Dr. Maximilian T. Schuster is an assistant professor of practice in the Department of Educational Foundations, Organizations, and Policy where he teaches master and doctoral-level courses in higher education and student affairs, coordinates the MEd program in Higher Education, and maintains an affiliation with the Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies program. Dr. Schuster’s scholarship broadly explores the variation in the lived experiences of college students with minoritized identities throughout their higher education journeys. He draws heavily on organizational culture, campus climate, and college student identity development frameworks to inform this work. Dr. Schuster is the recipient of several research grants and awards from student affairs and higher education professional associations. Most recently, he was selected for the 2020-21 NASPA Emerging Faculty Leader Academy and received a grant award from the ACPA Commission for Admissions, Orientation, and First-Year Experience and the National Resource Center for the First-Year Experience and Students in Transition to explore the campus experiences of students during the 2016 presidential election. He also finished a research grant from the Association of College and University Housing Officers-International, which examined the ways that resident assistants with intersecting minoritized identities experience, perceive, and make sense of their roles on campus.
Prior to joining the faculty, Dr. Schuster enjoyed seven years of professional experience in student affairs, working in residence life and student life offices. Dr. Schuster completed a PhD in Higher Education Management at the University of Pittsburgh, and his dissertation, “Compartmentalized cultures, integrated transitions: Exploring first-year student transition at a middle Atlantic university,” earned the Outstanding Research Award from NODA, the Association for Orientation, Transition, and Retention in Higher Education. Dr. Schuster also holds an MEd in Higher Education Management from the University of Pittsburgh and BA in English and French from Washington & Jefferson College.
Dr. Schuster teaches MEd and EdD courses in student affairs and higher education, drawing on contemplative pedagogies to enrich student learning. He usually teaches the following courses:
- MEd Internship in Higher Education
- Professional Development Seminar in Higher Education
- Student Development Theory
- Supervised Practitioner Inquiry
Dr. Schuster’s scholarship is practitioner-orientated and intended to have practical implications for higher education leaders and student affairs professionals. His work employs qualitative methodologies as well as constructivist and critical data analysis techniques to explore the lived experiences of college students with minoritized identities, with an emphasis on queer students and students with multiple minoritized identities.
- ACPA Commission for Admission, Orientation, and First-Year Experience and National Resource Center for the First-Year Experience and Students in Transition Research Grant to study students’ political engagement, 2019
- ACUHO-I Research Grant to study college resident assistants with minoritized identities, 2017
- ACPA Commission for Gender and Sexualities Research Grant to study college student leaders with queer identities, 2017
Schuster, M. T., & Stalker, R. (2022). Resident assistants with minoritized identities: The promise of identity-affirming microclimates in enhancing RA experiences. Journal of College and University Student Housing, 49(1), 10-31. https://www.nxtbook.com/acuho-i/acuho/journal_vol49no1/index.php#/p/5
Schuster, M. T. (2021). “An experience unlike any other”: The experiences of first-year students with minoritized identities with campus climate during the 2016 presidential election. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, 14(4), 580-591. https://doi.org/10.1037/dhe0000252
DeAngelo, L., Schuster, M. T., & Lauchaud, Q. A. (2021). The faculty role in grooming and gatekeeping students' of color potential along the professoriate pipeline. Review of Higher Education, 44(4), 493-521. https://doi.org/10.1353/rhe.2021.0010
Schuster, M. T. (2019). Learning culture: First-year student transition, institutional culture, and the bubble of trial adulthood. Journal of College Orientation, Transition, and Retention, 26(2), 1-26. https://doi.org/10.24926/jcotr.v26i2.2400
DeAngelo, L., Schuster, M. T., & Stebleton, M. J. (2016). California DREAMers: Identity, activism, and empowerment among undocumented college students. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, 9(3), 216-230. https://doi.org/10.1037/dhe0000023
Awards and Honors
- Excellence in Research Award from NASPA Orientation, Transition, and Retention Knowledge Community , 2021
- NASPA Emerging Faculty Leader Academy, 2020-2021
- Outstanding Research Award from NODA—Orientation, Transition, and Retention in Higher Education, 2017
Engagement, Partnerships, and Professional Service
Dr. Schuster maintains membership with the following professional associations where he is involved with presenting at national conferences as well as various peer review service: ACPA-College Student Educators International, Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE), NASPA-Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, and the Journal of College Student Retention. Some of his recent conference presentations include:
Schuster, M. T. (2022, March). A new model for identity-affirming microclimates within student affairs. Presentation at National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) Annual Conference. Baltimore, MD.
Schuster, M. T. (2021, March). Campus political contexts and student leaders with minoritized identities. Scholarly paper presentation at American College Personnel Association (ACPA) Annual Convention. Virtual.
Schuster, M. T. (2021, March). New(er) high-impact strategies that center students with minoritized identities. Presentation at American College Personnel Association (ACPA) Annual Convention. Virtual.
Schuster, M. T., & Bennett, K. (2021, March). A new research-based model for first-year transition and success. Presentation at National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) Annual Conference. Virtual.
Schuster, M. T. (2021, March). College student activism as an effective educational practice. Presentation at National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) Annual Conference. Virtual.
Schuster, M. T. (2020). How political climate affects transition for students with minoritized identities. Research paper presentation at National Resource Center for the First-Year Experiences and Students in Transition Annual Conference. Virtual.
In addition, Dr. Schuster is a Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) Certified Practitioner and a Research Mentor for the First/ Continuing Experiences in Research Program in the University of Pittsburgh Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences.