, and performs as a subject matter expert in several IT courses.

Education: MS in Database Technologies, University of Maryland University College; BSChe in Chemistry, Catholic University of Puerto Rico

Publications: Data warehousing to advance the educational paradigm, research paper, University of Maryland University College.
Database for Mere Mortals: A Hands-On Guide to Relational Database Design (2013, Pearson) - 13 chapters of student and Instructor exercises, templates, and Q&A

Certifications: Online Faculty Certificate 2015; ITIL in progress; Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)            

Memberships:
ISACA; ACM; IEEE        

Research Interests: Network security, approaches to cybersecurity threats and prevention, cloud technologies

Gustavo Gomez Link
University Faculty
Ahmad Kassem
Ahmad Kassem, MS
Ahmad Kassem, MS
University Faculty

Ahmad Kassem began his academic career in the School of Business and Information Technology at Purdue Global in 2007. He currently serves as a full-time faculty member and course lead for programming concentrations. Kassem teaches undergraduate courses in IT with a special emphasis on programming and has worked on a variety of course development projects, including data analytics curriculum development.

Prior to Purdue Global, Kassem was employed as an IT director, project manager and senior developer working in the oil and gas, finance, and telecommunication industries managing large-scale projects such as Y2K and SAP implementation.


Education:
ABD, Argosy University; MS, Houston Baptist University; BS, University of Houston               

Publications: Chen, Alan Chia-Lung a, Elhajj, Ahmed, Gao, Shang c, Sarhan, Abdullah, Afra, Salim, Kassem, Ahmad, Alhajj, Reda. Approximating the maximum common subgraph isomorphism problem with a weighted graph In Knowledge-Based Systems. September 2015.

Effectiveness of Mobile Electrocardiogram in Healthcare: From Mobile Application and Development to Community Reaction. IEEE/ACM International Conference - Conference Paper. (July 2017.)

Certifications: CompTIA Network +; CompTIA A+; Google Data Analytics Professional Certificate; Google IT Support Professional Certificate

Memberships: IEEE; ACM

Research Interests: Social networks analysis and mining; health informatics, biomedicine and bioinformatics

Ahmad Kassem Link
University Faculty
Robert Kayl
Robert Kayl, MS
Robert Kayl, MS
University Faculty

Robert Kayl recently joined Purdue Global as full-time faculty and teaches undergraduate courses in programming and databases. He has taught IT classes, as adjunct faculty, for 23 years covering many different areas in the field. Prior to joining Purdue Global, Kayl spent 33 years in the IT field specializing in databases, software engineering, and cybersecurity. In the last few years, Kayl spent time reversing and ethically hacking mobile applications to better the software development processes and writing smart contracts for a variety of blockchain technologies.

Education: MS in Software Engineering, University of Maryland University College; MS in Government Information Leadership, National Defense University; MA in Human Relations, University of Oklahoma; BS in Electronics Management, Southern Illinois University

Certifications: GSLC, Security+, Network+, CEH, CHFI, ITIL

Research Interests: Blockchain, analytics, cybersecurity, databases, software engineering

Robert Kayl Link
University Faculty
Jean Kotsiovos
Jean Kotsiovos, PhD
Jean Kotsiovos, PhD
University Faculty

Jean Kotsiovos began her career at Purdue Global (previously Kaplan University) in 2004 as an adjunct instructor teaching database and programming courses for the School of Information Technology. She has held various positions at the university over the past 29 years, including adjunct IT faculty, department chair, and assistant dean of curriculum. For the past 15 years, she served as the Executive Director of Curriculum and Innovation. Kotsiovos played a pivotal role in the development of the online degree programs and courses in the learning management system (LMS). Additionally, she implemented various instructional technology tools to enhance the student learning experience. She has extensive IT industry experience in software development, website design, and database management systems.


Education: PhD in Business Administration with a specialization in Applied Computer Science, Northcentral University; MA in Education with a specialization in Computer Education, Governors State University; BS in Business Administration - Information and Decision Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago

Publications: Reviewer of Retailing and E-tailing for Goodheart-Willcox Company, 2015.

