Donald J. Welch, Ph.D.

Don WelchDon serves as Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer at the Pennsylvania State University. He is also an Affiliate Professor in the College of Information Sciences and Technology as well as the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Previously, he was Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) for Penn State since 2016.

Don brings an extensive leadership background to his role, starting with his 25-year career in the U.S. Army, followed by several roles in the civilian realm.

His last position before leaving the Army was CIO and professor of computer science at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Some of his other assignments include tours of duty with the Army’s counterterrorist unit Delta Force, and service as the senior human resources manager for the Army’s uniformed information technology workforce.

In civilian life, he served as Chief Executive Officer of Merit Network in Michigan, which provides networking, security and community services to member organizations; Chief Technology Officer at H-E-B, a retail/distribution/manufacturing company that operates in Texas and Mexico; and Chief Information Security Officer for the University of Michigan.

Among his awards are Legion of Merit from the U.S. Army, Champion of Change by the White House, Top CEO for Michigan, and Leader and Innovator of the Year for Michigan from Grant Thornton.

Don has a bachelor of science from West Point, master of science in computer science from California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly), and a Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Maryland.

Donald J. Welch, Ph.D.


“Reimagining IT: A Study in IT Transformation,” EDUCAUSE Annual Conference, October 2019.

“IT Reimagined and Revitalized Through Talent and Technology,” EDUCAUSE Annual Conference, October 2019.

“Creating a Cybersecurity Strategy,” EDUCAUSE Annual Conference, October 2018.

“Strategy: If You Don’t Know Where You’re Going, You’ll Never Get There,” Security Professionals Conference, April 2018.

“What Is a Strategic CISO, and What Do You Need to Be One?”, Security Professionals Conference, May 2017.

“Successful CISO Leadership and Conflict Resolution,” Security Professionals Conference, April 2016.

“Working Together to Improve Cyberintelligence in the Big Ten,” EDUCAUSE Annual Conference, April 2016.

“The Personal Leadership Philosophy: A Valuable Leadership Tool,” EDUCAUSE Annual Conference, October 2013.

“Sourcing: Outsourcing, Open Source, and Traditional,” EDUCAUSE Annual Conference, October 2011.

“Professional Development for Managers,” EDUCAUSE Annual Conference, October 2011.

“Infrastructure Lightning Round,” EDUCAUSE Annual Conference, October 2010.

“Spotlight on Cloud Computing Series: Community Clouds,” EDUCAUSE Online, June 2010.

“StateNets Creating Opportunities During Challenging Economic Times,” Net@EDU Annual Meeting, February 2009.

“Virtual Worlds: Which Type Is Right for Your Institution?”, EDUCAUSE Midwest Regional Conference, March 2008.

“Shared Converged Services,” Net@EDU Annual Meeting, February 2008.

“Integrating Collaborative Tools,” Net@EDU Annual Meeting, February 2008.


When CISOs Are Independent of CIOs, Higher Ed Institutions Benefit, EdTech magazine,  September 2019.

Cyberwarfare Podcast, Risk Group, August 2019.

“Cybersecurity Challenges Rant,” LinkedIn,, May 2019.

“Cybersecurity Metrics to Help Drive Strategy,” Education Technology Insights,, May 2019.

“Creating a Cybersecurity Strategy for Higher Education,” EDUCAUSE Review,, May 2019.

“You’ve Been Drafted,” CIO Tech World,, May 2019.

“IT Operations are the Key to Cybersecurity,” LinkedIn,, April 2019.

“Coaching and Diversity,” LinkedIn,, March 2019.

“Penn State’s Hack Response Event and Activities Like It Contribute to a Safer Future,” LinkedIn,, March 2019.

“Nation-State Threat to Higher Ed,” LinkedIn,, February 2019.

“What If?”, LinkedIn,, December 2018.

“Changing Leadership Styles As You Move Up,” LinkedIn,, December 2018.

“Election Security,” LinkedIn,, December 2018.

Security All-In Podcast,, October 2018.

“Accountability,” LinkedIn,, August 2018.

“An Open Letter to Vendors,” LinkedIn,, August 2018.

“Security Podcasts,” LinkedIn,, August 2018.

“Table Top Exercises,” LinkedIn,, July 2018.

“Cyber Militia,” LinkedIn,, June 2018.

“Cyber Moonshot: What Would It Take?”, LinkedIn,, June 2018.

“The Future of Cyber Security Talent,” LinkedIn,, June 2018.

“It’s Time to Set CISOs Free”, EDUCAUSE Review,, June 2018.

“Enterprise Risk Management and the CISO,” LinkedIn,, May 2018.

“The Optimism Bias Isn’t Always Bad,” LinkedIn,, April 2018.

“CISOs Should Not Report to CIOs,” LinkedIn,, April 2018.

“Don Welch — Penn State University: On the Front Lines,” Toggle Magazine,, March 2018.

“Cyber Security Strategy Part 8: Communicating the Strategy,” LinkedIn,, January 2018.

“Cyber Security Strategy Part 7b: Cyber Security Strategy Design Framework,” LinkedIn,, January 2018.

“Cyber Security Strategy Part 7a: Cyber Security Strategy Threats and Constraints,” LinkedIn,, January 2018.

“Cyber Security Strategy Part 6: Strategic Environment Analysis,” LinkedIn,, January 2018.

“Cyber Security Strategy Part 5: Business and IT Strategy,” LinkedIn,, December 2017.

“Cyber Security Strategy Part 4: Security Basics,” LinkedIn,, December 2017.

“Cyber Security Strategy Part 3: Risk,” LinkedIn,, December 2017.

“Cyber Security Strategy. Part 2: Introduction,” LinkedIn,, November 2017.

“Cyber Security Strategy. Part 1: Purpose,” LinkedIn,, November 2017.

“Virtual Worlds: Moving Beyond Today,” EDUCAUSE Review, September 2008.

“Information Security Through a Community of Practice: Tom Sawyer’s Approach,” EDUCAUSE Review,, January 2003.