Patty Patria sits at her desk in the IT office. She's smiling and is wearing a black blazer and red shirt with her computer and a WPI pennant in the background.

Patty Patria Named to HEISC Advisory Committee

WPI’s VP/CIO to serve as CIO co-chair for next two years

August 27, 2018
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Patty Patria, who joined the WPI community as vice president for information technology and chief information officer in March, has a fairly straightforward biography on the WPI website, but dig a little deeper, and one quickly realizes that her work and influence stretch far deeper than the two small paragraphs of text would have one believe.

Patria is something of an IT Renaissance Woman—she oversees a range of departments, plays a vital role in several major IT initiatives currently under way on campus (most notably, a little project you might have heard of called Enterprise Transformation), and recently accepted an invitation to serve as CIO co-chair on the EDUCAUSE HEISC Advisory Committee.

EDUCAUSE is a nonprofit association made up of IT leaders and professionals who work together to help colleges and universities advance IT strategies on their campuses and in their programs. EDUCAUSE’s cybersecurity program is led by the Higher Education Information Security Council (HEISC), which is dedicated to furthering the association’s work through educational tools, resources, and support programs.

“It’s quite an honor to be chosen for the role. I’m really looking forward to working with my co-chair and other members of the committee to advance information security best practices in higher education and to learn how other colleges and universities are managing the ever-increasing risks to information. Information security is extremely important for any organization … I’m looking forward to collaborating in efforts that help drive strategy in this area.” -Patty Patria

HEISC was established in 2000, and is dedicated to educating, supporting, and providing tools and resources for colleges and universities to better build and implement information security programs.

Patria understands the importance of effective, comprehensive security and has presented on the topic at EDUCAUSE conferences; she has been a member of both its Northeast Regional Computing Program (NERCOMP) Program Committee and the EDUCAUSE IT Issues panel. When she received a call from the association offering her the position as CIO co-chair for the next two years, she gladly accepted.

“It’s quite an honor to be chosen for the role,” she says. “I’m really looking forward to working with my co-chair and other members of the committee to advance information security best practices in higher education and to learn how other colleges and universities are managing the ever-increasing risks to information. Information security is extremely important for any organization … I’m looking forward to collaborating in efforts that help drive strategy in this area.”

As CIO co-chair, Patria and her fellow committee members have an important role in ensuring that HEISC will be able to meet their strategic goals and priorities throughout the years. As such, they’ll work together in determining topics that would be relevant to security, governance, compliance, data protection, and privacy for HEISC to focus on in future conferences, presentations, and professional learning events.

Although her official appointment won’t begin until October, Patria is a member of the committee now, and sees the new opportunity as a learning and collaborating experience, explaining that not only is it worth it to add to the visibility of security at WPI, but to help other institutions, as well. “One of the values of participating in organizations like this,” she says, "is that you learn a lot, and you’re able to give back, too.”

- By Allison Racicot