HEISC 2015 Year in Review

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As 2015 comes to a close, we would like to highlight the many accomplishments of our Higher Education Information Security Council (HEISC) volunteers this year.

Professional Development

  • May 2015: Hosted the 13th annual Security Professionals Conference, our most successful event to date with 515 attendees in Minneapolis and over 80 virtual attendees.
  • May 2015: Connected over a dozen new mentees and mentors during the 2015 Security Conference. Since the program launched in 2013, we have received over 80 requests and matched over 50 practitioners and CISOs with mentors or peers.
  • May 2015: Published two new career development toolkits: Advance Your InfoSec Career and Training and Certifications for Security and Privacy Professionals. These toolkits supplement existing resources like the Toolkit for New CISOs and the Mentoring Toolkit.
  • October 2015: Developed guidelines to help HEISC working group volunteers claim continuing professional education (CPE) credits for a number of industry security and privacy certifications. Over 30 certificates of participation were provided to make it easy for volunteers to self-report activities in 2015.
  • November–December 2015: Program committee members reviewed over 100 proposals for the 14th annual Security Professionals Conference (April 18–20, 2016 in Seattle) and finalized the face-to-face and virtual programs.

Community Outreach

  • January 2015: Observed and promoted Data Privacy Day in partnership with the National Cyber Security Alliance for the 4th consecutive year. Hosted an EDUCAUSE Live! webinar with guest speaker Michelle Dennedy.
  • January: Submitted comments to NIST on behalf of the higher education community regarding Special Publication 800-171. A second letter was submitted in May.
  • May 2015: Submitted comments to NTIA on behalf of the higher education community regarding Stakeholder Engagement on Cybersecurity in the Digital Ecosystem.
  • September 2015: Launched a new blog column—Security Matters—in EDUCAUSE Review. Thirty guest bloggers provided fresh security and privacy content almost daily during the month of October.
  • October 2015: Observed and promoted National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) in partnership with the National Cyber Security Alliance for the 12th consecutive year. Hosted an EDUCAUSE Live! webinar with guest speakers Michael Kaiser and Allison Oslund.
  • November 2015: Launched a new Privacy Discussion Group listserv.



  • Partnered with the Ronald McDonald House Charities, Upper Midwest in Minneapolis for the first annual service project in conjunction with the 2015 Security Professionals Conference.
  • Shared public security advisories [http://www.ren-isac.net/alerts.html] with the EDUCAUSE community in partnership with the REN-ISAC.
  • Upgraded and migrated the Information Security Guide to a new (and more secure) version of Confluence with Internet2.
  • Identified topics and speakers and helped promote IAM Online webinars with InCommon.
  • Selected security and privacy subject matter experts to participate in several ECAR working group projects.
  • Identified an opportunity to co-host quarterly calls for HEISC Awareness and Training Working Group and IT Communications Constituent Group members.
  • Partnered with URMIA to promote Risk Management Week resources and activities in November.
  • Hosted a Department of Homeland Security “keystone event” during the 5th week of NCSAM at EDUCAUSE 2015 in Indianapolis.

2016 Priorities

four blue blocks displaying 2015-2016

The HEISC Leadership Team plans to focus on the same strategic priorities in 2016: strengthening foundations; continuing to build the information security profession; and advancing information security strategies in higher education. Please read the HEISC charter for more information about the council’s mission, vision, areas of focus, and membership.

We Want to Hear from You

If there are specific resources you’d like to see developed in 2016, please let us know. We look forward to another successful year with our volunteers, partners, and the entire higher education community!

Cathy Bates is Associate Vice Chancellor and Chief Information Officer at Appalachian State University. She is responsible for providing vision and senior leadership for the development, coordination, and use of technology to enable essential innovation in research, learning, and administrative processes. She has been involved in higher education since 1988, holding technology management and leadership positions at Plymouth State University, the University of New Hampshire and the University of Arizona. With significant experience leading technology units in a constantly changing environment, she has been recognized for her ability to create and revitalize service organizations that support and enhance institutional strategic objectives, as well as inter-institutional collaborations.

Melissa Woo is serves as the Vice Provost for Information Services and Chief Information Officer at the University of Oregon. She previously worked for the central IT organizations at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Melissa, recipient of the EDUCAUSE 2012 Rising Star Award, is a Frye Leadership Institute Fellow. She serves as a Senior Reviewer for EDUCAUSE Review Online, has served on the EDUCAUSE 2012 Conference Program Committee, and was a member of the EDUCAUSE Professional Development Advisory Committee, including a year as committee chair.

© 2015 Cathy Bates and Melissa Woo. This EDUCAUSE Review blog is licensed under the Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0 International license.