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Interview with the Former Chair of ISTAC (Information Systems and Technology Accreditation Council): Gerald Caissy, I.S.P., ITCP

Gerald Caissy, I.S.P., ITCP
Former Chair, Information Systems and Technology Accreditation Council


Gerald Caissy, I.S.P., ITCP is the Former Chair of ISTAC (Information Systems and Technology Accreditation Council) and has made many contributions to CIPS, demonstrating sustained commitment to CIPS’ vision, mission, and goals. CIPS thanks Gerald for his considerable history of service and for taking the time to do this interview.


You have served on numerous ISTAC evaluation teams for computing programs over the years. Can you describe how these experiences have helped you in your ongoing professional development?

Gerald: As a CIPS accreditation reviewer/auditor you are exposed to a detailed review of the composition of a computing credentials curriculum and given that I am an academic who trains computer programmers these reviews provided me with the opportunities to see best practices by peers across the country.  When on-site the conversation and sharing of ideas always left me feeling charged, followed by the network of new professional peers that I could draw on at any time regarding computing curriculum.


Programs at your school, Holland College, have been accredited since 1996. What do you believe are the values for schools seeking CIPS accreditation?


Values for the faculty/institution are:

  • It is the external audit against an approved criteria ~ it simply is a good cross-check that you are on the “right page”.
  • You make connections with other peers.
  • You can use the accreditation as a marketing tool.


Values for students:

  • Employer recognition of an accredited programs credential.
  • Educational institution recognition of accredited program when seeking another credential.  Example:  Athabasca U. granting 60 credit hours towards a BCS (120 hours) if your computing diploma is from a CIPS accredited program.
  • ISP pathway is simpler at some institutions (Ex. Athabasca U. accepting the ISP as an element for Master of Science in Information Systems program).


From your term on the Council, both as a Member and Chair, which three events or achievements stand foremost in your mind and for what reasons? 

Gerald: These three are the big events certainly, and for me the two that stand out as highlights are:

  • The opportunity to travel to Quatar and UAE for program accreditations as an auditor was both personally and professional a huge growth, as well as a confirmation that computing is computing regardless of the place.
  • Shifting to outcome based and our ISTAC working day in a SAIT boardroom with the walls covered with flip chart paper, as we flushed out the outcomes was a very memorable event/day.