Co-author of Microsoft Office 2010: Productivity Strategies for Today and Tomorrow textbook for Jones & Bartlett, 2013

Author of Banking & Financial Systems Workbook for Goodheart-Willcox Company, 2012

Contributing author for the Exploring Microsoft Office 2007 Vol. 2e textbook for Pearson Education

Contributing author for the Exploring Microsoft Office Excel 2007 textbook for Pearson Education

Reviewer for the Computer Security Penetration Systems textbook for Cengage

Technical editor for the Exploring Microsoft Office 2007 textbook for Pearson Education

Technical editor for the Exploring Microsoft Excel 2007 textbooks for Pearson Education


Certifications:
  Brightspace Teaching and Learning Certificate; Introduction to Accessibility and Inclusive Design, University of Illinois; Microsoft Office Specialist

Honors and Achievements: Purdue Global 2020 Organization Builders Award for Contract Tracing Course Development Team

Memberships: Member, GoDaddy Customer Council; Member, National Restaurant Association

Research Interests: Software development, artificial intelligence, accessibility, curriculum development, instructional design, and instructional tools that enhance teaching and learning

Jean Kotsiovos Link
University Faculty
Joseph Kovacic
Joseph Kovacic, PhD
Joseph Kovacic, PhD
University Faculty

Joseph Kovacic joined Purdue Global as an adjunct faculty member in 2019 and attained a full-time faculty position in 2021. Kovacic instructs various courses in database concepts using Microsoft Access , Software Development Concepts, software design and development, database concepts, Python Programming, advanced database concepts, artificial intelligence - deep learning and machine learning, modeling and predictive Analysis, database design and data modeling, and SQL query design. Kovacic has developed graduate-level courses and he currently serves as the course lead for various courses.

Kovacic has instructed undergraduate and graduate courses for over 20 years covering computer science, cybersecurity, information technology, and software engineering topics. Before joining Purdue Global, Kovacic spent 30 years working in the engineering and information technology fields specializing in databases, software engineering, and cybersecurity within the public and private sectors.         

Education: PhD, Business Administration - Applied Computer Science, Northcentral University; MS, Software Engineering, Loyola University Maryland; MES, Computer Science, Loyola University Maryland; MS, Nuclear Engineering, University of New Mexico; ME, Mechanical Engineering, Manhattan College; BS, Mechanical Engineering, Manhattan College.            

Publications: T.A. Culp and J. Kovacic, “A Methodology for Estimating an Annual Release from a Diffuse Transuranic Source,” Radioactivity & Radiochemistry, Volume 6, No. 3, 1995.

T.A. Culp, J. Kovacic, and R. Deola, “Determination of Releases from a Fugitive or Diffuse Source Using Downwind Air Monitoring and Site-Specific Meteorological Data,” Radioactivity & Radiochemistry, Volume 7, No. 4, 1996."               Dr. Kovacic maintains the following professional certifications/licenses: Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP); Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH); Project Management Professional (PMP); Professional Engineer in Maryland; CompTIA Security+; CompTIA Network+; CompTIA Cloud+; and Oracle Certified Professional (Database Administration).               "

Memberships: Member, Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA).              

Research Interests: Cybersecurity, databases, software engineering, programming, analytics, robotic process automation (RPA), and DevSecOps.

Joseph Kovacic Link
University Faculty
Deanne Larson
Deanne Larson, PhD
Deanne Larson, PhD
University Faculty

Deanne Larson is an active data science practitioner and academic. Her research has focused on enterprise data strategy, agile analytics, and data science best practices. Larson holds certifications in Project Management Professional (PMP), Project Management Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP), Certified Business Intelligence Professional (CBIP), and Six Sigma. She attended AT&T Executive Training at the Harvard Business School focusing on IT leadership, Stanford University focusing on data science, and New York University focusing on business analytics. Larson has presented at multiple conferences including TDWI, TDWI Europe, IRM UK, PMI, and other academic conferences. She has consulted for several Fortune 500 companies, and has authored multiple research articles on data science methodology and best practices.              

Education:  PhD, International School of Management; DCS, Colorado Technical University; DM, University of Phoenix

Publications: Multiple scholarly articles on data analytics, project management, data strategy, and text mining               

Certifications: PMP; PMI-ACP; CBIP; Certified Scrum Master; Six Sigma Black Belt

Memberships: TDWI; PMI           

Research Interests: Artificial Intelligence

Deanne Larson Link
University Faculty
Jason Litz
Jason Litz, MS
Jason Litz, MS
University Faculty

Jason Litz began his academic career in the School of Business and Information Technology at Purdue Global in 2002. He currently serves as a full-time faculty member and course lead for programming concentrations. Litz teaches undergraduate courses in IT with a special emphasis on programming and has worked on a variety of course development projects, including competency-based curriculum development. Prior to Purdue Global, Litz was employed as a software developer working on banking transaction and health care processing applications, as well as large-scale projects such as Y2K and HIPAA conversions.

