Higher Education Professor Selected for National Leadership Academy

Faculty & Research

Max Schuster, a faculty member in the higher education management program at the University of Pittsburgh School of Education, was recently selected for the 2019-20 NASPA Emerging Faculty Leader Academy.

The academy is a one-year program designed for early-career faculty in student affairs and higher education graduate programs. Highly selective in nature, the academy only admits seven faculty each year from higher education institutions around the country.

“Being selected for this academy is really an honor and an awesome opportunity to learn and grow alongside new colleagues, collaborating on new ideas that move student affairs graduate programs forward, as well as generating synergy around new teaching and research projects,” said Schuster.

NASPA, which supports student affairs administrators in higher education, has 15,000 members from 1,200 institutions around the world.

The Emerging Leadership Academy was created to provide a high-impact mentoring opportunity for faculty members who have demonstrated early promise. The academy focuses on teaching strategies and curriculum development, leadership through professional service, and issues related to promotion and tenure. Seasoned faculty and staff leaders provide instruction through monthly professional development dialogues.

Quite honestly, I’m energized by the opportunity to engage with colleagues and thought leaders through the EFLA cohort. The academy allows for exchanges with colleagues about innovations I have made in my classroom as well as exposure to new ways of boldly delivering exceptional educational experiences, which I see benefiting students at Pitt,” Schuster said.

Schuster is part of the higher education management faculty at Pitt Education and manages the Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Higher Education program. He also earned his PhD in Higher Education Management from Pitt Education in 2017.

The MEd in Higher Education program at Pitt Education is designed for early-stage professionals who are interested in becoming leaders in student affairs in higher education institutions. The foundation of the Higher Education program is a commitment to equity and justice. On the professional side, Higher Education master’s students complete an internship in higher education or student affairs. 

In coordinating MEd student internships, Schuster has strengthened the connections between Pitt Education and the external higher education institutions that hire the program’s MEd students. As a result, the program now has a 100% job placement rate for its student services graduates.

For Schuster, being a part of the academy involves attending in the NASPA Annual Conference in Austin, Texas and facilitating several faculty dialogues throughout the conference. In addition, Schuster is presenting two conference sessions that highlight his original research related to undergraduate student activism and the transitional experiences of first-year students with minoritized identities. 

His research article, “Learning Culture: First-Year Student Transition, Institutional Culture, and the Bubble of Trial Adulthood,” was published this past December in the Journal of College Orientation, Transition, and Retention. In the paper, Schuster shares the results of a qualitative research study in which 62 first- or second-year college students were interviewed on how they experienced college life and transitioned from high school to college.

“Practitioner-focused research, like this recent article as well as the upcoming conference presentations, is critical to generating practical implications and new ways of thinking about how student affairs can support and champion student success,” said Schuster.

Now with his new opportunity as a NAPSA Emerging Leaders Fellow, Schuster looks forward to taking the next step forward to produce knowledge in the higher education profession.

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The Higher Education Management program at Pitt Education offers multiple degree options: