After an illustrious career that spanned more than 30 years in the University of Iowa College of Education, Susan Assouline (BA ‘75, EDS ‘84, PhD ‘88), a distinguished faculty member and school psychology professor, is retiring.
“I’ve been truly blessed to work with wonderful colleagues and donors and to have been involved, even if indirectly, in helping to make the lives of many children better,” says Assouline.
A three-time alumna with the college, Assouline was initially drawn to a career in higher education because she liked the idea of impacting individuals who would go on to work directly with the K-12 student population.
“Professor Assouline has touched the lives of countless students, staff, faculty, and community members,” says Professor Saba Rasheed Ali, associate dean for research and former interim DEO for psychological and quantitative foundations. “She has been an instrumental presence in the psychological and quantitative foundations and school psychology programs. I have always been struck by Susan’s ability to help create opportunities for others through her work. It is with profound gratitude and the deepest respect that I offer, on behalf of the department, sincere congratulations on an amazing career.”
Assouline started working for the college in 1990. She then spent more than 20 years guiding future educators and clinicians in the school psychology program. She then became director of the internationally renowned Belin-Blank Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development in December of 2012. At this time in her career, Assouline was also appointed the Myron and Jacqueline N. Blank Endowed Chair in Gifted Education, becoming the first woman in the college to hold this prestigious designation.
“For the past 33 years, Professor Assouline has extensively contributed to gifted and talented research and professional development through her various roles, particularly as the director of the Belin-Blank Center,” says Megan Foley Nicpon, the center’s current director and Myron and Jacqueline N. Blank Endowed Chair in Gifted Education. “During her tenure, Professor Assouline has secured an estimated $36 million in grant funding and private gifts.
“She has co-authored countless books, reports, book chapters, and refereed articles in multiple domains including acceleration, mathematical talent, and twice-exceptionality, and her presentations have had a broad and deep impact on scholars and educators throughout the world. She is clearly a leader with an international presence in the gifted education field.”
When asked to identify the most memorable or impactful moment during her time with the university, it became evident that there were simply too many to list after such a lengthy, impactful, and esteemed career.
“I’ve had the privilege of working with some of the greatest scholars in education and psychology,” says Assouline. “This career has been the honor of a lifetime. I am grateful for the opportunities to have collaborated with so many amazing people, and to have served educators, students, and families through advocacy, research, teaching, and service.”
Assouline says she will miss the positive energy from the students, faculty, and staff, which is “palpable thanks to the leadership of Dean Dan Clay and his administrative team.” She will also miss the collaborations and daily interactions with colleagues at the Belin-Blank Center.
“Fundamentally, the Belin-Blank Center is a place where the creativity of the staff and faculty remains unbridled. I’ve loved being a part of that, perhaps also helping to foster a sense of entrepreneurship … I will miss that energy.”
In retirement, Assouline hopes to continue collaborating with colleagues in the areas of academic acceleration and twice-exceptionality. She also plans to spend more time in Colorado with her children and grandchildren, and continue her travels to Israel, one of her favorite places, both on a personal level but also on a professional basis because of the Israel Arts and Science Academy, which was developed through the Wallace Research Symposium, a preeminent research conference on gifted education and talent development co-hosted by the Belin-Blank Center.