Education: MS, BS, AAS, Columbus State University

Jason Litz Link
University Faculty
Stefanie Litz
Stefanie Litz, MS
Stefanie Litz, MS
University Faculty

Stefanie Litz has been teaching IT courses in the School of Business and Information Technology at Purdue Global since 2002. She serves as a full-time faculty member in the web and programming department. Litz began her career working at a major transaction processing company in various roles, from software development and maintenance to database administration, before moving to IT education.

Education: MS, BS, Columbus State University

Honors and Achievements: 2017 Full-Time FT Adjunct Excellence Award (Kaplan University)

Stefanie Litz Link
University Faculty
Cassie Longhart
Cassie Longhart, DHA
Cassie Longhart, DHA
University Faculty

Cassie Longhart began her career at Purdue Global in 2022 as a part-time adjunct teaching IT courses and was recently promoted to full-time faculty in the School of Business and Information Technology. Longhart comes to Purdue Global with an extensive management and analytics background in different healthcare areas. She is known widely as a subject matter expert and has presented on several topics nationally. Longhart has several different degrees in management, education, and quality and analytics. She obtained her Doctorate in Health Administration with a focus on Quality and Analytics focused on technology implementation in 2022.             

Education: DHA/QA, Capella University; MHA/ED, University of Phoenix; BSHA/HM, University of Phoenix; AAHCA, University of Phoenix            

Certifications: Google Data Analytics; NCIT-Basic Investigator; NCIT-Specialized Training

Honors and Achievements: Mentor Award, NEMSIS, 2022
Silver LifeSaver Award, 2018-2019           

Memberships: International Journal of Paramedicine (IJOP)-Reviewer; National Academies Science, Engineering, Medicine: Transportation Research Board - Panel Member; GAHIMSS              

Research Interests: Quality and analytics, healthcare technology, informational technology, cybersecurity in healthcare

Cassie Longhart Link
University Faculty
Donald McCracken
Donald McCracken, PhD
Donald McCracken, PhD
University Faculty

Donald McCracken began his career at Purdue Global in 2004 as an IT professor. He teaches various undergraduate courses in IT and cybersecurity, with a special emphasis on operating systems, routers, and switches. McCracken oversees numerous innovations in assessment curriculum, including modularized curriculum, customized programs, and competency based programs. Most recently, he has been collaborating with colleagues and instructional designers to improve the course curriculum in Brightspace and working with vendors to improve student interaction and learning. Prior to Purdue Global, McCracken was in active duty service in the U.S. Navy and worked in IT positions at Wachovia Bank and Lowe's Companies, Inc., until 2013.

Education: PhD, Northcentral University; MS, Capella University; BS, Appalachian State University

Certifications: Industry certifications from Cisco Systems, Microsoft, Novell, CompTIA

Research Interests: Cloud computing, cybersecurity with artificial intelligence

Donald McCracken Link
University Faculty
Scott Mensch
Scott Mensch, PhD
Scott Mensch, PhD
University Faculty

Scott Mensch’s areas of expertise are in network security and business/project management. Shortly after graduating with a Bachelor’s degree and obtaining a position with an engineering firm, he completed his MBA in 1998 and obtained two additional Associate Degrees in Computer Applications and Networking, and he began working in education. In 2007 he completed his PhD in Organizational Management with a Specialization in IT along with post-doctoral studies in advanced telecommunications. Mensch has served in multiple management roles over the past two decades both in the educational and corporate arenas.
              
Education:  PhD, Capella University; MBA, Point Park University

Publications:  Over 32 publications since 2007 in various IT and Business related fields.   

Certifications: Lean Green Belt, CCNA, MCSE NT4.0, MCSA 2000, A+, Server+, AWS, DevOps

Honors and Achievements: 2013 Best Paper Award at the Clute International Education Conference

2010 Best Paper of Track at the Academic and Business Research Institute (AABRI) Conference

2009 Best Paper of Track at the Academic and Business Research Institute (AABRI) Conference

2009 Outstanding Research Award at the Institute for Business and Finance Research Conference

Memberships:  IEEE       

Research Interests: Cybersecurity, Smart Phone Security, BYOD, Business Continuity Planning, Online Pedagogy

Scott Mensch Link
University Faculty
Nelly Mulleneaux
Nelly Mulleneaux, MS
Nelly Mulleneaux, MS
University Faculty

Nelly Mulleneaux is a full-time faculty member at Purdue Global working towards a PhD in Criminal Justice focused on Homeland Security. Mulleneaux’s background and experience include 15 years of project, program, and organizational management for business and Information Technology ecosystems. Her selfless commitment to the U.S. Military and Veteran community granted her a Rose of Texas commission by Governor Greg Abbott. Mulleneaux continues her mission to empower women, military spouses, and the Hispanic community. She promotes equality, resiliency, and awareness.


