Alumni Profile: Dr. Edward Schoder
When Dr. Edward Schoder (Ed.M. ‘91, Ed.D. ‘10) concluded his military service as a Captain in the Army in 1985, he knew he wanted to apply the leadership skills he gained to a more personal environment. This prompted him to pursue a career as an educator in the K-12 setting.
“Service that helps others is an important facet of our lives,” notes Schoder. “My transition from the military to teaching was more about a shift in the focus of my mission. In the military, I had to be concerned with the welfare of my soldiers so they could keep a division moving, but keeping that division moving was the primary mission. In education, the students' well being and growth is always the primary mission."
Schoder graduated from the Rutgers Graduate School of Education (GSE) master’s program with a concentration in English and Language Arts Education before returning for his doctorate in Social and Philosophical Foundations of Education.
He selected his dissertation topic with the support of Dr. James Giarelli who advised Schoder to pick a research problem about which he was passionate. This guidance drove him to research Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of Love and its implications to education. His dissertation, which looked at the implications of Freire’s theory of love regarding the nature, value, and practice of education, inspired his enthusiasm for mentoring students to achieve personal growth.
Schoder’s passion for learning and enhancing the well-being of the students has kept him in the classroom for 28 years even though he has advanced degrees and extensive experience.
“I admire administrators but I never saw myself playing that role,” said Schoder. “I enjoy dealing directly with the students, their ideas, their writings, and their readings. I like to listen and encourage their thoughts and perspectives.”
Schoder is currently an English teacher at Oakdale High School in Maryland where he has played an active role in the creation and development of a dual-enrollment program with the local community college. This program allows Oakdale High School students to earn up to 18 college credits by taking advanced courses taught by college lecturers that also satisfy their high school requirements.
“This is the age when we need to foster and promote intellectual curiosity,” says Schoder. “The students need a good cornerstone. They need to read and challenge their thinking and I like to help them do that.”
Schoder’s belief in personal development and self-fulfillment lead him to support the GSE’s South Africa Initiative, which provides Rutgers students and other NJ educators the opportunity to travel abroad and enrich the educational experience of K-12 students in South Africa. Many Rutgers students participate with the intent of enhancing those schools and students in South Africa but return home having gained a lot of knowledge about themselves. To Schoder, the students’ personal growth and discovery is a crucial component of the initiative and the reason he continues to support their involvement.
To learn more about the GSE’s South Africa Initiative visit the program webpage.
To learn more about the Ed.D. program, please click here.