January 28

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Colleges and universities safeguard a wealth of sensitive data regarding students and faculty, campus infrastructure, financial information and much more. That expanse of data has grown significantly in recent years, even as cyberattacks are increasing in volume and sophistication, making it more difficult for higher education institutions to protect sensitive personal information and institutional data. 

The ongoing global health crisis has made it even more challenging for universities to maintain a secure environment. IT departments may not be sufficiently resourced and funded to keep up with digital threats and may lack a comprehensive approach to ensuring optimal security.  Providing safe and secure virtual environments is paramount for today’s higher education institutions, and a comprehensive cybersecurity plan is vital for colleges and universities of all sizes.

Join the Center for Digital Education and Dell Technologies January 28 at 10 am PT/1 pm ET to hear from university CISOs on how they address these challenges and their perspectives of current and emerging trends in cybersecurity.


Leo Howell

Leo Howell

Chief Information Security Officer, University of Oregon

Leo Howell is an experienced and enthusiastic cybersecurity visionary committed to reducing risks and improving business productivity. Put another way, Leo empowers the “good guys” to do their stuff while doing what's necessary to stop the "bad guys" from being a pain in the neck. Leo currently serves as the Chief Information Security Officer for the University of Oregon. Previously, he served in cybersecurity and audit leadership at NC State University. Leo is a Certified Information Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) and former certified almost everything else. He received his B.Sc. in Computer Science and Electronics from the University of the West Indies, and his MBA from NC State University. Leo is a proud member of the international honor society Beta Gamma Sigma, who likes to build secure things and secure things.

Helen Patton

Helen Patton

AVP and Chief Information Security Officer, The Ohio State University

Helen Patton is Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) of The Ohio State University. With more years working in the security, risk, privacy, and resiliency professions than she cares to say, Patton advocates using those functions to enable the mission of any organization. Since assuming the role of CISO in July 2013, Patton has managed the enterprise security, privacy, disaster recovery, and digital accessibility teams. In her spare time, she teaches classes and is an interim co-director of the Institute for Cybersecurity and Digital Trust. Patton has a Master’s degree in Public Policy. She is a member of the State of Ohio Cybersecurity Advisory Board, a founding board member of the National Technology Security Coalition, and a member of the MxD Cybersecurity Steering Committee.

Bob Turner

Bob Turner

Chief Information Security Officer, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Bob Turner is a Higher Education Chief Information Security Officer and leads the information security and privacy program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His team of 40 professional staff and 20 student workers provide cybersecurity services including risk management and compliance, security operations center, security tools support, cyber intelligence analysis, security awareness, and information technology policy. Previously, Bob managed 45 cybersecurity consultants delivering security assessments and cybersecurity inspections. Bob served in the U.S. Navy for 23-years as an telecommunications operator then as a Communications and Information Systems officer. He earned BS and MS degrees in Management and Information Security and is a Certified Information Systems Security Professional.

Chris Wessells

Chris Wessells — Moderator

Senior Higher Education Strategist, Dell Technologies

Chris Wessells is a Dell Technologies Senior Higher Education Strategist and brings extensive leadership skills as a former University CIO and more than 25 years’ experience working in higher education. Prior to joining Dell Technologies, Chris served as CIO at the University of San Diego. His experience includes responsibility for all aspects of IT strategy, governance, services and support, enterprise applications, network and compute infrastructure, cloud, virtualization, instructional and online academic technologies, high performance research computing, business intelligence/analytics, mobile, portal, and emerging technologies. Chris has a reputation for collaborative decision-making and passion for building a strategic vison and environment of success with Information Technology, IT professionals and major technology initiatives in support of institutional goals. He holds an MS degree from Montana State University and BS degree from the University of California at Davis.

Zach Patton

Zach Patton — Host

Chief Editor, Content Studio, Center for Digital Education

Zach Patton is also a writer covering government technology and other public sector issues. From 2012 to 2019, he served as the executive editor of Governing magazine, the nation's preeminent publication on state and local government policy. Prior to his tenure as editor, he was a reporter at Governing for eight years, covering a host of local government topics including transit, politics and urban planning.