All Press Releases for December 13, 2023

Mary Ellen Heian Schmider, PhD, has been Inducted into the Prestigious Marquis Who's Who Biographical Registry

Mary Ellen Heian Schmider is recognized for her expertise as an adjunct professor with the University of Maryland Global Campus

She focuses much of her effort on returning or otherwise nontraditional students, with a particular emphasis on creating thoughtful, engaged citizens of both the United States and the world at large.

    ST. PAUL, MN, December 13, 2023 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Mary Ellen Heian Schmider, PhD, has been included in Marquis Who's Who. As in all Marquis Who's Who biographical volumes, individuals profiled are selected on the basis of current reference value. Factors such as position, noteworthy accomplishments, visibility, and prominence in a field are all taken into account during the selection process.

With over five decades of experience to her credit in the field of education, Dr. Schmider remains active as an adjunct professor at the University of Maryland Global Campus, where she has taught history and women's studies since 2000. Teaching primarily online classes, she focuses much of her effort on returning or otherwise nontraditional students, with a particular emphasis on creating thoughtful, engaged citizens of both the United States and the world at large. Outside of her contributions in this role, Dr. Schmider has led a truly multifaceted and global career that has been informed by a continuing commitment to teaching and administrative leadership.

Prior to embarking on her professional journey, Dr. Schmider studied at St. Olaf College, from which she earned a Bachelor of Arts in English, magna cum laude, in 1960. During this time, she served as the president of the Women Students organization at the college and was inducted into the honor society of Phi Beta Kappa. Following this accomplishment, she began her studies at the University of Southern California, attaining a Master of Arts in English and American literature in 1962. More than two decades later, she would earn a Doctor of Philosophy in American studies at the University of Minnesota, where her interdisciplinary dissertation would focus on the philosophy of social reform of Jane Addams, a prominent activist and suffragette of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Throughout the course of her academic efforts, Dr. Schmider continued her professional career in higher education, beginning as an instructor of English at what is now California Lutheran University in 1961. Departing in 1964, she joined the faculty at the University of Vermont, where she would remain active as an English instructor until 1970. Three years later, she would work for the University of Rhode Island as an instructor until 1977. Dr. Schmider subsequently accepted a long-term role at Minnesota State University Moorhead (MSUM), which culminated in her departure as graduate dean emerita in 1995. Through her work at MSUM, she worked administratively on behalf of students as the director of continuing education and community services and, later, as the dean of graduate studies. She also played a key role in the development of the university's Master of Liberal Arts interdisciplinary graduate program, the Women's Studies program, the Master of Public Administration, and served as chair of the planning committee to create the Writing Center.

While active at MSUM, Dr. Schmider had the distinct pleasure of living and working in Reykjavik, Iceland, during a sabbatical period in 1985. During this time, she served as a visiting professor of English at the University of Iceland at the invitation of the University of Minnesota's exchange program. She went on to participate in the "Reunion of Sisters" conference, hosted by prominent women scholars in Helsinki, Finland, in 1986, and subsequently lectured in Austria and Italy at the behest of the U.S. Information Service in 1988, during which time she featured as a keynote speaker for the Austrian Association for American Studies. Continuing her work abroad, Dr. Schmider proceeded to visit several higher education institutions in China and went on sabbatical in Akita, Japan, where she examined cross-cultural comparisons and contrasts between Japanese and American world views, social practices, and religious and familial patterns.

After retiring from her work at MSUM, Dr. Schmider joined the University of Maryland Global Campus as an adjunct full professor, and taught students abroad in military bases situated in both Germany and Turkey. Additionally, taking a leave from the course of her work at UMGC, in 2014, she accepted an invitation to teach graduate courses in American literature at AAB College, the largest private university in the Balkans, situated in Pristina, Kosovo.

Best noted for her proficiency in speaking and sharing ideas with an international audience, Dr. Schmider began to work extensively with the Fulbright Program in the 1990s, serving as a guest lecturer at Xian University and Tianjin Teachers University in China, and at Mongolian National University, all during her Fulbright Senior Scholar award at Lanzhou University, Gansu Province. Throughout the following years, she would continue to teach as a Fulbright Program grantee as Senior Lecturer in Macedonia and on a State Dept. grant to several conferences in Romania.

Furthermore, beginning in 2008, she became a member of the national board of directors and officer of the Fulbright Association in Washington, D.C., twice stepping off the board to become Executive Director (2012 and 2016)– roles in which she spearheaded the creation of the Fulbright Service and Insight Travel Programs. Dr. Schmider also had the honor and privilege to Chair the International Committees for the Fulbright Prize for International Understanding on two occasions – first for German Chancellor Angela Merkel in 2019, (where she presented the award onstage in Berlin) and again to Irish singer- songwriter Bono in 2022.

Likewise acclaimed for her work in nonprofit organizing, Dr. Schmider served as the president of the board for the Minnesota Humanities Commission during her term from 1987 to 1995, during which time she functioned as a grant evaluator for the National Endowment for the Humanities. She also lent her aid in numerous roles with the Lutheran Church in America, particularly as the vice president of the Board for Higher Education and Schools. In 1988, she was invited to join the Corporate Board of Lutheran Brotherhood, now Thrivent Financial, a Fortune 300 company created as a fraternal benefit society, and two years later, she was elected by the membership to a twelve-year term on the board.

Well-regarded for her manifold accomplishments, Dr. Schmider received a Certificate of Completion from the Carnegie Mellon University College Management Program, which she attended with a Summer Fellows Grant from the Bush Foundation's College Administrator Program in 1986. In addition to her numerous recognitions via her work with the Fulbright Program, she has also accepted a nomination for the "Lifetime Achievement in International Exchange" Award from the DAAD Alumni Association USA, which will be publicly acknowledged in an event in NYC, in the spring.

In a career suffused with highlights, Dr. Schmider is particularly proud to have consistently centered on developing in her students thoughtful connections of education to an informed life in society, both domestically and internationally, as well as gaining competence in their particular fields of study. Her dedication to education has afforded her numerous opportunities to present conference papers and public lectures while teaching abroad, allowing her to see and interact with a rich tapestry of cultures and philosophies. Looking toward the future, Dr. Schmider aspires to carry on in her efforts in collegiate teaching and beyond--planning currently to lead a round table in a national conference aimed at developing democratic pathways toward peace, using Kosovo, 25 years after the NATO intervention in the Balkans, as the touchstone. She also aims to continue serving as an effective role model and mentor for young women, whom she hopes to inspire through her example of fostering diversity and inclusivity throughout the world.

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Since 1899, when A. N. Marquis printed the First Edition of Who's Who in America®, Marquis Who's Who® has chronicled the lives of the most accomplished individuals and innovators from every significant field of endeavor, including politics, business, medicine, law, education, art, religion and entertainment. Marquis celebrates its 125th anniversary in 2023, and Who's Who in America® remains an essential biographical source for thousands of researchers, journalists, librarians and executive search firms around the world. Marquis® publications may be visited at the official Marquis Who's Who® website at

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