Elliot Hirshman serves as president of San Diego State University, San Diego’s oldest and largest university. He joined SDSU in July 2011, and is only the eighth president in SDSU’s 116-year history. Building on a strong tradition, Dr. Hirshman leads a dynamic university community committed to addressing regional, national and global challenges and propelling California and our nation forward. With Dr. Hirshman at the helm, SDSU is advancing as a major public research university, emphasizing academic excellence, student success, community engagement, diversity, and internationalization.
Leadership Starts Here
Dr. Hirshman is actively committed to student success and ensuring that students from all backgrounds achieve academic excellence. At SDSU he leads an institution recognized for the largest increase in graduation rates in the U.S. and one that is among the nation’s leaders for graduating students of color. Dr. Hirshman also believes deeply in the power of our public research universities to transform lives. As president, he oversees a talented community of SDSU faculty and staff who are nationally recognized for their research accomplishments, their mentoring of the next generation of leaders and their commitment to addressing our society’s challenges. He is currently leading the university’s first comprehensive fundraising campaign, a campaign designed to transform the university by supporting student scholarships, research and innovation, and community engagement.
Dr. Hirshman’s career has been distinguished by his dedication to excellence in teaching, research and service. Prior to joining SDSU, he served as provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Dr. Hirshman was responsible for the delivery of the academic program, including instruction, research, and academic support services; enrollment management, including admissions and financial aid; and the intercollegiate athletics program. Dr. Hirshman oversaw the campus planning process, working with vice presidents and the Planning Leadership Team to coordinate planning and budgeting for the university.
Dr. Hirshman served as chief research officer at George Washington University, in Washington, D.C. Previously, he chaired the departments of psychology at George Washington University (2002-05) and the University of Colorado at Denver (2000-02).
He began his academic career at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1989-2000), where he served as assistant, associate, and ultimately full professor of psychology. While at Chapel Hill, Dr. Hirshman was nominated for the American Council on Education Fellows Program, in which he participated as a fellow in the provost’s office at Arizona State University. Subsequently, he served as special assistant to the provost at Chapel Hill. He chaired a number of major campus groups, including the University Task Force on Student Evaluation of Teaching at Chapel Hill and the Advisory Council on Research at George Washington.
Dr. Hirshman has a strong interdisciplinary background, having earned his undergraduate degree summa cum laude in economics and mathematics from Yale and his master's degree and Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from UCLA. His research and teaching focus on the psychopharmacology of human cognition, exploring cognitive and quantitative models of memory, attention and visual perception, and the influence of individual drugs on specific cognitive processes. His interdisciplinary work involves collaboration among psychologists, medical doctors, and statisticians. A fellow of the American Psychological Association, Dr. Hirshman has served as associate editor of the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory & Cognition (2000-2006) and Psychonomic Bulletin & Review (1998-2000).
Dr. Hirshman is married to Jeri Hirshman. The Hirshmans’ daughter, Wendy, was an honors student at Muhlenberg College in Pennsylvania and graduated in May. Their son, Nathan, is an honors student at the University of Virginia.
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