Cheryl Schrader | Photo provided by Wright State University
Cheryl Schrader served as president of Wright State University (WSU) from July 1, 2017 until Jan 1, 2020. Nearly a year has passed since President Sue Edwards took over this role, and many are wondering how post-presidency life is suiting Schrader.
When Schrader first came to WSU, the university was on the verge of going into a fiscal watch. By the time she left office, the financial status of the university had done a complete turnaround.
“There is a measure that the state uses to evaluate the health of the university. It’s a five-point scale and anything low at 1.75 is sort of a red light,” said Schrader. “I came in when the university hit a 0.8, which I believe was lowest that a university had hit in the state. And as of last fall, we were above a 3.0.”
In addition to helping turn around WSU’s financial struggles, Schrader was also president of the university during the infamous faculty strike in 2019.
“It [ending the strike] was a challenge,” Schrader said, “and actually quite successful in the end, being able to help the Board of Trustees understand the faculty perspective.”
Schrader felt as though she had accomplished all that she had set out to do in her presidency and announced her retirement in Oct. 2019, with the goal of returning to the classroom utilizing her electrical engineering background.
Nearly a year later, Schrader has integrated back into the classroom setting and is additionally involved in research.
“Well, I’m always reading, but now I’m going back to more research articles. This morning I was reading about using feedback control to understand and model processes and solutions to address COVID-19,” said Schrader. “So, it was kind of a really refreshing viewpoint, being able to use some of that technical expertise to kind of help shape how we handle the virus.”
Schrader also discussed her interest in STEM education research and how large of an impact it can make on a larger scale. In particular, she highlighted her work with the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), an organization working to bring more females into the STEM field as faculty.
“It’s [ASEE] really focused on bringing more women faculty into engineering, and so we’re dealing with around 530 universities with accredited engineering programs and working with their Dean’s,” said Schrader. “You’ll be happy to know that our dean at Wright State signed on a pledge to be a part of that.”
Schrader has also been cherishing her family since stepping down as president, taking advantage of having family aside from her husband living near her for the first time in several years.
“We [Schrader and her husband] have had the opportunity to enjoy my teenage daughter, and we have an adult son who moved to Dayton this year with his wife and our first grandchild,” said Schrader. “My husband and I have never lived by family, so this is just so exciting for us”.
When asked what message she has for WSU students, Schrader expressed how she admires their resilience and how she is proud to work with the students of WSU.