New $40 million buildings, the securing of $10 million in research funding and a growth in the average of COSAM majors by approximately 11,000 since the year 2000 are among the changes in Schneller’s tenure.
So why give it up?
Auburn and COSAM will be undergoing reaccreditation over the next four years, followed by a capital campaign ending in 2016, involving the securing of donations.
“One of the things that came to mind was that I didn’t see myself as being dean in 2016,” Schneller said. “Donors give to people because they recognize the confidence and vision that you have. I thought that perhaps it would be a good time for a new dean to come into COSAM and prepare themselves for the reaccreditation and work with the campus and SACS committees.”
Schneller is a tenured professor of chemistry and biochemistry who directs a research program of Ph.D. and post-doctoral students. His desire is to spend time pursuing new education techniques and potential research abroad.
“Over the past few years it has become more competitive to seek outside funding for research,” Schneller said. “I’ve got scripts to write and patents to work on. I’ve also got some good ideas on teaching, such as 3D technology to help students see things in a different way.”
Provost Mary Ellen Mazey held an open forum regarding the search for a new dean Monday.
Topics covered included qualities deemed necessary for the next head of COSAM.
“The forum went really well,” Mazey said. “We had a lot of compliments for Dean Schneller and some good, constructive discussion. Dean Schneller has many successes as dean of COSAM as he has worked with the faculty, staff, students and alumni to build the college’s teaching, research and outreach missions. He will be missed as dean, but he will continue to make major contributions to the college and the University.”
Further developments in Schneller’s tenure include the COSAM Outreach program for students from kindergarten to 12th grade.
This program provides mentoring and hands-on laboratory activities.
Another of Schneller’s successes is an improvement in the variety of COSAM students.
“The quality of COSAM undergrad students is outstanding,” Schneller said. “I’m proud of the diversity the college has achieved, both in gender and race.”
Associate Dean for Research Marie Wooten expressed her appreciation for Schneller’s work.
She cited his rousing of alumni support and securing of facilities for the college as key in bringing COSAM to where it is today.
“He’s had a remarkable impression on the infrastructure and state of this college,” Wooten said. “He took helm of relatively new college and gave it firm footing, leaving us with bright future. He invested an incredible amount of personal time and effort and will sorely be missed.”
Schneller, though glad to be able to focus on his research, is also appreciative of those who helped him in his tenure as a COSAM dean.
“From a personal standpoint, being dean has been a very fulfilling experience,” Schneller said. “To be able to work with the faculty, have wonderful alumni and to be given the opportunity to build the college, I have a feeling of great satisfaction to have been able to work with such wonderful people.”