Since 1967, Floyd Schwartz has served as adjunct information technology professor at NOVA’s Alexandria and Annandale Campuses. While managing a dual career as an educator and full-time data center manager, Schwartz has achieved the 50-year mark, having taught over 250 courses to more than 6,000 students enrolled in NOVA’s IT program.
Schwartz was one of many visionaries who assisted in developing NOVA’s information systems technology associate of applied science degree program. In 1966, he implemented the College’s first computer programming courses, Computer Programming: COBOL I and II, for students interested in learning the Common Business Oriented Language (COBOL) for business data processing methods. His teaching methods have brought first-hand experiences and knowledge from the workplace to the classroom in an effort to enrich generations of highly-trained technology supporters and managers
“In 1965, the government was using COBOL for business type applications. There was a high-demand for programmers who knew COBOL, and at the time I felt NOVA needed to offer a course to prepare students on learning this new concept,” Schwartz said. “I and another full-time instructor incorporated this training program with the existing IT curriculum. The outcome allowed students to graduate from NOVA’s IT program with the programming skills needed to enter the workforce as skilled employees.”
In addition to inspiring students at NOVA, Schwartz taught computer systems and IT courses at Strayer University’s Alexandria Campus from 1996 until 2012. He also taught courses for the U.S. Department of Agriculture Graduate School, Thomas Nelson Community College, Sigma Data Computing Corporation, Systems Development Corporation and Unisys Corporation. Throughout his extensive academic career, he has instructed several tech courses including; introduction to information systems, computer and information systems, computer program design, computer information system development, database management and software engineering.
“Throughout my many years of teaching in the classroom, I’ve discovered the key to learning is understanding students learn best by doing,” Schwartz said. “Instructors can teach by using textbooks, lectures and interactive learning concepts on how to work with operating systems, but only the assignments and projects will give them the opportunity to practice doing what is taught. With this approach in mind, this is how students truly learn essential skills.”
For 19 years, Schwartz managed a computer operations government contract for the Office of Workers Compensation Program (OWCP) with the U.S. Department of Labor. The Pennsylvania native also successfully managed several technology data centers housed at the U.S. Department of Transportation, U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Department of Labor Regional Office sites, U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the United Mine Workers Retirement Fund.
“My aspiration to share my knowledge and experience with students during their preparation for future careers has been my reason for teaching at NOVA for over 50 years,” said Schwartz. “I want to continuously help the College grow and discover innovative ways to provide support for our students. I’ll happily continue to teach as long as I can physically and mentally achieve these desires.”
Schwartz earned an MBA from American University and a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Pennsylvania.
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Northern Virginia Community College is the largest institution of higher education in the Commonwealth of Virginia and one of America's largest community colleges. NOVA enrolls more than 75,000 students at its six campuses in Alexandria, Annandale, Loudoun, Manassas, Springfield and Woodbridge, and through the Extended Learning Institute. For more information about NOVA and its programs or services, call 703-323-3000 or visit the College's Web site, www.nvcc.edu.