2022 Rising Star Award Recipient

Joseph Licata

Joseph Licata

Product Management Consultant
Former Associate Chief Information Officer
Maricopa County Community Colleges District 

For exemplifying vision and insight to achieve operational excellence; for advancing unique and innovative technology solutions with a resoundingly positive impact for the institution and the greater community; for leading the way in cultivating efficient and effective teams

The 2022 EDUCAUSE Rising Star Award is presented to Joseph Licata, former Associate Chief Information Officer and current Product Management Consultant for the Maricopa County Community Colleges District (MCCCD), in recognition of his impact and vision as a leader at the institutional level and for the broader IT profession. Joining Maricopa County Community Colleges in 2017, Joseph quickly proved his skills as a manager and director, and in 2020 he was promoted to Associate Vice Chancellor/Associate CIO to establish the Academic Technology team within the District IT Division, where he continued to demonstrate remarkable success in leading the development and management of an array of innovative educational technology products. During his tenure at Maricopa, his area of responsibilities included product management, cloud engineering, software development, enterprise analytics, and program management.

Throughout his career, Joseph has deeply engaged with his organizations to fully understand the most critical business needs and to implement strategies to fill those gaps with creative technology solutions. For example, during the COVID‐19 pandemic, Joseph’s expedited and innovative implementation of Webex to more than 300,000 students and instructors in three weeks earned the MCCCD the 2020 Webexcellent Innovation Award. Not only does Joseph possess strong technical skills, but he is also an astute manager and leader who is able to build teams and develop innovative funding streams and continuous improvement processes so that solutions can be sustained and enhanced into the future. In just over two years, Joseph grew the Academic Technology team from one staff member to a group of fifty-five IT professionals to become one of the most efficient and productive IT teams in the district.

In addition to his core responsibilities presiding over the Academic Technology team, Joseph made invaluable contributions to the district’s information security procedures, IT customer support and experience, and overall IT strategy. In 2021, his leadership was instrumental in earning a $500,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to deliver inventive software and technology to improve the student service experience. The solution, the Academic & Student Success Integrated Support Technology (ASSIST) record management platform, was launched by Joseph’s team in March 2021 and resulted in a projected annual cost savings of $5–7 million for the district. The following year ASSIST won the Dr. Paul M. Pair Innovation of the Year award sponsored by the MCCCD and the League for Innovation. Joseph’s vision for the ASSIST platform prioritized low‐cost software development, high tech infrastructure and engineering, and open-source technology, giving it the potential to become a powerful, modular, cost-effective solution, not only for Maricopa, but potentially for hundreds of other colleges and universities across the United States.

To complement his role at MCCCD, Joseph has been an adjunct faculty member with Saint Leo University and Phoenix College, where he teaches business and management courses. He is also the founder and executive director of Arizona Educates, a nonprofit that seeks to improve educational awareness and opportunities through research, public policy analysis, and direct student support.

This expansive vision and his many contributions have had a tremendously meaningful and positive impact on the MCCCD, along with the potential to benefit others in the industry. A deep commitment to higher education and an ability to catalyze ideas, motivate teamwork, and inspire others to action make Joseph Licata a rising star with a promising future as a leader in the IT profession.

This EDUCAUSE Award is sponsored by Moran Technology Consulting, Gold Partner.