Charles Schweik Named IT Program Director
Charles (Charlie) Schweik, School of Public Policy and Department of Environmental Conservation, has been appointed director of the UMass Amherst Information Technology Program. The appointment became effective as of Feb. 1, 2023.
Schweik holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science and was a programmer at IBM for approximately seven years. After that, he earned a master's in public administration, specializing in public management and public information technology. He then worked for a Washington D.C. consulting firm designing and maintaining databases in support of the U.S. Department of Energy’s environmental remediation program. After roughly two years there, he went back to graduate school for a Ph.D. in public policy at Indiana University.
Schweik joined UMass approximately 25 years ago and was a member of the UMass IT Task Force that founded the UMass Information Technology Minor. Much of his research focuses on understanding the social and technical contexts of open-source software. He wrote a book “Internet Success: The Study of Open Source Software Commons,” published in 2012 (open access version available here). Currently, he and his collaborators are in the middle of a five-year National Science Foundation grant-funded project where they are studying OSS sustainability in the context of OSS incubator programs under nonprofit foundations like the Apache Software Foundation. He also has an active IT-related program called World Librarians where an interdisciplinary team of UMass undergraduate and graduate students, along with staff at the UMass Libraries, provide digital information to very remote schools in Malawi and Kenya.
Schweik is a founder of UMassAir, an interdisciplinary research, education and contract shop at UMass offering a Graduate Certificate in Unoccupied Aerial Systems piloting and data processing; the associate director of the Public Interest Technology Initiative at UMass; and the lead founding faculty of the UMass All-Campus Makerspace, that will be moving into a new permanent space in Fall 2023. In all three contexts, he hopes to build new opportunities that are jointly organized with the IT Program.
“I’m honored to be appointed to this IT program directorship role. I feel like it is a homecoming of sorts for me. But more importantly, as someone with an interdisciplinary background built around IT, I strongly believe that students can really improve their potential for innovation in their field of study by taking an Information Technology Minor to complement their majors,” says Schweik. “I also look forward to building strong connections between the IT Program and the other programs on campus that I am connected to, like PIT and the campus Makerspace Network.”
Associate provost Joseph Bartolomeo considers Schweik ideally suited to the position: “Charlie brings a wealth of relevant experience and a strong vision for the future of the program. I am confident that it will thrive under his leadership.”