The Mission of the University of Fairfax
About / Mission / History
The mission of the University of Fairfax is to offer flexible, in-demand distance education programs that meet the needs of employers in a changing global marketplace. The University designs quality programs that foster critical thinking, effective communication, and collaboration in career-focused disciplines. The programs offer students practitioner-focused curricula that advance applied knowledge and research in applicable contemporary career fields.
The University of Fairfax measures the continuous achievement of its mission through the following goals:
- Offer relevant distance education degree programs that graduate individuals with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to meet the needs of employers in cybersecurity, information technology, and business-related disciplines.
- Support the changing global marketplace by preparing professionals to think critically and offer solutions to address industry challenges.
- Develop professionals with strong interpersonal skills able to effectively contribute to the advancement of their chosen discipline.
- Design programs that allow professionals to apply knowledge and research in an effort to enhance their chosen field.
- Promote a learner-centered culture that encourages diversity of thought and continued development of contemporary career fields.
- Foster a culture of continuous improvement that results in high quality distance education programs that meets students’ academic goals and changing employer needs.
History of the University of Fairfax
The University of Fairfax was accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC) on January 20, 2012. The Commission is listed by the U.S. Department of Education as a nationally recognized accrediting agency and is a recognized member of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). DEAC is the leader in accrediting global distance learning with more than 4 million students enrolled in DEAC accredited institutions. (www.deac.org).
The University’s attainment of accreditation caps a 10-year history of student and alumni accomplishments in the cybersecurity sector. Successful University of Fairfax students and graduates serve as cybersecurity specialists, executives and policy-makers in the public and private sectors. Major employers, including SAIC, Northrop Grumman, CSC, Lockheed Martin, Wells Fargo, Dell, NSA, DHS, Dept. of Treasury and Veterans Affairs, hire and promote our students and alumni.
In order to reach the historic milestone of accreditation, the University conducted a comprehensive and rigorous process of self-evaluation; submitted its online doctoral degrees, master’s degrees and graduate certificate program materials for review by subject matter specialists; and hosted onsite review teams of evaluators. As part of the evaluation process, DEAC conducted surveys of students and alumni which consistently resulted in over 95% satisfaction.
The University of Fairfax was established in 2002 in response to the events of 9/11 and in support of the federal efforts to increase the nation’s cybersecurity by providing high quality, online doctoral, master’s and graduate certificate programs for adult learners. In contrast to other graduate institutions which offer information security/assurance only as a concentration as part of a degree program, the University of Fairfax has dedicated the entire institution to degree and certificate programs in pursuit of excellence in cybersecurity.
This exclusive focus on cybersecurity distinguishes the University and provides professionals seeking to advance in the field, as well as their employers and clients, an innovative approach for addressing growing professional demand in a rapidly evolving area. Our students and alumni have benefited from this comprehensive cybersecurity focus and from our expert practitioner faculty, both of which have enabled students and alumni to be hired and promoted at senior levels by major employers.
The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) certified the University as an institution of higher learning in 2002. Over the following year, a select group of educators and senior cybersecurity practitioners from organizations that included Ernst &Young, Anteon, CSC, and the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), developed a curriculum designed to meet cybersecurity employers’ needs. This group of professionals became the University’s initial faculty.
In July, 2003, the University enrolled its first cohort of graduate students in its cybersecurity graduate degree programs. The first graduates earned their Master of Science degrees in October, 2004 and the University awarded its first doctoral degrees in February, 2007. Since 2004, online delivery of our programs has made the University’s programs accessible to professionals worldwide and has even enabled faculty members and students on active military duty to participate. The University of Fairfax’s mission is encapsulated in the University motto: Secure Your Future. In essence, the motto is meant to express that earning a University of Fairfax degree enables students to contribute to “securing the future” of the nation, while also helping to secure their own future, as they become cybersecurity leaders in a field in which there is a continuing and ever-increasing need.