Education: MS, Purdue Global; BS, Purdue Global

Certifications: Data Privacy and Information Security; ITF+; Scrum Master Certified (SMC); Master Resilience Training

Honors and Achievements: Rose of Texas, Governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, 2018              

Memberships: Digital Authority of Technology Association (DATA) at Purdue University  

Research Interests: Information security standards; organizational change; student development; women empowerment; U.S. Military community; Hispanic community

Nelly Mulleneaux Link
University Faculty
Kathi Nicholson
Kathi Nicholson, MBA
Kathi Nicholson, MBA
University Faculty

Kathi Nicholson teaches undergraduate courses at Purdue Global, including website development, web graphics, and database concepts. She also develops modularized and competency-based courses within the technology program and has authored several website development courses for the University. Nicholson works to enrich the online learning environment for IT students through interactive activities and exercises that promote problem-solving and critical-thinking skills. She began her career at Purdue Global as a graduate assistant, became a professor in 2007, and earned full-time adjunct status in 2016. Prior to Purdue Global, Nicholson worked as a website design consultant for iDesign Tech for more than 12 years and acted as a freelance development specialist for multiple organizations.

Education: EdD, Northcentral University (in progress); MBA, Kaplan University (now Purdue Global)

Certifications: CIW JavaScript Specialist (in progress)

Kathi Nicholson Link
University Faculty
Shaila Rana
Shaila Rana, PhD
Shaila Rana, PhD
University Faculty

Shaila Rana is a full-time faculty member at Purdue University Global, actively contributing to important educational initiatives. In collaboration with Dr. Rhonda Chicone, she co-authored open courses on cybersecurity awareness, delving into vital topics such as best practices, home cybersecurity, and the pathway to a cybersecurity career. Rana also assisted with Module 4 of the ACC course, focusing on the multifaceted applications of AI across various industries and domains. Her particular interest lies in exploring the intersection of AI and diverse industries, with a primary emphasis on cybersecurity and education.

Rana's research focuses on uncovering how AI can be a boon for learners while critically analyzing both the advantages and disadvantages it brings to the cybersecurity sector. Rana's work is focused on understanding and harnessing AI's potential across different industries. As a full-time faculty member, she remains deeply committed to educating learners about the critical importance of cybersecurity and actively supports their aspirations to bridge the cybersecurity workforce gap, a significant contribution to the future of cybersecurity professionals.    


Education:
PhD in Information Technology, University of the Cumberlands; MS in Computer Information Systems - Cybersecurity, Boston University; BA in International Relations, UC Davis

Publications: Rana, S. (2023, May 16). A Primer on the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. https://www.icitech.org/post/a-primer-on-the-cybersecurity-and-infrastructure-security-agency

Rana, S. (2023, February 14). 2022 Cyber Legislation in Review. https://www.icitech.org/post/2022-cyber-legislation-in-review

Rana, S., & Rana, S. (2022). The Influencing Factors of Interest Levels in VR Cybersecurity Training. International Conference for Internet Technology and Secured Transactions (ICITST-2022). DOI: 10.20533/ICITST.2022.0002

Rana, S., & Alhamdani, W. (2022). A VR Cybersecurity Training Knowledge-Based Ontology. open science index 16 2022, 2, 5.

Rana, S., & Alhamdani, W. (2020). Exploring the Need to Study the Efficacy of VR Training Compared to Traditional Cybersecurity Training. International Journal of Computer and Information Engineering, 15(1), 10-17.

Certifications: Security+ Certification

Honors and Achievements: Fellow at the Institute of Critical Infrastructure Technology; Speaker at multiple conferences; Peer reviewer at multiple journals

Research Interests: Cybersecurity, Virtual Reality (VR) cybersecurity training, effective cybersecurity training methods, and the intersection of AI and cybersecurity

Shaila Rana Link
University Faculty
Stephen Savage
Stephen Savage, MITE
Stephen Savage, MITE
University Faculty

Stephen Savage is a full-time professor and course lead at Purdue Global. He teaches undergraduate courses in technology with an emphasis on databases, computer architectures, systems, and communications infrastructure. Savage oversees numerous innovations in curriculum, including modularized curriculum and customized and competency-based programs. He enjoys developing software solutions related to online learning with an emphasis on project-based and collaborative learning.

