ECU named Red Hat Academy of the Year for third straight time

Red Hat, the world’s leading provider of open source software, has named East Carolina University as its 2020 Red Hat Academy of the Year.

The award is the third straight for ECU, which offers Red Hat Academy curriculum through the Department of Technology Systems in the College of Engineering and Technology.

“ECU works hard to supply the latest technology to its students and to prepare them for both careers in IT and furthering their education,” said Lee Toderick, instructor in the Department of Technology Systems who teaches Red Hat training courses.

ECU has been a Red Hat Academy partner since 2005. The courses provide skills for students to become Linux open source operating system administrators or engineers. Around 300 ECU students take Red Hat courses during the academic year.

Toderick stands with the Red Hat Academy of the Year awards ECU has won in 2018, 2019 and 2020.

“The students get lots of hands-on labs to practice their skills, and of course, this material is offered both face-to-face and online,” Toderick said. “When I first started, everything was face-to-face in the classroom and in the lab. If the lab door was locked, students couldn’t do their work. Today, we have students performing labs remotely from home, and even military students deployed overseas are able to complete their labs and coursework. In the past, each student needed their own physical computer. Today, we work with virtualized computers that contain multiple virtual machines. The College of Engineering and Technology and our Department of Technology Systems provide students with the latest technology and software used in industry.”

Trisha Turlington, senior business development manager for Red Hat Academy, said ECU deserves credit for preparing students for the future.

“We cannot give Lee and the ECU team enough praise for what they have been able to accomplish through the Red Hat Academy program,” Turlington said. “The number of students they impact each year is incredible and acts as a testament to the work and effort they put into making the program successful.

“The technology landscape is constantly evolving, and it’s so important that students are continuing to learn emerging technologies that will enable them to hit the ground running upon graduation. ECU not only embraces these technologies within their own program, but they act as a leader guiding our other Red Hat Academy partners along as well.”

One of the latest innovations to be taught at ECU is Ansible, a leading open source IT automation platform.

“You can control all of the devices in the data center through automation, so the students are learning that this semester, and it is cool,” Toderick said. “Before, we worked with a single computer. Today, we’re working with thousands of virtual machines in the cloud in virtual data centers. Instead of just one computer to configure, now we have to configure thousands that spin up and shut down based on the needs of the customer. How do you manage that? Ansible. It is really something.”

Toderick was named Red Hat’s Instructor of the Year in both 2017 and 2018 and was its Innovator of the Year in 2019.

“Lee founded this Red Hat Academy for us, and thanks to his efforts, we’ve won Red Hat Academy of the Year for three consecutive years,” said Dr. Tijjani Mohammed, associate professor and chair of the Department of Technology Systems. “This is a worldwide award, and ECU, because of his efforts, is now known worldwide for this. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication, and Lee is a rare gem. He is one of the hardest working people I know, and he has unparalleled passion for helping students.”

Mohammed said Toderick has helped ECU’s Bachelor of Science in Information and Computer Technology program and the Bachelor of Science in Industrial Technology transfer program become the successes that they are.

“We cannot thank Lee enough for what he’s done for ECU, what he’s done for his students and certainly what he’s done for the department,” Mohammed said.