Donald Eisen.png

Donald Eisen

Vantage Point East





    Don completed a B.A. in English in 1959 at Western Reserve University in his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. He went on to receive an M.A. in English Literature from WRU in 1964. Between 1964 and 1966 Don completed all course requirements toward a PH.D. in English Literature, with a specialty in 18th Century Studies. Shifting his studies from English to theater, Don enrolled in graduate studies in theater at the University of Pittsburgh in 1975, and in 1982 he was awarded his PH.D. in theater, with emphases in history, dramatic literature and criticism. His doctoral dissertation, The Art of Anton Chekhov: Principles of Technique in His Drama and Fiction, earned the distinction of being named “Best Theater Dissertation of 1982” by the American Theater Association, a national award. 

    From 1959 to 1964 Don taught English at the high school level, specializing in honors and advanced placement classes. Between 1964 and 1966 he served as an instructor in the Humanities Department of Case Institute of Technology. He left that position to become an Assistant Professor and then an Associate Professor in the English Department of Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where he taught surveys of English literature, poetry, drama, satire and the novel, specializing in 18th Century British literature. 

    In 1977, Don was transferred from the IUP English Department to the College of Fine Arts, where he became the founding chair of a new Department of Theater and was promoted to the rank of full professor. Over the course of his career Don has taught a wide range of courses in English and American literature, as well as courses in theater history, dramatic literature, criticism, script analysis, acting and directing. He has also directed more than thirty productions and acted in a number of venues. 

    In service to Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Don worked for many years as a representative to the University Senate, specializing in curriculum development; served on key committees for the university administration; and for one year was interim Dean of the College of Fine Arts. In service to his profession, Don worked for many years as an adjudicator for the American College Theater Association, evaluating productions in competing colleges and universities in Pennsylvania, New York and D.C. He also served a long tenure with the Theater Panel of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, evaluating theatrical companies competing for grants across the state.

    Don and his wife Barbara moved to Leisure World in 2002 and most enjoy seeing theater and going to movies, just as they have done together all their lives. He is one of the founding members of CLL and has taught many CLL courses on theater and dramatic literature, six of which specialized in Shakespeare, Chekhov and the relationships between theater and cinema.