WBU Cybersecurity Program Among the Best in Certification Success Rate

Jill BrashearLUBBOCK – Students seeking a degree in cybersecurity are seeing historic success rates at Wayland Baptist University with 96% passing difficult TestOut certification exams as part of their curriculum. The tests have a 53% pass rate nationally. The TestOut certifications test a student’s competency in varying areas of cybersecurity.

Enrollment in Wayland’s cybersecurity program is twice the national average and double the passing rate of other schools. As a result, TestOut is providing Wayland students plaques to commemorate their success rate. TestOut is also posting badges on their LinkedIn profiles and guaranteeing their skills to potential employers.

“I feel like, even with just one of these certifications, I could go out and get a job, let alone with my degree and hands-on experience,” said Jill Brashear, who just passed a pair of certification exams. “I’m here getting a cybersecurity degree. It’s all done in a simulation setting where you are doing hands-on things and getting repetition and going at your own pace.”

Dr. Kelly Warren, dean of Wayland’s School of Business, said the incredible success rate is due to Dr. Joe Marnell who oversees the program and who designed much of the curriculum to meet the national certification standards, and Dr. Sammy Van Hoose who assisted in development.

“He has developed or redesigned most of these courses in the last two or three years,” Warren said. “Then he works with the students and is the key to their success.”

Wayland’s cybersecurity courses are offered both face-to-face and online. Dr. Marnell works directly with students, using technology to communicate with them weekly to ensure they stay on track. His hands-on approach guides students through the courses, teaching them the most current information in an ever-changing field.

“Students will only be as successful, knowledgeable and motivated as the instructor is,” said Marnell who holds more than 30 certifications in various fields and a Ph.D. in cybersecurity. “I feel we are able to present a level of experience, success and background that students just can’t get anywhere else.”

A faculty member at Wayland’s Lubbock campus, Marnell is seeing students from all walks of life enter the cybersecurity program to advance or change their careers. Brashear, who left college to work in the oilfield, felt going back to school wasn’t important for her future.

“When the oilfield crashed this last time, I decided that I would come back and finish my degree because I was so close,” Brashear said. “I did a little research and found Wayland and saw they had a computer program. I wanted to do something in IT. I looked at a few different universities, but Wayland was the best fit with my schedule.”

Juan Galvan, a former employee of the Sheriff’s Office, is working in IT at Tyler Technologies and is working on his degree to further his career.

“I was doing part-time maintenance work for Tyler Technologies, and I saw that it was a field I wanted to go into,” Galvan said. “I was able to get a full-time job in IT. I started going to school to help me get certifications and a bachelor’s degree to help me further my career.”

Brashear said the help she gets from Dr. Marnell, and other faculty, have added to her success as a student.

“The environment here is just so helpful,” Brashear said. “I have a personal relationship with every professor I’ve had since I started here. Dr. Marnell has group chats for every class and student help each other. It’s just a great learning environment. I couldn’t be happier with it.”



Photo Caption: Dr. Joe Marnell, who developed much of the curriculum for Wayland’s cybersecurity program, delivers PC Pro and Cyberdefense Pro certifications to Jill Brashear prior to class. The TestOut certifications are part of Marnell’s curriculum for students in the cybersecurity program.