Savage began his academic career at the American Intercontinental University (AIU) and has been an IT professor for 19 years. Prior to AIU, he worked as an IT professional for 15 years, implementing a major distributed logistics system for the Hostess Frito Lay Company and spending 3 years as a customer relationship management (CRM) software consultant. Savage has continued to consult part-time on IT application development projects since beginning his teaching career.

Education: MITE, BA, Dalhousie University

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University Faculty
Art Sedighi
Art Sedighi, PhD
Art Sedighi, PhD
University Faculty

Art Sedighi is an academic professor at Purdue Global with an established and in-depth knowledge in the discipline of data science, security and programming. He teaches courses in Databases, Cloud, Cloud Security, Software Development and Engineering, and is highly interested in participating in the development of new interdisciplinary programs of study. Sedighi has a deep commitment to teaching and brings his linkage with the industry to the classroom.

Sedighi is a Wall Street Technology Executive with over 25 years of experience planning, designing, developing and having end-to-end ownership of large enterprise-wide solutions for financial services industry world-wide. His work focuses on areas of security, high performance computing and cloud-native architecture.

Education: PhD in Systems Engineering, Texas Tech University; PhD in Information Assurance and Cryptography, Iowa State University; MS in Bioinformatics, Johns Hopkins University; Masters in Computer Science, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Publications: Sedighi, A., Daniels, T., & Jacobson, D. (2022). On the Feasibility of T-PKI as an Anonymization Protocol for TPMs in Trusted Computing Environments. Paper presented at the IEEE 8th International Conference on Intelligent Data and Security (IEEE IDS 2022), Jinan, China.

Sedighi, A., Jacobson, D., & Daniels, T. (2021). T-PKI for Anonymous Attestation in TPM. Paper presented at the 2021 IEEE 6th International Conference on Smart Cloud (SmartCloud), Newark, NJ, USA.

A. Sedighi, Y. Deng, and P. Zhang, “Simulating Fairness of Task Scheduling in High Performance Computing Environments,“ 2015.

A. Sedighi, S. D'Mello, G. Isaacs, and D. Jacobson, “BitemporalDB: A Bitemporal Database in the Cloud for Financial Services Data,” in 2020 IEEE International Conference on Smart Cloud (SmartCloud), 2020, pp. 68-73: IEEE.

A. Sedighi and D. Jacobson, “Computational Challenges and Opportunities in Financial Services,” in International Conference on Smart Computing and Communication, 2019, pp. 310-319: Springer.

A. Sedighi, M. Smith, and Y. Deng, “An Evaluation of Optimizing for FUD in Scheduling for Shared Computing Environments,” in The 2nd IEEE International Conference on Smart Cloud (SmartCloud 2017), New York, NY, 2017: IEEE.

A. Sedighi and M. Smith, Fair Scheduling in High Performance Computing Environments. Springer, 2019.

A. Sedighi, Y. Deng, and P. Zhang, “Fairness of task scheduling in high performance computing environments,” Scalable Computing: Practice and Experience, vol. 15, no. 3, pp. 273-285, 2014.

A. Sedighi and D. Jacobson, “Forensic Analysis of Cloud Virtual Environments,” in 2019 IEEE International Conference on Computational Science and Engineering (CSE) and IEEE International Conference on Embedded and Ubiquitous Computing (EUC), 2019, pp. 323-329: IEEE.

A. Sedighi, M. Smith, and Y. Deng, “FUD – Balancing Scheduling Parameters in Shared Computing Environments," presented at The 4th IEEE International Conference on Cyber Security and Cloud Computing (IEEE CSCloud 2017) New York, June 26-28, 2017.

A. Sedighi, “Modeling the Aspects of Quality of Service in Web Services and Service Oriented Architectures,” ed: Retrieved, 2012.

