9/14/06 Contact: Juan Gilbert, (334) 844-6316 (gilbeje@auburn.edu)
David Granger, (334) 844-9999 (grangdm@auburn.edu


AUBURN - Black Data Processing Associates joined with Auburn University in the launch this month of the Information Technology Institute Certification Program, an innovative online service designed to help IT professionals sharpen their technical skills and boost their leadership potential.

In this partnership, AU will provide an Academic Chair for the BDPA IT Institute and BDPA will utilize AU’s Office of Distance Learning, within University Outreach, to deliver the IT Institute certification content.

“This service will help IT professionals brush up their technical skills, improve their ability to make career changes and develop the skills necessary for upward mobility in IT,” said Juan Gilbert, AU professor in the Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering, and academic chair of the IT Institute.

“We are excited by the academic support we have received from Auburn University, with Dr. Gilbert as Academic Chair, and the Distance Learning Office supporting the online course work. Also, we are honored to have Will Bundy serve as the professor of the IT Professional course this fall,” said Betty Hutchins, vice president of Member Services for BDPA.

“Providing wrap around online program support to the BDPA is a natural for us,” said Richard Alekna, director of AU’s Distance Learning Office. “We have a fully developed student and faculty support team, and can provide a wide range of instructional and web support to aid the BDPA in its mission to serve its membership.”

The BDPA IT Institute offers online certification programs supporting IT professionals from entry level associates to advanced level masters. The initial 14 week course offering, beginning this month, will be the mid level IT Professional Certification. Participants must have a bachelor’s degree, 5 years of IT experience and practical substantiation of skills and experience.

Minority high achievers in the field of IT often struggle to move from purely technical roles to leadership roles in the industry. With 54 chapters across the United States, BDPA is the premier organization for African Americans in technology.

“We are excited to offer the new services of the BDPA IT Institute to the membership. Although the program is available to non-members, it provides valuable benefits to support member development,” said National BDPA President Gina Billings.

Founded in 1975 by Earl Pace and the late David Wimberly, BDPA is a global member focused organization that serves the professional well being of its stakeholders.

The BDPA IT Institute is supported by some of the best corporations in the IT Industry.
Sponsors include Merck and Company, whose CIO Chris Scalet serves on the Institute Advisory Board, JP Morgan Chase, Eli Lilly and Company, SunTrust Bank, Gartner Research, Hewitt Associates, Limited Brands, Avue Technologies, Strategic Staffing Solutions, Ajilon Consulting, Digital Rhythm Interactive, EMC Corporation and UBS Investment Bank.

“The launch of the IT Institute this fall is a tremendous milestone for BDPA and all of its stakeholders,” said Hutchins. The BDPA national headquarters is located in Greenbelt, Md. For more information, call 1-800-727 BDPA or visit www.bdpa.org.

The Distance Learning Office within the University Outreach division provides assistance to academic departments in their distance education efforts and serves 800 individuals each year in a variety of credit and non credit programs. For more information about Auburn’s distance education programs, visit www.auburn.edu/auonline.

Auburn University is a preeminent land grant and comprehensive research institution with more than 23,500 students and 6,500 faculty and staff. Ranked among the top 50 public universities nationally, Auburn is Alabama’s largest educational institution, offering more than 230 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degree programs.