Philip Cao

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(ISC)² GAP Instructor’s Mantra: “Never Stop Learning”

3 min read



Meet Donnie Grimes, (ISC)² Global Academic Program (GAP) instructor and vice president of information systems and creator of the master’s program in cybersecurity for the University of the Cumberlands. Oh, and budding sound man. When he’s not teaching, Donnie works on sound engineering and mixing at live events. He’s also starting to learn about staging and lighting.

As a teacher, his favorite classroom moments are those times when he’s able to witness students’ reactions as they realize they start to grasp a difficult concept. He reflects, “Seeing their faces light up and being a small part of contributing to a student’s development makes teaching the best job in the world.” He especially enjoys teaching information security courses, where the field is constantly evolving as the threat landscape changes.

His university launched its graduate cybersecurity program in 2012, thanks in large part to Grimes, who spearheaded curriculum development. Donnie shares (ISC)2’s belief that aligning curriculum with industry certifications is a key to closing the skills gap and will ultimately result in a stronger, more employable workforce.

Seeing the value in aligning courses with industry certifications, he based the school’s curriculum upon the CISSP, with one course centered upon each of the CISSP CBK domains. He did so because he believes that helping students graduate with certifications will help them get their feet in the door when applying for jobs. When he heard about the (ISC)2 Global Academic Program, Grimes said, “I instantly knew that I wanted to associate my university’s graduate program with the GAP.”

A key philosophy that drives his teaching is that lifelong learning is essential not only to securing a job, but also to being effective once you’ve got one. He believes the education and certification approach provides students with the best chance of both employability and professional success. “Certifications do not replace education,” he asserts, “but they do help to validate a candidate’s knowledge in a given domain and puts him/her on a path for continual learning.”

He advises, “Never forget that you’re in a field that will require you to update your education continually. Graduate programs, like the one we offer, will provide you the skills that you will need throughout your career. Certifications, which GAP schools provide opportunities for, will hold you accountable and force you to keep your skills fresh.”

Read our recent blog about GAP school the University of the Cumberlands here. And if you’re ever in Williamsburg, Kentucky, be sure to attend a show Donnie is working. You just might like what you hear.

For more information on the (ISC)2 Global Academic Program, please visit

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