New joint U of W and WTC network security diploma offered

U of W hopes to create more pathways into degree programs for college students

A new U of W joint program with Winnipeg Technical College is set to help educate students on combating system hackers. Cindy Titus

This past September, the University of Winnipeg and Winnipeg Technical College (WTC) joined forces to launch a new network security diploma, aimed at combating hackers and training students in Cisco technology.

“Through several meetings with other representatives from the university, we were looking for ways to collaborate and eventually offer WTC students a clear pathway into degree programs,” said Stevi Dram, manager of information technology programs at the U of W division of continuing education.

“The IT (information technology) area seemed like the most logical place to start because our courses meld better than any other area.”

The diploma offers students a basis to understanding hackers and how to set up networks.

“Our grads have to work with Microsoft programs, setting up servers and learning how to secure it,” noted Randy Hirose, an instructor at WTC. “They end with the security part in terms of ethical hacking.”

Dram adds that the success level of students depends on how much experience they come with into the program.

“This isn’t going to make gurus, it’s only a start, a solid foundation and entry into the profession,” Dram said. “Students can ladder these courses into an applied computer science degree if they want to take it further.”

WTC is a certified Cisco training facility, which is the operating system the U of W uses.

We were looking for ways to collaborate and eventually offer WTC students a clear pathway into degree programs.

Stevi Dram, manager of information technology programs, U of W division of continuing education

Ellen Brownstone, vice-president academic for WTC notes that the skills learned the college can be useful for the U of W infrastructure.

“WTC instructors are trained to provide Cisco instruction, and have brought that to the U of W,” Brownstone said.

The diploma will give students skills that are valuable in other fields like criminal justice, should students decide to pursue a degree afterwards. The courses taken in the diploma program will be transferred to a degree program.

Half of the program takes place at WTC and the other, more theoretical half will be at the U of W.

“We’re doing more theoretical-based information assurance courses,” Dram said. “They do more technological stuff and we do more of the academic higher conceptual thinking ... behind hacking.”

Right now, WTC knows of half a dozen people enrolled in the course, but there may be more taking the required courses at the U of W that they are unaware of. WTC hopes to see an influx of students towards the end of month and the beginning of new year due to their continuous intake system.

Both parties are looking forward to developing more joint initiatives, with a second diploma program already in the works.

“Our business human resource management diploma is expected to be implemented by end of this academic year,” Brownstone said.

For more information on the Network Security Diploma, visit

Published in Volume 65, Number 11 of The Uniter (November 11, 2010)

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