Six years after launching at Temple’s Fox School of Business, the IT Auditing and Cyber Security graduate program (ITACS) is going global. In November, Assistant Professor and ITACS founder Richard Flanagan will teach the first-ever ITACS course in China, part of the new ITACS degree program in partnership with the Beijing National Accounting Institute (BNAI).
“This is an exciting partnership in which Temple will provide expertise and industry depth,” says Director of the Management Information Systems (MIS) Masters Programs Marie-Christine Martin. Meantime, she adds, “ITACS faculty are looking forward to extending their experience in teaching overseas and interacting with talented Chinese professionals.”
The partnership between Fox and BNAI has been a long time coming, Flanagan says. The seed was planted years ago, with a lecture about IT auditing that he gave at the Chinese institution. “They’d described it as a small seminar,” he says. “I got there and there were 300 people.” Not only did the school have no comparable program, he says, but IT auditing as a discipline was essentially nonexistent in the country. Still, the interest was clearly there.
In the years since, international regard for the field has only grown. As companies around the world have gone digital, more people are seeing how vital it is to make sure that, as Flanagan puts it, “the right things are getting done the right way.” And while at the moment, China doesn’t have the same types of compliance laws we see in the U.S., he says, they’re beginning to anticipate the adoption of similar laws. And then? “They’ll need tens of thousands of IT auditors,” he says. “BNAI sees that there’s going to be a huge demand for these professionals, and a need to produce these people. They want to be in the driver’s seat. They’ve seen what we do with ITACS, and they want to do it there.”
Flanagan will teach the first prerequisite course this year; the rest of the courses — taught by a handful of other ITACS adjuncts — will ramp up in January. Unlike the Fox School’s ITACS program, with tracks in both auditing and cyber security, BNAI’s program will focus solely on auditing.
The main attributes of the original ITACS program — ranked 16th in the nation by U.S. News and World Report and classes taught by top American industry professionals — will be the same draw for BNAI students as they are for Fox students.
“As an ITACS graduate, I directly benefited from lessons taught by ITACS faculty,” says ITACS Director David Lanter. “I put those lessons to work assuring the security of large-data and applications development projects I directed for federal and regional clients.” Now, Lanter adds, he and the ITACS team are working closely with BNAI to provide students there the same insights into the “the practice and science of protecting the confidentiality, integrity and availability of information and information technology.”
Of course, as Martin pointed out, the students aren’t the only winners here: As Fox extends its reach in the world, the new ITACS program is an opportunity for growth for both the faculty involved and for the global reputation for MIS.
“I think everyone is excited to get the program going,” Flanagan says.