Certifications: AWS, Azure and ISC2

Memberships: IEEE, ISC2, Member of the Center for Academic Excellence (CAE) 

Research Interests: Cloud security, quantum safe cryptography using lattices, and large-scale secure system design and development

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University Faculty
Randy Stauber
Randy Stauber, MS
Randy Stauber, MS
University Faculty

Randy Stauber teaches in the School of Business and Information Technology at Purdue Global. Before joining the University, he was the senior security engineer for a company that performed risk assessments throughout the United States. In addition to his professional experience, Stauber has over 10 years of teaching and curriculum design experience in a variety of content areas and across several colleges and universities. Stauber is an active member of ISSA and ISC^2 where he regularly presents on topics related to cybersecurity and global threats.

Education: PhD, Capella University (in process); MS, Capitol College (now Capitol Technology University):

Certifications: CISSP, MCSE

Memberships: International System Security Association, International Information System Security Certification Consortium, Federal Information Systems Security Educators’ Association (FISSEA), Adam Smith Institute, Mensa

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University Faculty
Darryl Togashi
Darryl Togashi, MBA
Darryl Togashi, MBA
University Faculty

Darryl Togashi brings 15+ years industry experience in IT, networking, programming (c/c++, C#, dotNet, Java), web development, server administration, database development, project management, and management of small and large teams. Togashi started as an adjunct professor in 2015 and served as a full-time department chair at Ivy Tech Community College, and then in 2019 he became the director of the cybersecurity program at Indiana Tech. As the Centers of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity point of contact for Ivy Tech and Indiana Tech, he led different teams one for Ivy Tech’s renewal and another for Indiana Tech’s Program of Study cybersecurity program designation. Other hats that he wears are the Vice-President of the InfraGard Indiana, the Midwest Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (MWCCDC) Indiana State Director, working closely with the Regional MWCCDC, getting involved with local events like JA JobSpark, running a competition in cybersecurity at the Northeast Indiana Techfest, Cyber Patriots Camps, and Girl Scout Cybersecurity Badges sessions. 

Education: MBA in Management, Indiana Institute of Technology; BS, Computer Science, Indiana University - Purdue University

Certifications: MITRE ATT&CK Defender™ (MAD) ATT&CK® Cyber Threat Intelligence Certification 2021; MITRE ATT&CK Defender™ (MAD) ATT&CK® SOC Assessments Certification 2021; MITRE ATT&CK Defender™ (MAD) ATT&CK® Fundamentals Badge 2021; Applying the Quality Matters Rubrics 2021; Creating Effective Assessments (HLC) 2021; AWS Cloud Practitioner 2018; EC-Council Computer Hacking Forensics Investigator (CHFI) 2017; Six-sigma White Belt Certification (2016); Online Faculty Certificate 2015

Honors and Achievements: Appointed Vice President of Infragard Indiana 2022; Led the Program of Study for CAE-CD application for Indiana Tech 2022; Parkview Health Cybersecurity Challenge Coin Award 2021; Successfully renewed our CAE-CD designation for Ivy Tech Community College 2018

Memberships: Vice-President for Indiana’s Infragard (2022-Present); Cybersecurity Club Advisor (2021-present); Women in STEM Club Advisor (2020-present); AFA CyberPatriots Mentor/Organizer (2019-Present); Centers of Excellence in Cybersecurity Point of Contact for Indiana Tech (2019-present); FBI Citizens Academy (2018-present); Indiana Executive Cybersecurity Council 2017; National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition Director for Indiana (2016-present); Infragard Member in the Education Sector for Indiana (2016-2022); TechFest Digital Forensics and Network Security Competitions Developer/Coordinator (2016-present)

Research Interests: Digital Forensics, Practical Cybersecurity Lab Development, AI and ML

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University Faculty
Chenyao Zhang
Chenyao Zhang, MD
Chenyao Zhang, MD
University Faculty

Chenyao Zhang recently joined Purdue Global as full-time faculty and teaches undergraduate courses in programming, databases, and data analytics. He has taught IT classes for five years covering many different areas in the field. Prior to joining Purdue Global, Zhang spent 20 years in the IT field specializing in business intelligence, data warehouse, and big data analytics. In the last few years, he has spent time integrating new big data technologies into existing business intelligence and data warehouse platforms to transform the traditional data analytical practices into modern practices.


Education: MS in Accounting, Kennesaw State University; MS Computer Science, Georgia Southwestern State University; MS Quality Assurance, Kennesaw State University; BBA in Accounting, University of Georgia; B. Sc. In Mathematics, University of Georgia; B. Sc. in Computer Science, University of Georgia

Research Interests: Data warehouse, business intelligence, data engineering, big data analytics, machine learning

Chenyao Zhang Link
University Faculty