Dr. Margaret Leary, who is an information technology professor at NOVA’s Alexandria Campus and the director of NOVA’s Cybersecurity Credit Program, has been named a 2017 Outstanding Faculty of the Year by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV). This award is the Commonwealth’s highest honor for faculty at Virginia’s public and private colleges and universities. Leary is the 13th NOVA professor to receive this prestigious honor since the award’s inception in 1987.
Leary has more than 30 years of experience in IT (the most recent 12 in cybersecurity) and is a senior security policy advisor to government agencies in the Washington, D.C., area. She teaches a variety of cybersecurity courses at the Alexandria Campus. NOVA’s Cybersecurity Credit Program provides a curriculum that is mapped to Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Administration cybersecurity education standards and is designated by the agencies as a Center of Academic Excellence for two-year institutions (CAE2Y).
She is also a member of the National Cyberwatch Center Leadership team, where she serves as the director of curriculum, advocating for community college cybersecurity programs. She is also a member of Infragard, ISSA-NOVA and the Women’s Society of Cyberjutsu.
In 2016, Leary assumed the first endowed faculty chair in the history of the Virginia Community College System, becoming Edward H. and Marilynn D. Bersoff Endowed Chair for Computer and Information Sciences thanks to the generous contributions of Dr. and Mrs. Edward Bersoff.
“We are absolutely thrilled that the Commonwealth of Virginia has affirmed what we already knew — that Dr. Margaret Leary is among the best and the brightest faculty in Virginia,” said NOVA President Scott Ralls. “NOVA is a groundbreaker in cybersecurity education, a critical area of study for students in this region, and our program is what it is because of the great work of Dr. Leary.”
This year marks the 31st anniversary of the statewide awards program, which honors faculty members for excellence in teaching, research, knowledge integration and public service. Leary was one of only 12 recipients selected from a pool of 97 nominees. Awardees hailed from such schools as Emory & Henry College, Sweet Briar College, James Madison University, University of Mary Washington, George Mason, Virginia Tech, Old Dominion University, University of Virginia’s College at Wise and Virginia Highlands Community College—the only other community college represented.
Recipients will be recognized at a ceremony in February in Richmond, Virginia. Each will receive an engraved award and $5,000, underwritten by Dominion Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Dominion Resources and parent company of Dominion Virginia Power.