Montgomery County Community College’s Vice President for Information Technology Receives National Leadership Award

Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) is pleased to announce that Dr. Celeste M. Schwartz, Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Digital Officer at the College, has received the 2018 EDUCAUSE Leadership Award.

EDUCAUSE is a nonprofit association that helps institutions of higher education elevate the impact of information technology. The annual Leadership Award is EDUCAUSE’s highest recognition for individual achievement. This award acknowledges and celebrates exemplary leadership that has a significant and positive impact on advancing the theory and practice of information technology in higher education. For 2018, EDUCAUSE presented Leadership Awards to Dr. Schwartz and Richard N. Katz, founder and principal of Richard N. Katz and Associates of Longmont, Colo.

Dr. Schwartz of Ambler is the third community college leader in the country to receive the leadership award since CAUSE started the recognition in 1980. The organization became EDUCAUSE in 1991.

“On behalf of the College, I congratulate Celeste on receiving this well-deserved award recognizing her leadership, dedication and passion,” said Dr. Kevin Pollock, MCCC President. “Celeste has devoted her career to the development of innovative technology solutions that advance student success. She is an empowering leader, a tireless advocate for our students and a valued resource to all with whom she works.”

Dr. Schwartz’s strategic planning and leadership have been instrumental in the accomplishment of several transformative initiatives at MCCC. Through its combination of multiple enterprise systems, MCCC was one of the first community colleges to offer a completely integrated one-stop service experience for students, thus becoming a model for other community colleges across the United States.

In the mid-1990s, Dr. Schwartz collaborated with faculty to define classroom standards that continue to evolve and to ensure that learning spaces have modern and effective technology. A decade later, she worked with Apple on the Digital Campus Academy program to deliver widespread course content via the Apple platform. Currently, she is leading the College’s Integrated Planning and Advising for Student Success holistic advising work.

As a result of Dr. Schwartz’s organizational skills and leadership, the Center for Digital Education (CDE) recognized MCCC as a top digital community college 11 times, ranking it three times as first in the nation. The CDE is a national research and advisory institute specializing in K-12 and higher education technology trends, policy and funding.

“I would like to thank MCCC’s amazing technical team for their hard work and dedication and my family for their support,” Dr. Schwartz said. “None of this would be possible without them.”

Following her graduation from MCCC in 1970, Dr. Schwartz started her career at the College. She continued her education and advanced in her career taking on additional responsibilities and leadership roles. She earned her bachelor’s degree from St. Joseph’s University in 1977, her master’s degree in Computer Science from Villanova University in 1980 and her doctoral degree in Higher Education Administration from Walden University in 2011.

She has dedicated her life’s work to the advancement of innovative technology solutions, always with the goal of improving our students’ overall educational experience and academic success. Within MCCC’s IT Department, more than one-third of the staff are alumni, many of whom started as interns under her guidance. She not only serves as a mentor for those at the College, but also for other aspiring technology leaders, both locally and nationally.

Dr. Schwartz has been active in the EDUCAUSE community since 1997. She was a member of the ELI Advisory Board and several event program committees (serving as chair of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference Program Committee in 2008) and was a mentor for the Hawkins Leadership Roundtable, among many other volunteer assignments. In 20 years of activity with EDUCAUSE, she has presented as a subject-matter expert on a variety of topics, including analytics and the use of technology to support student success, IT governance and community colleges.

Beyond EDUCAUSE, she has co-chaired the IT Affinity Group, a leadership and technical resource for the CIOs of Pennsylvania community colleges. She is active in the Keystone Initiative for Network Based Education and Research. Additionally, she is MCCC’s liaison to Achieving the Dream, an EDUCAUSE partner and nonprofit organization that advances the success of community college students.

The 2018 EDUCAUSE Leadership Award recipients will be recognized during the EDUCAUSE Annual Conference held in Denver, Colo., from Oct. 30 to Nov. 2. Recipients receive complimentary registration, travel and housing for the conference.

The EDUCAUSE Leadership Award recipients each receive a $1,500 contribution to the fund of their choice. A contribution in Dr. Schwartz’s name will be made to the Fred and Rocky Barbone Scholarship at the Montgomery County Community College Foundation. The EDUCAUSE Award is sponsored byMoran Technology Consulting, Gold Partner.