Schneider's Foundations

While at Lehigh University at the beginning of the 20th century, Herman Schneider (1872-1939), engineer, architect, and educator, concluded that the traditional learning space or classroom was insufficient for technical students (Smollins 1999). Schneider observed that several of the more successful Lehigh graduates had worked to earn money before graduation. Gathering data through interviews of employers and graduates, he devised the framework for cooperative education (1901). About that time, Carnegie Technical Schools, now Carnegie Mellon University, opened and thereby minimized the need for Schneider's co-op plan in the region around Lehigh University. However, in 1903 the University of Cincinnati appointed Schneider to their faculty. In 1905 the UC Board of Trustees allowed Schneider to "try this cooperative idea of education for one year only, for the failure of which they would not be held responsible". The cooperative education program was launched in 1906, and became an immediate success. The University of Cincinnati returned to the matter in its September 2005 board meeting, declaring the 100-year trial period of one hundred years of Cooperative Education officially ended, for the success of which the Board resumed full responsibility.

Schneider, beginning from the rank of Assistant Professor, would rise through the rank of Dean of Engineering (1906-1928) to become Interim President (1929-32) of the University of Cincinnati, based largely upon the strength of the co-op program. Throughout his career, he was an advocate for the co-op framework. His thirty years of service to the University of Cincinnati are partly credited for that institution's worldwide fame. In 2006 the University of Cincinnati unveiled a statue of dean Schneider outside the window of his office in Baldwin Hall.

In 1965, The Cooperative Education and Internship Association (CEIA) created "The Dean Herman Schneider Award" in honor of the contributions made by Dean Schneider in cooperative education. The award is given annually to an outstanding educator from faculty or administration. In 2006 The University of Cincinnati established the Cooperative Education Hall of Honor "to give a permanent place of honor to individuals and organizations that have made a significant qualitative difference in the advancement of Cooperative Education for the benefit of students".