Eastern Michigan University

Elizabeth Schuster

Professor

104 Roosevelt

734.487.1361

eschuster@emich.edu

Education

Ph.D. University of Michigan
Specialist in Aging Certificate, University of Michigan
MA University of Michigan
Area of Concentration: Aging

Professional Summary

Elizabeth Oates Schuster, Ph.D., is a Professor in the School of Social Work. In 2010 she became the BSW Program director. In addition, Dr. Schuster served as the School of Social Work Honors Program advisor for two years and was the director of the Gerontology Program at EMU from 1986-2005 and 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, 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 NASW-Michigan Chapter Public Citizen of the Year award in honor of her years of dedicated service to the older adult population in 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, and developing curriculum on the life course. Areas of scholarly activity includes: 1) life course theory and the life review process, and, 2) writing for social work practice. For example, Dr. Schuster conducted a qualitative study in Detroit, Michigan titled, Exploring the Lives and Times of African-American Elders Living in an Urban Long Term Care Facility. Over the past two years, she directed a study on best practice and quality of life in long term care facilities. Dr. Schuster is currently working on a new research project with a colleague in Occupational Therapy titled, Transitions from Hospital/Sub-Acute to Home: An Exploratory Study of Older Adults Utilizing Occupational Therapy Services.

Dr. Schuster is a member of a number of professional organizations including the Michigan Association of Baccalaureate Social Work Educators, the NASW-Michigan Chapter, the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education and the Gerontological Society of America. She has also had membership on numerous local, state, and national advisory boards and committees throughout her career.

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.

Practice Experience

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:

  • Coordinator, Older Adult Programs for Washtenaw County, The Salvation Army, Ann Arbor, Michigan.
  • Program Developer, Senior Services Office, City of Wayne, Department of Parks and Recreation, Wayne, Michigan.
  • Designer and Manager, The Washtenaw County Elderly Needs Assessment Survey, The LeVine Institute on Aging, The Jewish Home for the Aged, Detroit, Michigan.
  • Designer and Facilitator of Educational Gerontology Workshops on Facts and Fiction About Memory, As Parents Grow Older, New Beginnings (a bereavement support group), Health and Aging, for the UAW-Ford, Area Agencies on Aging, and other organizations.
  • Research Assistant, Needs of the Elderly Study, School of Public Health, The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Honors, Recognition, Special Awards

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.

Academic Appointments

2009 to present, Gerontology Program, Director

2008 to present, 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

Representative Courses Taught

Selected Presentations and/or Publications

Schuster, E. (Unpublished). Exploring the lives and times of African-American elders living in an urban long term care facility. 

Schuster, E.; Francis-Connolly, E.; Alford-Trewn, P; & Brooks, J. (2003). The conceptualization and development of the course aging to infancy: A life course retrospective.Educational Gerontology, 29, 235-249.

Schuster, Elizabeth Oates (2001).  Compelled to honor privacy: Reflections from researching in a nursing home. In A. L. Cole and J. G. Knowles (Eds.), Lives in Context.  Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press.

Schuster, Elizabeth Oates (2001). The contemplative context of time.  In S. McFadden and R. Atchley (Eds.), Aging and the Meaning of Time. New York: Springer Publishing Company.

Schuster, Elizabeth Oates (1999).Applying critical literacy theory to the experience of a nursing home writing group.  In A. Horning and R. Sudol (Eds.), The Literacy Connection. Cresskill, NJ:  Hampton Press.

Schuster, Elizabeth Oates (1998). A Community bound by words:  Reflections on a nursing home writing group.  In a special invited section titled, Critical Perspectives on the Life Story, Ruth Ray (Ed.).  Journal of Aging Studies, 12, 34-45.

Schuster, Elizabeth Oates (1997).  Sensitization to the issues of aging (Chapter 2).  In the module Establishing a Frame of Reference for Home Health Care Practice.  In Preparing for Competency in Home Health Care Practice: A Self-Paced Study for Home Health Care Practitioners.  Bethesda, MD: The American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc.

Schuster, Elizabeth Oates (Summer, 1997).  Putting the focus on being rather than doing.  In The View From Academe, Aging in Michigan. Lansing, MI:  The Michigan Office of Services to the Aging.

Schuster, Elizabeth Oates (1996).  Ethical considerations when conducting ethnographic research in a nursing home setting.  Journal of Aging Studies, 10, 140-153.

Additional Information

The School of Social Work is part of the College of Health & Human Services, 303 Everett L. Marshall Building, 734.487.0077