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Education professor receives national student affairs award

Robert Schwartz, professor and chair of the FSU College of Education’s Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies
Robert Schwartz, professor and chair of the FSU College of Education’s Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

A Florida State University faculty member has been recognized for his outstanding work in the student affairs profession by the Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education (NASPA). 

Robert Schwartz, professor and chair of the FSU College of Education’s Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, has been selected as the recipient of the 2017 Robert H. Shaffer Award for Academic Excellence as a Graduate Faculty Member. The award, named for a dean and professor emeritus at Indiana University, is presented to a tenured, full-time faculty member in a graduate preparation program in student affairs.

Schwartz teaches courses in higher education, student affairs and the history of education, and he currently serves as his department’s chair and the program director for the Certificate in Institutional Research.

“Dr. Schwartz has advanced knowledge, especially in the history of higher education,” said Mary B. Coburn, vice president for Student Affairs at Florida State University. “As a mentor and faculty adviser, he continually demonstrates his commitment to student success. Bob contributes daily to students advancing toward their goals. He is a tremendous asset to Florida State.”

Each Robert H. Shaffer Award recipient has inspired graduate students and served on doctoral dissertation committees; has a distinguished record of scholarly achievement, including publication in relevant literature; and has made significant contributions to professional associations.

“I would have never finished my doctoral degree were it not for Dr. Schwartz, and I suspect there are others on the long list of more than 70 students he has assisted who would attest to the same,” said Dennis Pruitt, vice president for student affairs, vice provost and dean of students at the University of South Carolina. “Absent his intervention and his devoted commitment to my education, I would not have enjoyed my career, and most certainly would not have had the success over my 37 years at Carolina.”

Since his arrival at FSU in 1998, he has served as chair for 49 doctoral students, been a member of 104 doctoral committees and chaired more than 100 master’s degree students. He is also active in American College Personnel Association (ACPA), Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE), American Education Research Association (AERA), American Institutes for Research (AIR) and the Southern History of Education Society.

Prior to Florida State, Schwartz was a member of the faculty at Valdosta State University and the University of South Carolina. He served as assistant dean of students at the University of North Dakota from 1974 to 1984. He earned his bachelor’s degree at Hanover College in 1973, master’s degree at Ball State University in 1974, and his Ph.D. at Indiana University in 1990.

Schwartz has been an active member of NASPA for many years and has served on numerous committees, including the Faculty Fellows, and served as a member and chair of the Hardee Dissertation of the Year committee. He has served on editorial boards, including the Journal of College and Character (2008-2015), the NASPA Journal About Women (2008-present), and the Journal of Retention: Research, Theory & Practice (2000-2010), that provide not only service to professional associations, but also to the profession.

He has published more than 30 journal articles, 10 book chapters and monographs, and made over 70 presentations at conferences. In 2010, he published a book, “Deans of Men and the Shaping of Modern College Culture” (Palgrave). He is currently working on a book about George W. Zook and the American Council on Education.

Schwartz and the other winners will be honored in March at the 2017 NASPA Annual Conference in San Antonio, Texas. 

NASPA is the leading association for the advancement, health, and sustainability of the student affairs profession. Our work provides high-quality professional development, advocacy and research for 15,000 members in all 50 states, 25 countries and 8 U.S. territories.