As Director of the Michigan Community Scholars Program (MCSP), Schoem has closely aligned academic excellence and engaged student learning with community engagement, intergroup engagement, diversity and social justice. Throughout its history, MCSP has regularly exceeded UM retention and graduation rates for underrepresented students of color, and its students have been overrepresented in student leadership roles and awards on campus, such as the Central Campus Spirit of MLK, Jr. Award. The alumni of this relatively young program (est. 1999) remain highly engaged and have organized regional cohorts in Washington D.C/Baltimore, Chicago, and the greater Metro Detroit area. The faculty and students at MCSP have formed close relationships with various community organizations, notably and most recently, Neighbors Building Brightmoor. In the 1990s, the MCSP faculty, staff, and students, together with their community partners, co-authored chapters in the book, Engaging the Whole of Service-Learning, Diversity, and Learning Communities for which Schoem was a co-editor and chapter author.
Schoem has served as a PEW National Learning Communities Fellow and has led faculty institutes on diversity issues and undergraduate education through the Association of American Colleges and Universities, the Ford Foundation, the Washington Center for Innovation in Undergraduate Education, and has spoken at over 50 colleges and universities. Schoem has been recognized by the University of Michigan for the State Campus Compact Faculty Award for Most Outstanding Contribution to Community Service-Learning at UM 2010-2012, and by the National Center for Institutional Diversity for the Exemplary Diversity Engagement and Scholarship Award. Schoem was a consultant to President Clinton’s Initiative on Race. He was the winner of the Dushkin Prize from the Institute of Contemporary Jewry of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem for Most Outstanding Dissertation on Jewish Education, 1970-1980.
Schoem teaches courses such as “Social Justice, Identity, Diversity, and Community,” “Ethnic Identity and Intergroup Relations,” “Community Service Learning,” “Sociology of Education,” “Socio-Cultural Change and Education,” “Reforming Undergraduate Education,” and “Jewish Americans: Identity and Community in a Pluralistic Society,” “Jewish Identity,” and “Blacks and Jews: Dialogue on Ethnic Identity.”
Schoem has written extensively on topics in higher education, teaching, diversity, and student learning. He is co-editor of the forthcoming (2016) book, Teaching Matters: Engaging the Whole Student with Heart, Mind and Spirit (Stylus Press). Among his other books are a U of M Press series for first-year college students and their families, focusing on engaged learning, academic success, civic engagement, and personal growth and identity development: College Knowledge: 101 Tips; College Knowledge for the Student Athlete; College Knowledge for the Community College Student; and College Knowledge for the Jewish Student. He also is author of Ethnic Survival in America: An Ethnography of a Jewish Afternoon School. His edited books include Intergroup Dialogue: Deliberative Democracy in School, College, Community and Workplace; Multicultural Teaching in the University; Inside Separate Worlds: Life Stories of Blacks, Jews and Latinos; and Engaging the Whole of Service-Learning, Diversity, and Learning Communities, and Students Talk About College.
Notable articles and book chapters include: “Finding a Seat for Social Justice at the Table of Dialogue and Deliberation (Journal of Public Deliberation); “Sustaining Living Learning Programs.” in J. Levine Laufgraben and N. Shapiro’s Sustaining and Improving Learning Communities (Jossey-Bass), and “Transforming Undergraduate Education: Moving Beyond Distinct Undergraduate Initiatives” (Change Magazine).
Schoem serves on the Editorial Review Boards of Learning Communities Research and Practice, and the Michigan Journal of Service Learning. He was a Founding Advisory Board member of The Democracy Imperative and the National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation. He was Conference Chair of the “First National Conference on Intergroup Dialogue on the College Campus,” at the U of Michigan in 1997. He was a member of the Advisory Board of The Democracy Project of the Society for Values in Higher Education, 2004 – 2008, and an Expert Review Panelist for the U.S. Department of Education, Safe, Disciplined and Drug Free Schools.