Ph.D. University of Michigan
Specialist in Aging Certificate, University of Michigan
MA University of Michigan
Area of Concentration: Aging
Elizabeth Oates Schuster, Ph.D., Professor, served as the director of the Bachelor’s in Social Work program for three years (2010-2013) and in 2013 was awarded a year long sabbatical to study the role transcendence plays in the adaptive process of individuals 90 years and older. She was the director of the Gerontology Program at EMU from 1986-2005 and from 2009-2012. In 2005 she founded the EMU ElderQuest program and served as the director from 2005-2009. Dr. Schuster teaches courses in the BSW, MSW, and Gerontology programs in the following areas: the psychosocial aspects of aging, field, research, writing for agency practice, life development, and practicum courses. Since her arrival at EMU in 1986, Dr. Schuster’s responsibilities have included teaching and advising at the graduate and undergraduate level, program and curriculum development, research, and community-university program development. Dr. Schuster is the co-founder of two award winning community-based programs: The Traveling Young at Art Program (intergenerational), and Elderwise: A Lifelong Learning Institute. In 2012, Dr. Schuster received the prestigious NASW-Michigan Chapter Public Citizen of the Year award in honor of her years of dedicated service to the older adult population residing in southeastern Michigan.
During her career, Dr. Schuster has been involved in coordination of social service programs for elders and their families, senior center program development, facilitation of educational community based workshops on various topics such as health and aging and memory, development of an adult day care center, and conducting needs assessment survey research.
Research interests and areas of publication have included ethical considerations when conducting ethnographic research in nursing home settings, sensitization to aging issues, critical pedagogy, the transformative function of writing in a nursing home, conscious aging, life course theory and the life review process, and writing for social work practice. Dr. Schuster conducted a qualitative study titled, Exploring the Lives and Times of African-American Elders Living in an Urban Long Term Care Facility which focused on the residents of a long term care facility in Detroit, Michigan. More recently, she directed a study on best practice and quality of life in long-term care facilities and is currently working on a research project with a colleague in Occupational Therapy focused on older adult transitions from hospital to home, with an emphasis on the caregiver’s experience.
Dr. Schuster is a member of a number of professional organizations including the NASW-Michigan Chapter, the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education and the Gerontological Society of America. She has also served on numerous local, state, and national advisory boards and committees.Grant Awards
$60,000-$85,000. 2001-present (annual award). Project Administrator, The Michigan Department of Community Health, The Alzheimer's Education and Research Grant.
$40,000. July, 2004-June, 2005. Project Co-Director, sponsored by United Methodist Retirement Communities, The Boulevard Temple-Eastern Michigan University Interdisciplinary Community-Based project.
$30,000. July, 2003-June, 2004. Project Co-Director, sponsored by United Methodist Retirement Communities, The Boulevard Temple-Eastern Michigan University Interdisciplinary Community-Based project.
During her career, Dr. Schuster has been involved in the following practice experiences: senior center program development; facilitation of educational community based workshops on various topics such as health, aging and memory; development of an adult day care center; conducting needs assessment survey research; coordination of social service programs for elders and their families; and developing and implementing two award winning intergenerational and community-based programs: The Traveling Young at Art Program and ElderQuest. Specific practice experiences include:
2013-2014 Sabbatical Leave Award (8 months). Title: The Life Experience of the Very Old and the Role of Transcendence in the Adaptive Process
2012 NASW-Michigan Public Citizen of the Year Award.
2009 Eastern Michigan University College of Health and Human Services Everett L. Marshall Fellow Award for Excellence in Teaching
2007 Eastern Michigan UniversityCollege of Health and Human Services sponsored
Scholarly Activity Award
2007 Eastern Michigan University Writing Across the Curriculum Fellow
2004 Eastern Michigan University Faculty Research Fellowship Award
2001 Eastern Michigan University Office of Academic Service Learning Fellow
1997 Eastern Michigan University Sabbatical Leave Award
1997 Older Learner Award for Credit/Non-Credit Programs, The Michigan Office of Services to the Aging and The Michigan Association of Senior Centers, on behalf of Elderwise, an Institute for Learning in Retirement
1993 The Eastern Michigan University Faculty Research Fellowship Award
1993 The Geri Award, Presented by the Senior Coordinating Aging Networks in Macomb and Oakland Counties, Michigan.
2010-2013 BSW Program Director, School of Social Work, Eastern Michigan University
2009-2012, Gerontology Program, Director
2008-2011, School of Social Work Honors Advisor
2005-2008 Co-Founder and Director, ElderQuest Program
1991-2006 Founder and Faculty Liaison, Elderwise, an Institute for Lifelong Learning
1991-2001 Founder, Traveling Young at Art Program, an intergenerational art program in Ypsilanti and Willow Run Schools
1987-1990 Co-Project Manager, Geriatric Education Center of Michigan (GECM), Eastern Michigan University and Michigan State University
1986-2005 Director, Gerontology Program, School of Social Work
2013 Zakrajsek, A. G., Schuster, E., Guenther, D., & Lorenz, K. Exploring older adult care transitions from hospital to home: A participatory action research project. Physical and Occupational Therapy in Geriatrics, 1-17, doi: 10.3109/02703181.2013.825362.
2013 Transitioning home post-hospital: Collaborative project to support older adult transitions. Zakrajsek, A.G., Schuster, E., Grosh, J., and Senawi, L.Poster presentedfor presentation at the American Society on Aging’s 2013 Aging in America Conference, Chicago, Illinois.
2013 Researchers, students, service providers in partnership: Implementation of a community-based participatory research project to explore older adult transitions. Zakrajsek, A.G. and Schuster, E. Paper presented to the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education’s 39th Annual Meeting and Educational Leadership Conference, St. Petersburg, Florida.
2012 Coming home: A research project exploring and supporting older adult transitions from hospital to home. A. Zakrajcek and E. Schuster. Paper presented at the 65th Gerontological Society of America Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA.
2012 Coming home: Exploring and supporting transitions of older adults from hospital to home. Guenther, D., Lorenz, K., Natschke, A., Zukausky, A., Zakrajsek, A. & Schuster, E. Poster presented at the meeting of the American Occupational Therapy Association Annual Conference & Expo, Indianapolis, Indiana.
2012 Coming home: Transitions of older adults from hospital to home. Guenther, D., Lorenz, K, Zukausky, A., Zakrajsek, A., & Schuster, E. Poster presented at the meeting of the Eastern Michigan University Graduate Research Fair, Ypsilanti, Michigan.
2009 Resident and staff perspectives on quality of life in independent and assisted living settings. Schuster, E. Paper presented at the 62nd Annual Meeting of the Gerontological Society of America, Atlanta, Georgia.
2005 Life review research guided by life course concepts with African-American elders in an urban long-term care facility. Schuster, E. Paper presented at the 58th Annual Meeting of the Gerontological Society of America, Orlando, FL.
2005 Lessons learned from teaching in interdisciplinary course on aging, Fox, D., Brooks, J., Francis-Connolly, B., & Schuster, E. Presented at the 58th Annual Meeting of the Gerontological Society of America, Orlando, FL.
2005 A two-phased interdisciplinary cultural immersion project in Detroit, Michigan. Schuster, E. Presented at the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education Annual Meeting, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
2004 Cultural diversity and long-term care: lessons from a university interdisciplinary community-based project. Schuster, E. Part of a presentation on Aging and Global Diversity: Implications for Health and Practice, presented at the 57th Annual Gerontological Society of America meeting, Washington DC.