University of the Cumberlands and International Business Machines (IBM) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) outlining the intent to collaborate to offer Cumberlands students opportunities to hone their technological talents, learn about tech advancements through high-quality curricula, and perform research to sharpen their skills.

The strategic partnership will benefit the university’s undergraduate IT programs as well as its Master of Science in Information Technology and Master of Science in Information Systems Security programs. To learn more about Cumberlands’ available programs, visit

IBM will collaborate with Cumberlands to deploy the IBM Skills Academy to students, which will create a learning environment for students interested in several important digital fields. Implementing the IBM Skills Academy will allow students access to online learning resources, Cloud access for hands-on labs, curated content, and new industry assets as technology evolves. Additionally, Cumberlands will be able to compete in IBM University Award Programs. At the end of each course students complete in which IBM Skills Academy has been integrated into the Cumberlands curriculum, students will receive an IBM Digital Badge, automatically generating a digital résumé with verified achievements. Every IBM Digital Badge is embedded with links to real-time dynamic labor market data and actual job postings.

“The IBM-University of the Cumberlands newly signed strategic partnership is a great resource and opportunity to bring in new teaching techniques fueled with technical working experience,” said Zadok Hakim, Ph.D., University of the Cumberlands – MSIT/MSCE/MSDS-PD. “At Cumberlands, we are committed to preparing our students with the proper technological tools to solve future technological problems and face head-on the challenges of the future. Students will need strong technical skills and the proper technological tools to be successful in whatever job they may choose to pursue after they graduate from the university. We are working to bring academia and the private sector together with innovative programs to equip our students with the necessary technical skills and learning experiences to prepare them for rewarding careers in our ever-changing technological environment.”

Eleven full-time Cumberlands professors have already been trained in the IBM courses DevOps for Enterprise Business Agility, Building Cloud-Based Mobile Solutions for the Enterprise, Enterprise Security in Practice, Enterprise Data Science in Practice, and Artificial Intelligence. IBM course content will be integrated into Cumberlands classes within the school’s Department of Computer Information Systems.

IBM will assist with further skills development and curriculum improvements by making select software, courseware, and other resources available. They will also provide Cumberlands faculty and students with educational resources and tutorials, not to mention making the Hyperledger Project – in which nearly 44,000 lines of code are available through IBM Blockchain – accessible to students.

“We are honored and excited about the strategic partnership with IBM-Skill Academy,” said Emily Coleman, Ph.D., University of the Cumberlands Provost. “University of the Cumberlands is invested in expanding the academic curriculum programs in the technology domain. This partnership with IBM-Skill Academy is a great resource to equip our students with innovation and technological tools and the know-how to face the technological challenges of the future.”

In addition to earning a master’s degree in information technology (IT), Cyber-engineering (CE), Security (S), or Blockchain (BLCN), students at University of the Cumberlands will also have the opportunity to earn one or more certificates from IBM in Artificial Intelligence (AI), Cloud Computing (CC), Security (S), Internet of Things (IoT), or Data Science (DS). The strategic partnership with IBM-Skill Academy will benefit more than 5,000 IT students in the undergraduate and graduate Programs.

In return, Cumberlands will provide updates to IBM regarding research or curriculum development and invite qualified IBMers into opportunities for industry feedback on campus.

IBM has made significant steps in recent years to work in tandem with universities around the world through their Global University Programs. Currently, IBM offers 334 courses to more than 900,000 students attending 10,000 universities.

University of the Cumberlands offers major and minor degree opportunities in information technology (IT) as well as graduate degrees in several IT-related fields. The university has and has been named a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense (CAE-CD) by the National Security Association (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Only two other universities in Kentucky have earned this qualification.* To learn more about Cumberlands’ IT programs, visit