Michael Schneider is Provost and Dean and a Professor of History.
What do you find most rewarding about your job?
I spent a lot of time working on study abroad projects and specifically the Japan Term program that I created with colleagues. What I love about that is it’s an opportunity to work with students on the ground in Japan.
That ability to connect the classroom with on the ground learning in my area of specialization has been the most exciting and rewarding part of my job. And it relates in large measure then to the job I have as dean of the college working with faculty to create similar opportunities for students in all fields.
What’s a TV series, film, or book you’ve enjoyed recently?
“The Line Becomes a River” is the name of the book [I’m currently reading]. It’s by Francisco Cantú … and so he’s talking about his training to become a border agent — and the eventual inhumanity and alienation of the system he discovers.
What was your time in college like for you?
I was an accidental liberal arts college student. I went to a very large university and my main interests were very divergent. I was interested in both history and chemistry.
It’s precisely because I was pulled in these two directions that I understood two different disciplines on two different parts of campus. And so when I came to Knox and realized that Knox students kind of all do that, I thought this was the coolest thing ever.
Do you have a favorite place to go in Galesburg?
I really like going to Baked Pizza because I’ve travelled around the world and had lots of very good pizza, and Baked has very good pizza. Their crust is on a global scale legitimately good.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
In my free time I do a lot of cooking actually — I’m interested in global cuisine. I try to cook a lot of Japanese food, I like to try to cook kind of Southwestern food, Chinese food, European food. I just like to explore a lot.
Do you have a favorite thing about Knox is general?
I think this is a place where the students are really a great inspiration for us as faculty to think creatively about the entire educational process.
This interview has been edited for length.