Charles Schmitz retired as dean of the College of Education after leading the college for 14 years

Laying low and doing nothing are not in Charles Schmitz’s vocabulary. So when he decided to retire from his position as dean of the College of Education at the University of Missouri–St. Louis, spending long afternoons on his porch playing chess was not what he envisioned for the next phase of his life.

“I already have a full calendar,” he said. “We’ll be traveling, working on our marriage research and spending time with our grandchildren.”

Schmitz, known to most as “Charley,” has been married to his wife, Liz, for 44 years. Together the couple has successfully published three books on the secrets to a successful marriage. They are known around the United States as “America’s Love and Marriage Experts.” They have spent the last 25 years traveling around the world interviewing marriage couples about what makes their relationship work and what doesn’t.

Their first book, “Golden Anniversaries: The Seven Secrets of Successful Marriage,” published in February 2008, has received several awards, including the Nautilus Book Award, a Gold Medal Indie Book Award and a Gold Medal Mom’s Choice Award. Their second and third books, “Building a Love that Lasts” and “Simple Things Matter In Love and Marriage” have been equally successful.

Schmitz became dean of the College of Education in 1996. He came to UMSL from Baylor University in Waco, Texas, where he served as dean and professor. From 1970 through 1993 he held several teaching and administrative positions at the University of Missouri–Columbia.

After accepting the position at UMSL, he said he knew he had his work cut out for him. At the time, the college was in debt and had little if any technology available to the faculty or students. He still remembers where he was more than 14 years ago when he came up with the vision for the college.

“I was at a banquet and remember writing it down on a napkin, the 21st Century College of Education,” he said. “I came up with this vision of making a college of education for the future with technology and teaching as one. I knew I was on to something and sure enough that vision has become reality.”

On his watch, as the ‘technology dean,’ he successfully raised funding for and oversaw the construction of the college’s E. Desmond Lee Technology and Learning Center – the technological hub that opened in April 2000. And most recently he facilitated the opening of the Math Science Education Central, adjacent to the TLC, which opened earlier this year.

Additionally, Schmitz has helped the college to:

• Pay off a deficit in three years and created a surplus and reserve fund for 10 consecutive years

• Establish 12 endowed professorships

• Increase faculty size by more than a third

• Raise an unprecedented amount of external funding and private giving

• Build more than 200 community partnerships

• Implement new degree programs and restructure course offerings

“These past 14 years at UMSL have been among the best years of my life,” he said. “I love the people here and will miss them more than anyone could ever know.”

Kathleen Haywood, associate dean of graduate education, will serve as interim dean.

Haywood said Schmitz is leaving behind some hard shoes to fill.

“What Charley has been able to accomplish is amazing,” she said. “The college couldn’t have asked for a better leader, cheerleader, mentor or advisor. He was able to give 100 percent to every area and improve upon them.”

Haywood, an expert in physical education, joined UMSL in 1976. She’s served as director of graduate studies since 1993 and as associate dean since 1995.

A national search has begun for a new dean.

Haywood commented on the qualities needed in a new dean, which include an ability to raise funding, increase community partnerships and enhance curriculum and research opportunities.

“The faculty would like someone who continues to involve them in major decisions and advocates for them,” she added.

More information:

Jen Hatton

Jen Hatton