Saginaw Valley State University professor honored as 2019 Higher Educator of the Year

David Schneider honored at NEA Representative Assembly for dedication to student retention on campus

SAGINAW — David Schneider, a communication professor at Saginaw Valley State University, was honored as the 2019 Higher Educator of the Year at the National Education Association’s Representative Assembly this month in Houston. Schneider is a longtime member and leader of the Michigan Education Association’s higher education branch.

“Our honoree, David, exemplifies so much of what is best in our profession,” said DeWayne Sheaffer, president of the NEA National Council for Higher Education. “He has improved the college experience of students through his student-centered learning and research methods. He’s applied those learnings to his own classes and campus, but also shared his knowledge at national conferences. He’s a trailblazer, helping to challenge his peers.”

Schneider, a professor of communication and union leader who is entering his 34th year at SVSU, is the second-ever winner of the NEA Higher Educator of the Year award. He is known for his research challenging common assumptions about why students leave their colleges and universities.

“There’s an old belief that students don’t do well in school so they bail out, and that may be true, but we’re also learning that they step out for reasons other than not being able to succeed academically,” Schneider said.

Research shows that at comprehensive universities like SVSU, as many as 50% of students will not earn a certificate or degree within six years. In his trainings, Schneider argues the problem isn’t always academic preparation.

“The research reveals students need to develop a sense of belonging on their campuses — and faculty can help,” Schneider said.

The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing nearly 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers. Learn more at

Contact: Doug Pratt, MEA Director of Public Affairs, 517-337-5508

Higher Ed Newsroom


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