ASL-VT Partner to Offer Cybersecurity Certificates

GRUNDY, VA (FEBRUARY 21, 2020) — The Appalachian School of Law (ASL) and Virginia Tech (VT) have partnered to make two new Virginia Tech graduate certificates in cybersecurity management and cyber security policy available to ASL students.

In addition, up to nine credits from the certificate offered by VT may be applied to Juris Doctorate degree requirements for ASL students.

“This partnership represents a wonderful opportunity for Appalachian’s students to earn a credential that will complement their Juris Doctorate degree,” said Mason Heidt, ASL associate dean for academic affairs and ASL assistant professor of law. “Cybersecurity is a complex and growing field in which legal issues will become increasingly important. Professionals with advanced knowledge of both law and cybersecurity will be well-placed to address the challenges presented by cybersecurity regulation and litigation.”

The cybersecurity certificates will typically be completed in the second year of the Juris Doctorate degree program at ASL. However, the certificate program, which is offered online, allows students the flexibility to choose when it is convenient for them to take the classes. Tuition and fees for the certificate programs are paid directly to Virginia Tech. In order to apply for either of the Virginia Tech graduate certificates, candidates must be accepted to the ASL JD program.

“ASL already has courses in place that address the digital environment and we introduce students to using digital documents for the filing of court documents, which is required in Federal Court, as well as safe methods for exchanging digital documents with clients and other attorneys,” said ASL Associate Professor Charles Condon, noting the new cybersecurity certificate programs are a natural extension to classes already offered at ASL.

Among those classes already taught, which have a focus on digital documents and their proper handling are Federal Civil Procedure; the Law of Electronic Discovery; and Information Privacy Law.

“This shift to a ‘Digital Practice’ requires an intense focus on the secure storage and transmission of confidential client information that can only be accomplished using appropriate cybersecurity methods and procedures,” he added.

“The growing need for cybersecurity elements to be in place is evident when one considers the statistics,” Condon said, pointing out the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) released a 2019 Internet Crime Report which showed estimated cybercrime losses of more than $3.5 billion in the year 2019. Almost half of them — $1.77 billion — came from losses caused under Business Email Compromise scams, the report noted. Also noted in the report is that the FBI received a total of 467,361 cybercrime complaints — an average of nearly 1,300 every day — in 2019.

“This is a growing field and the fact that ASL has partnered with Virginia Tech in this is a great partnership for us and for Virginia Tech as well,” Condon said. “These additional courses, which can be taken by our students as electives, will prepare them for how to practice law in a digital world.”

The certificate courses offered through the ASL-VT partnership are taught online by full-time Pamplin College of Business faculty using Virginia Tech’s Canvas Learning Management System. Course lectures and other materials are pre-recorded and are available to students at anytime from anywhere in the world. In addition, students may decide to attend regularly scheduled class meetings to participate in live lecture presentations, forums and other discussions.

The cybersecurity management certificate program is designed to provide a broad understanding of concepts and principles supporting management of organizations with cybersecurity concerns. It will prepare students to plan, manage and assess cyber technologies needed to secure critical corporate data and information. Emphasis is on operational design, technology acquisition, risk assessment and governance. Those completing the program will have a unique blend of technical expertise and an understanding of how to manage cybersecurity operations, align cybersecurity programs with business priorities and develop risk mitigation strategies that consider current laws and policies.

The cybersecurity policy certificate program aims to provide a broad understanding of key factors influencing policies on cybersecurity at all levels. Cybersecurity policy incorporates elements of technology, business, criminology and national/international governance. The emphasis is to equip students with a strong understanding of these elements and to prepare them to implement policies that improve the state and practice of cybersecurity for all stakeholders. The certificate program will prepare students from a variety of backgrounds to be both tech-savvy and societally-aware in implementing policies that affect cyber security, privacy and safety in the modern age.

To participate in the program, ASL students must be approved by both VT and ASL and possess a GPA of 3.0 or better.


Media Contact: Cathy St. Clair – 276.202.0383 or

Posted February 13th 2021 Posted by Brian Presley