Associate Professor of Psychology
I was raised in a small town in northeast Ohio. I attended an excellent private school from 1st through 8th grade and then public school. The decision to attend college was based solely on the fact that any career I could see myself doing required college. I was always a good student, but was very bored in high school. While I was interested in psychology and truly enjoyed the research aspects of it, it wasnít until I took cognitive psychology as a junior that I found the area I truly enjoyed above all. As an Honors student, I had been involved in research since my freshman year. My mentor was the one who encouraged me to consider graduate school. While I loved research, after 4 years, I really just wanted to get out of college. It took less than 3 months of working a ďregular jobĒ to convince me to apply to graduate school. While he wonít take the credit, I will always share that decision with my mentor. This is one of the reasons I value my mentors and take the role of mentor seriously.
While it may sound like I went straight through undergraduate, I did not. I went for two years, then left for two before coming back and graduating with honors. During those two years, I lived in Chicago as well as near San Francisco. Growing up in a small town had kept me sheltered from much of the world and those years helped me learn a great deal about myself. When I came back to the university I was truly prepared to learn but I also came back with added responsibilities! I had a new son and had another during my senior year. My children are amazing and inspire me every day!
I loved my first two years of graduate school as a research assistant. My advisor was an excellent teacher and a lot of fun to be around. I worked in his language development lab for more than two years. Initially, I had no interest in teaching, but understood it was part of my training. I quickly learned that teaching is simply talking about research! So again, Iím back to what I love. I chose to come to the University of Southern Indiana as it was a mid-sized school that could offer a lot of benefits to its students.
My research has covered many areas, but I always come back to the roots of cognitive psychology. Right now, Iím focused on a creativity study and working to add a memory component to that research. I have been a full time faculty member at USI since 1998 Ė I canít imagine having a better group of colleagues.
So Ė to those students who may think Iím done figuring out what I want to do, I offer this: prepare for what interests you. Be flexible that you might be able to shift careers if you so choose (or need to!) My short term goals involve more travel. For now, Iím happy where I am. I have a career I enjoy, a supportive husband, and wonderful children. Iím only in the first part of my career, so I feel there is so much more to accomplish. I would like to continue to serve the university and the area as well as continue to develop my research agenda.
Associate Professor of Theatre and Director of Theatre
Elliot Wasserman was born in Miami Beach and educated at the Universities of Florida, Georgia and at Emory University in Atlanta. In 1983, he was offered two jobs, one in advertising and the other teaching college English and Theatre. He took the latter and has been a college instructor ever since.
He began directing professionally in 1982 at the Sunshine Dinner Theatre in Champaign, Illinois, and has continued directing professionally over the succeeding two dozen years during which time he has been privileged to work with a number of Broadway and television actors, including Kay McClelland, Tony-Award winner Donna McKechnie, and David Birney. His professional and university directing credits span a wide range of material from Greek tragedy, to Shakespeare, to the American Musical and numerous contemporary and modern plays.
Since 1991, Wasserman has taught at the University of Southern Indiana, where he has directed the theatre program since 2002 and where he first became involved in the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival as an associate respondent to play productions in the five state region which included Indiana, eventually becoming chair of the regionís New Play Program. He subsequently served as Festival Host in 2002 and 2003 before becoming the Indiana State Chair, the position he currently holds. In April 2005, Wasserman was named a Directing Fellow to the Festival in Washington. In January of 2006, he was awarded the Kennedy Center Gold Medallion Award for Excellence in Theatre Education.
He is a full member of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers and is the author of an adaptation of Lysistrata, as well as several short plays, one of which, Outlaws, has been produced by universities in the United States, Canada, and Australia, in addition to receiving professional productions in different forms in both Los Angeles and New York City. He is also an occasional actor, but seeks such stage-time primarily to maintain his skills as an acting instructor.
As an educator, Wasserman is most interested in providing his students and university audiences with exposure to challenging and diverse works. His most recent directing project, Lorraine Hansberryís A Raisin in the Sun, exemplifies that artistic mission. Moreover, Wasserman is dedicated along with his colleagues to insuring that USI Theatre graduates are prepared to begin the vigorous pursuit of a professional career in the field, and it is to this end that most of his energies are directed. He is currently collaborating with directing colleague Lenny Leibowitz on plans to produce the October 2007 premiere of the USI and New Harmony Theatreís Fall Repertory Project, which will combine both University and professional actors in important plays, both classic and modern.
Wasserman is also looking forward to leading the new Department of Performing Arts, the latest sign of growth in USIís College of Liberal Arts. Above all, he is very grateful that the opportunities he has had here at USI have provided a foundation for his ambitions as both artist and educator.