About Us

The Center for Information and Communication Sciences at Ball State University has a long history with the Cisco Networking Academy program. In fact, we have been involved from the beginning of the academy program! Members of The Academy Support Center Partnership work closely with Cisco Systems, Cisco Learning Institute and other entities helping form curricula, test banks, logistical support and other key elements of the program.

Meet the team of Our Academy Partners!

Ronald KovacDr. Ron Kovac – ASC Director
Dr. Ron J. Kovac is a professor with the Center for Information and Communication Sciences, which is a master’s degree program that prepares graduate students in the field of information and communication technology.

Previously, Dr. Kovac was the telecommunication manager for the State University of New York and a chief information officer and executive director for large information technology centers on the east coast.

Dr. Kovac’s previous studies include electrical engineering, photography and education. He is a prolific writer and has numerous publications (three books and over 50 articles), and he has completed numerous international consulting projects in both the educational and information technology field. Additionally, he is very successful with creative grantsmanship. He speaks worldwide on issues related to information technology, network security, and educational technology.

Dr. Kovac is a Fulbright Scholar, holds numerous industry certifications (CCNA, CCAI, and CCNP) and is very active in social responsibility internationally, nationally, and locally

Kirsten SmithKirsten Smith – Content Director (CCNA) / Operating Officer
Kirsten Smith is the associate director, technology officer and labs manager at the Center for Information and Communication Sciences (CICS) at Ball State University. CICS is a graduate program at the intersection of technology and business.

As associate director, she participates in strategic and tactical plans for the health and growth of the unit and advices all incoming students. As technology officer and labs manager, she schedules and trains graduate assistants, provides faculty support by developing labs for a variety of classes, advises student projects, and oversees testing. Kirsten is the director of and faculty advisor to the Software Testing Institute (STI) within CICS, working with industry partners on usability and other issues.

Kirsten also chairs the Women Working in Technology (WWiT) initiative at Ball State. Founded in 2008, WWiT focuses on providing professional and personal development opportunities for women working in technology and emerging media fields. The WWiT initiative also focuses on girls in technology with mentoring and career exploration opportunities for undergraduate women and K-12 girls. The goal is to encourage girls into STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education and careers.

Her current grant from the Cisco Networking Academy is creating IT workshops for middle and high school girls. These workshops will be packaged and shared at no cost to any organizations who wish to promote IT concepts and careers to girls. Past grants on which Ms. Smith has been either PI or co-PI include multiple grants through the Software Engineering Research Center (SERC) developing an expert reviewer usability tool (2003 – 2006), multiple emerging media grants for work on various interactive TV and mobile applications (2008, 2009, 2010), and a grant from Channel One to help develop an internet protocol-based emergency alert system (2010- 2011).

Kirsten is a member of the User Experience Professionals Association, the Project Management Institute, and the Association of IT Professionals. She is on the Leadership Board of the Indiana Girls Collaborative Project.

She has a master of science in information and communication sciences from Ball State and a bachelor of arts in theater from George Mason University.

Edit photoHaley Collison – Marketing Director & System Architect
Haley Collison is a Graduate Assistant in the Center for Information and Communication Sciences (CICS) at Ball State University. She works closely under Dr. Ronald Kovac, and helps run the ASCP. Before joining the CICS Master’s program, Haley received her undergraduate degree in both Human Resource Management and Marketing from Ball State University. She also double minored in Criminal Justice and American Sign Language. 
Jaci  LedermanJaci Lederman- Vincennes University
Jaci Lederman, PMP is the Chair of the Information Technology Department. In the fifth grade Jaci’s grandfather gave her a Texas Instrument computer that instantly intrigued and challenged her as she programmed it to do simple commands.  In high school, Jaci wrote her first computer program on an Apple Macintosh and has loved technology ever since. She brings her twenty years of experience working in the Information Technology industry, into the classroom. She proudly admits her career in IT started out as a night shift computer operator.  Her work experience spans from software development, to executive I.T. Management. Throughout her career, Jaci has worked on numerous projects that help organizations streamline operations by leveraging well defined business processes and technology. Whether it be programming an efficient loop in a program, or a BCDR plan, Jaci helps students understand the importance of successful technology integration into any organization. Jaci has an Associate’s Degree in Computer Programming, a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration, and a MBA with a concentration in Information Technology Management. While completing her education she was involved in Alpha Beta Gamma, Phi Theta Kappa, and Delta Mu Delta Honor Societies.

In 2001 Jaci was the recipient of the President’s Award at the organization where she led the IT Team.  She was commended for her patience and persistence in helping the user community understand and integrate technology into the organization.  In 2017, the Vincennes University President presented Jaci with a University Peer Recognition award. Nominated by her IT Department, Jaci was recognized for her commitment to student success and her willingness to joyfully help others at Vincennes University.

Jaci believes in continual improvement and self-development. Most recently, she earned the EC-Council CISCO-Chief Information Security Officer Certification, and keeps her education current for her PMP,-Project Management professional and EDRP- Disaster Recovery Professional Certification. Jaci  has contributed to publications on IOT, Cyber Security, and STEM Learning Through Video Games. Committed to serving others, Jaci is an active United Way Day of Caring volunteer, is on the Board of Directors for Helping His Hands Disaster Response, and faculty sponsor of The IT Lead Club. Jaci enjoys helping connect non-profits with student volunteers to solve problems using technology. In 2019, Jaci was awarded the EC-Council Academia Circle of Excellence Award in Cybersecurity Education.


Greg Hirsch M.B.A.Gregory Hirsch- Vincennes University

Gregory Hirsch, CEH, is an Assistant Professor of Information Technology and joined Vincennes University in 2014. Greg brings with him over 15 years  of IT experience from the corporate world and incorporates this knowledge into student learning in the classroom. The majority of his work experience  is in Network Administration and Security that includes implementing, securing, supporting and enhancing WAN/LAN networks, wireless networks,  DNS,  DHCP, and Active Directory. Greg has additional enterprise level experience working in Citrix, Exchange Server, Windows XP/7/2003/2008/2012 R2,  Network Appliance storage systems, VMWare, Cisco, and Disaster Recovery. Greg holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration, an  Associate degree in Computer Information Systems, and a Master of Business Administration degree.