Cynthia Board Schmeiser, 72BA, 73MA, 83PhD, is a nationally respected expert whose pioneering work in the field of college and career readiness has redefined educational standards.
After earning a bachelor's degree in psychology and elementary education and a master's and doctoral degree in educational psychology, measurement, and statistics at the University of Iowa, Schmeiser went on to become one of the world's most renowned psychometricians.
In 1973, she launched her distinguished, 37-year career at ACT by joining its Test Development Department. Throughout the next three decades, she held various positions in the company—including assistant vice president for research and development, vice president of development, and senior vice president of research and development—before becoming president and COO of ACT's education division.
In this role, Schmeiser helped transform ACT from a nationally respected assessment company to a globally influential leader in educational research and measurement. With her expert guidance, the company became a key player in shaping educational policy—including defining pathways towards successful transitions to college and career for students of all ages, and improving the measurement field's understanding of the relationships among assessment, curriculum, and instruction.
An admired author and research scientist, Schmeiser was instrumental in honing ACT's input to the Common Core State Standards—an educational initiative that brought diverse state curricula into alignment and has played a central role in planning the future of K-12 education in this country.
In addition, her numerous publications and presentations have significantly enhanced social understandings of test design, development, and interpretation, and her work also has addressed crucial issues related to educational policy and ethics. She played a pivotal role in producing the fourth edition of Educational Measurement—a comprehensive reference work—and her chapter on test development placed her among the top experts in this area.
Though Schmeiser retired from ACT in 2011, she continues to serve as an educational consultant and remains passionate about investing in people and policy. She has devoted countless hours to helping others fulfill their personal and professional goals, and her notable community roles include positions as chair of the board of directors for Mercy Hospital in Iowa City, president of the board of directors for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Eastern Iowa, chair of the marketing committee for the Iowa Women's Foundation, strategic planning consultant for the Iowa City Community School District's (ICCSD) Healthy Kids Community Care Clinic, co-chair of leadership gifts for the ICCSD Foundation's Every Classroom Technology Campaign, and past chair of the board of directors for the United Way of Johnson County.
The tireless volunteer is a generous UI friend, as well. Not only is Schmeiser a member of the UI Foundation's Presidents Club, but she also has served on the search committee for the College of Education dean, has worked on planning and implementing several joint educational conferences, and was indispensable in securing ACT's $1 million donation to the UI.
To the colleagues and friends who know her, it comes as no surprise that the Corridor Business Journal selected Cynthia B. Schmeiser as one of its 2011 "Women of Influence"—in honor of a true educator who has used her scientific acumen to chart a new course in the field of human development.
Schmeiser is a member of the UI Alumni Association's Old Capitol Club and the UI Foundation's Presidents Club.