Last modified: Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Kenneth J. Schoon
W. George Pinnell Award for Outstanding Service -- Founders Day 2007
Professor of Education; Associate Dean
School of Education
University Graduate School
Indiana University Northwest
Appointed to IU Faculty, 1990
A.B., Indiana University Bloomington, 1968
M.S., Indiana University Bloomington, 1972
Ph.D., Loyola University of Chicago, 1989
By any measure, the diversity and depth of Kenneth J. Schoon's service activities are impressive. Schoon, who is professor and associate dean of the School of Education at IU Northwest, is so well known as a result of his volunteer activities that many think of him as "Mr. Northwest Indiana."
According to Charles P. Gallmeier, chair of the department of sociology and anthropology, "What impresses the most in Professor Schoon's record is the broad range and well-roundedness of his service activity. He has made significant and sustained contributions to benefit not only students and the institution, but also the profession and the community, all of them in a manner consistent with the missions of Indiana University and the IU Northwest campus."
In fact, Schoon considers service so important that he requires all students in his methods classes to compete a service-learning project outside of their assigned field experience classrooms. "Service is not only an extremely important part of the mission of the university and its faculty, it is vital to the success of a democracy," he says. "In the same way, the professional organizations that I have supported simply could not exist without the service of volunteers."
Schoon's contributions to the Northwest campus are remarkable. He helped rewrite the campus constitution several years ago as chair of the Constitution Revision Committee, and he serves on the Curatoriate of the Center for Regional Excellence: Cultural Discovery and Learning. On the university level, he has been elected as liaison to the Faculty Colloquium on Excellence in Teaching and has served as a member of the University Calendar Committee.
Long admired for his integrity, Schoon has a reputation as a campus leader. For over a decade, he was the IU Northwest Faculty Organization Parliamentarian, serving as the "voice of reason" for that body by promoting faculty governance and reminding faculty of their rights, obligations, and responsibilities. He chaired the campus task force that created a list of "Student-Centered Principles" that still guides campus policies.
As associate dean of the School of Education since 1999, he has served on numerous search committees for faculty and administrative posts, as well as many faculty governance and academic committees. He also finds time to mentor new and adjunct faculty, and is academic advisor to all of the department's science education majors plus several master's degree candidates. He oversees the Office of Education and Student Services, and serves with public school teachers and administrators on the Teacher Advisory Council.
His contributions to science education and to local schools are far-reaching as well. He has made countless visits to area schools to talk with students about geology and earth sciences. He also conducts in-service workshops, acts as consultant, has served on accreditation teams, and conducts program evaluations.
For more than a decade, he has been State Membership Chairman for the Indiana Science Olympiad, and he has served on the IU Northwest Science Olympiad planning committee since its inception.
For the past eight years, Professor Schoon has been on the board of the Indiana Dunes Environmental Learning Center and currently serves as its president. Senator Richard Lugar has called the center the best example of a public/private partnership that he knows.
Over the years, Schoon has served on the town of Munster's ordinance committee, Heritage Commission, and Plan Commission. As a long-time board member of the Munster Historical Society, he wrote a number of popular historical pamphlets about the region. These writings were the seed of what later became his 2003 book, Calumet Beginnings: Ancient Shorelines and Settlements at the South End of Lake Michigan, which won the IU Northwest Research Award in 2003. He is also a member of the Munster Board of Parks and Recreation, and served three terms as president. He has given time and talent to the Northwest Indiana Historical Community, Habitat for Humanity, and a host of other organizations.
Currently, he is president of the Munster Centennial Committee, which is planning activities, performances, and ceremonies to attract and touch all of the town's residents and neighbors. With the publication of his second book, Munster, Indiana: A Centennial History, just in time for the celebration, he's likely to find himself in another flurry of speaking engagements over the next several months. As he speaks to community groups and participates in so many other volunteer activities, Schoon will continue to represent his university and campus as an exemplar of what it means to serve.