Faculty Spotlight: Dave Schippers, Sc.D., CISSP

Most people living in today’s increasingly complex digital world understand the importance of cybersecurity. But few realize that cybersecurity is about far more than protecting data. That’s where cybersecurity expert Dave Schippers, Sc.D., CISSP, Assistant Professor and Chair, IT/Decisions Sciences, comes in.

Schippers explains why cybersecurity is more complex than simply protecting data: “Data needs to be protected, but so do physical devices and their ability to perform. When you consider that cyber physical systems include medical monitoring devices, autonomous vehicle systems, manufacturing machinery, and smart grids, cybersecurity is truly about protecting our modern way of life.”

From the Business World to Academia

Before transitioning to academia, Schippers worked in a wide variety of corporate roles, from process analysis and development to digital forensics investigation. Although he enjoyed his work in the corporate world, he found academia especially appealing and made the leap knowing he’d never truly leave the corporate world behind. Keeping his finger on the pulse of business by continuing to consult and present research at conferences deepens his knowledge, which in turn helps his students learn.

Of the benefits of his previous career experience, Schippers says, “With multiple phases of careers and operating in corporate, contract, and public service, I have a diverse background of references to bring to the classroom. All of these enable sharing applied and real-world examples, stepping far beyond theoretical and pure intellectual avenues.”

Upon joining Walsh, Schippers discovered how much he enjoys helping students along in both their academic and professional journeys. Working to match students’ interests and skill sets with potential jobs after graduation is another aspect of teaching Schippers finds especially rewarding.

Schippers business experience and academic training make him uniquely suited to develop cutting edge IT curriculum at Walsh. He holds a Doctor of Science in Cybersecurity, MS in Information Systems Management Schippers, and an undergraduate degree in Information Security and Intelligence with a concentration in digital forensics along with multiple industry certifications, including the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Encase Certified Examiner (EnCe), and a professional investigator license in the state of Michigan.

Going Beyond Ideas

Schippers is dedicated to helping his students think critically about complex issues in cybersecurity, but he isn’t satisfied with “good ideas.” He encourages his students to think critically about the challenges facing a business, then to design solutions that truly work.

“There are a lot of ‘idea’ people in this world, “ Schippers says, “We need doers who truly know how to use and leverage data for strategic, tactile and impactful advantage more than ever. The World Economic Forum surveyed global employers – 85% indicated implementation and hiring needs for data analytics…to a degree, we’re drowning in data and we need more people to employ logic and analytics to provide much needed answers to evolving problems in business.”

Schippers enjoys teaching at Walsh because their strong focus on applied learning. Walsh’s practical approach makes it easier to help his students think deeply about issues facing businesses and ultimately to arrive at solutions that solve real world problems. The innovative and thoughtful design of Walsh’s curriculum makes his role of guiding students on their academic journeys that much easier overall. He says, “Every time we create a course or program, we focus on knowledge and critical skills for a successful career before we begin building curriculum. In short, we try to build the knowledge and skills in students so we would hire them if we were still in industry.”

Teaching, Research, and Conferences

Schippers stays busy with teaching and research, and also presents at conferences such as The Bankers Association for Finance and Trade (BAFT) Global Payments Conference in New York City. At the BAFT conference, Schippers spoke about the critical nature of consistent and persistent defense measures in cybersecurity along with a panel of experts which included thought leaders from Microsoft, experts from the FBI, the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, and many others. Walsh is the only institution of higher education that is a member of BAFT.

Schippers also presented at the National Cyber Summit Huntsville, Alabama, where cybersecurity professionals in government and business from around the nation came together to learn and discuss challenges facing the industry. His invitation to speak at the National Cyber Summit is a nod to the innovative ways Walsh is responding to industry demand through its information technology programs. Schippers says, “We’ve taken a different approach to cybersecurity than most higher education institutions. We combine academic theory, business acumen, and hands-on skills development. Our graduates have the ability to apply what they have learned immediately in the workplace.”

In March of 2020, Schippers was invited to take part in the Connected Vehicle (CV) 2020 conference, one of the largest conferences in the Pacific Rim on autonomous, connected, and shared vehicles. Traveling to India for this global gathering of industry experts, Schippers moderated a panel entitled “Can Hackers Take Control of My Connected Vehicle.”

Schippers’ research projects include a contribution to Automation Alley’s 2019 Technology in Industry Report and the upcoming 2020 Technology report; a new research project surrounding statistical analysis of Covid-19 data and impacts which he’s working on with quantitative methods faculty, and work on a book with two co-authors on information technology, risk management, and cybersecurity. Schippers anticipates the book will be released sometime in the Fall of 2020.

Schippers also developed Walsh’s Advanced Team-Based Attack/Defend Techniques class to increase student skills, situational awareness, and response capability in hostile cyber environments. Walsh’s Technology Advisory Board members hailed the class as a unique opportunity for students in Michigan to advance cybersecurity skills and awareness. He also created and designed Walsh’s automotive cybersecurity concentration, making Walsh the first institution in the United States with an automotive cybersecurity program.

Committed to Teaching and Learning

Schippers’ business experience, educational background, research, and commitment to teaching makes him a true asset to both Walsh and the field of cybersecurity. Whether he’s speaking to a room of business and thought leaders about current issues in cybersecurity or working with students to design nuanced solutions to some of the most challenging technological problems facing society today, Dave Schippers continually pursues knowledge and is committed to the success of his students.

Interested in a career in IT or cybersecurity?

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