January 9, 2009

UW-Parkside's Schnaubelt gets prestigious appointment at Stanford

The UW-Parkside dean who helped create the REC Center in Racine is taking a new job at Stanford University in California.

Prof. Thomas Schnaubelt (pictured right) is the new executive director of the Haas Center for Public Service at the prestigious university. He'll also work as assistant vice provost for student affairs at Stanford.

Schnaubelt will leave his job as UW-Parkside's Dean for Community Engagement and Civic Learning on March 6. He's held the position since 2005. Schnaubelt also runs Parkside's Center for University Partnerships. An interim director of the center likely will be named until a permanent successor is found, Schnaubelt said.

Schaubelt has built a career around bringing the research and expertise on college campuses into their surrounding communities. UW-Parkside created a new position for him in 2005 to build connections in Racine and Kenosha. One of the most visible examples of this in Racine is the REC Center along the Root River. The center rents canoes and kayaks, hosts educational programs for groups and generally works to raise awareness of the river in Racine.

Schnaubelt said Stanford chose him because of the support UW-Parkside gave him in working to connect the university with Racine and Kenosha.

"The reason they're interested in me is because Parkside has made such a name for itself in community engagement," Schnaubelt said. "That's how I got on their radar. I have Parkside to thank for that."

Schnaubelt will start at Stanford on April 6. His wife, Mary Esther Schnaubelt, and their 8-year-old daughter will move out to California after the school year.

Mary Esther is well-known in Racine for her work at Focus on Community curbing underage drinking and holding local businesses accountable for selling alcohol to people under 21.

Schnaubelt grew up in Lake Geneva and considers UW-Parkside his own. He said it'll be hard leaving the area and described himself as a "four-season" person who will miss winter living in southern California. But on a snowy January day, he added California didn't sound so bad.

The move west will be the latest in a career that's taken Schnaubelt around the country. He graduated UW-Stevens Point with a bachelor's degree in physics before earning a master's degree in education from the University of Michigan and a PhD in higher education administration from the University of Minnesota.

While the Stanford opportunity was a good fit, Schnaubelt said he would miss UW-Parkside.

"It's really important for me to share that I'm really happy here," Schnaubelt said. "I was nominated for the position. I didn't go seeking it out."

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