Data Privacy Day has come again and the news continues to be grim. The number and sophistication of threats to our data will continue to increase in 2020. Data breaches will be chief among these threats, particularly in sectors such as financial services and health care. The data these entities (and UD, for that matter) collect and maintain easily translates into quick financial gain for bad actors. Similarly, new-and-improved ransomware attacks will likely increase because cybercriminals have enjoyed so much success in the past with relatively little effort on their part.

Institutions of higher education maintain all kinds of very valuable data – including research, personally identifiable data, financial data, individually identifiable health information, education records, and more. For these reasons, bad actors may view colleges and universities as prime targets.

UD has long recognized these threats and has continually implemented safeguards, policies, and outreach efforts to better protect the privacy of our—your—data.

UD now welcomes Patricia “PC” Shea as its first Chief Privacy Officer and the newest member of the Office of General Counsel. In her role, PC will help coordinate improvements across the institution and within departments handling sensitive personal information, serving as a resource on the complex landscape of privacy laws and regulations.

“I look forward to partnering with our community, faculty, staff, and leadership in the coming months,” PC said. “Together we will develop a plan for addressing these threats. This team approach ensures UD can make fully informed decisions about the risks to the privacy of its data that reflect the collaboration of affected stakeholders.”

We are just starting this process. In the meantime, however, we can all contribute by taking the time to think not just about the data we use but also about the people whom that data represent. From double checking that we’ve logged out of a system to revising our forms to collect only the data we need, we all have small opportunities to ensure and respect the privacy of our community members.

Anyone who has questions or concerns about privacy at the University can reach out to PC at