On ‘The EdUp Experience’ podcast, Norwich University’s former leader addresses U.S. higher education’s hurdles

Richard W. Schneider may have retired as Norwich University’s president, but he remains devoted to higher education in Vermont and the nation.

Schneider, who became Norwich’s president emeritus when he ceded his post June 1, making way for Mark C. Anarumo’s presidency, spoke recently on “EdUp Experience,” a New York City-based podcast covering national education topics.

On the show, Schneider, who spent 28 years as Norwich’s 23rd president, argues that the higher education community should follow Vermont’s example when planning to adjust for COVID-19. Schneider acknowledged that Vermont, like Norwich, is small, but has big ideas and sets big examples.

“We have to be light on our feet.” Norwich University President Emeritus Richard W. Schneider

Importantly, he said, Vermont had a strategy or guidelines for reopening every economic sector, from tourism, to hospitality to higher education.

“Our (Vermont) governor, Phil Scott, talks about opening the spigot slowly,” Schneider said on the show, posted Sept. 21. “That has been the saving grace. ... That’s why we’re the number one safe state in the union.”

Schneider also describes why the disease, caused by the novel coronavirus, should be treated like an enemy and why college presidents should be careful when picking vendors to help prevent the spread.

Specifically, Schneider discusses how experience with Norwich’s online College of Graduate and Continuing Studies helped prepare campus first for the online learning necessitated during the March infection curve-flattening shutdown and then for the current hybrid learning now in use.

As difficult as the coronavirus-related shift was, it offered room for invention.

“We have to be light on our feet,” Schneider said on the show. “All the schools in America will do a better job. … 15 or 20 years from now, when we do the research on it, it may be one of the most interesting, innovative, creative times higher ed has had at the undergrad level.

“The schools that have the financial resources … to pivot and invest will make it just fine,” he said. “This is a huge change for online education in America that would have never happened on its own.”

Schneider said the pandemic has shown colleges will need to flexible, affordable and relevant to survive. College presidents will need to cut programs that no longer serve students’ or the marketplace’s needs.

“The EdUp Experience” hosts Elvin Freytes, Dr. Joe Sallustio and Elizabeth Leiba collectively have 60 years of higher-education experience. Dr. Lynn Priddy substituted for Sallustio on this episode.

Listen here:


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