Barbara Schneider

Barbara Schneider is the John A. Hannah Chair and University Distinguished Professor in the College of Education and Department of Sociology at Michigan State University. Her research and teaching focus on understanding how the social contexts of schools and families influence the academic and social well-being of adolescents as they move into adulthood, with a particular emphasis on improving educational opportunities for students with limited economic and social resources. Dr. Schneider is the principle investigator of the College Ambition Program (CAP), a study that tests a model to create a STEM college-going culture in thirteen high schools that encourage adolescents to pursue STEM majors in college and occupations in these fields.

She is also co-principal investigator of the Michigan Consortium for Educational Research (MCER), a collaboration between the Michigan Department of Education, Michigan State University, and the University of Michigan to assess the implementation and impact of two key reforms in Michigan designed to work in tandem to promote college attendance and workplace success. These two reforms involve increasing the number of required rigorous academic courses students are expected to complete in high school and a college scholarship program for students meeting specific academic and admission test score criteria. This collaboration uses state administrative data and also includes an intensive study of 150 high schools in the state that were selected to represent a generalizable sample of schools and students in the state of Michigan. Barbara is also co-principal investigator of Improving Understandings of Student Engagement in STEM to Enhance Teacher Education and Classroom Instruction: An International Collaboration with Finland, designed to advance both the measurement of student engagement, and the development of tools to help mathematics and science teachers identify, encourage, and sustain engagement in their classroom.

Summary of recent work
African American Young Men of Promise Initiative College Support Project through the College Ambition Program (CAP), an intervention designed to build the capacity of school leaders and staff to systematically improve the preparation for college application and attendance of “first in their family” students at post-secondary educational programs with a special emphasis on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).  This emphasis on STEM is significantly important, as in many of these science and mathematics occupations African American males are underrepresented.  (Michigan Department of Education, PI-award $187,006.00: 2015.)
An International Study of Student Engagement: An EAGER Grant. This research project is designed to better understand engagement including: what it is; how to measure it; what effect it has on science learning particularly in secondary school science classes; and how teachers can use this information to improve their instruction and student learning. (National Science Foundation, PI-award $299,410.00: 2014 -2016.)