Press Release: Media School names producer Michael Uslan professor of practice

The Media School Report • Oct. 15, 2014
Michael Uslan The Media School
Michael Uslan has joined The Media School faculty as a professor of practice, beginning in spring. (Courtesy photo)

Note: IU Newsroom’s George Vlahakis sent this press release Oct. 15, 2014.

Contact:George Vlahakis
IU Newsroom
Anne Kibbler
The Media School


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Michael Uslan, an Indiana University alumnus who has become one of Hollywood’s most accomplished movie producers, will join the IU Media School as a professor of practice beginning this fall, while continuing his full range of producing and writing projects in motion pictures, television and new media.

Uslan will bring more than three decades of experience in the motion picture industry and teach seminars in television and film production.

“The motion picture and television and internet industries are experiencing revolutionary changes. New media and the emergence of China represent important parts of their global future, and that future is today. Students must be prepared for what’s happening not just now, but around the next three corners,” Uslan said. “Indiana University’s new Media School is planting the flag between New York and Hollywood as the premier place for students to receive a relevant academic and experiential education to prepare them not just for jobs when they graduate, but for careers.”

“Michael Uslan is a dynamic teacher and mentor, with sophisticated knowledge of the art and business of media, and he loves working with students,” added Larry Singell, executive dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “He exemplifies the important role that professors of practice play in our students’ educations.

“The Media School is very fortunate to have a group of outstanding professors of practice on its faculty right from the start, including Michael Sellers in game design; Tom French, Kelley Benham French and Elaine Monaghan in journalism; Robby Benson and, now, Michael Uslan in film. We are delighted to welcome him to the school.”

Uslan is best known as an architect behind the superhero renaissance on the silver screen. He served as executive producer of 1989’s “Batman,” as well as the film franchise’s more recent film and animated sequels, including the critically acclaimed “The Dark Knight,” which won two Academy Awards.

He also was an associate producer on Disney’s successful film, “National Treasure,” and received an Emmy Award for his work as an executive producer of the children’s educational show, “Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego?”

While teaching at IU, Uslan will continue to be deeply involved in all his upcoming industry projects, including his writing of books, graphic novels and comics.

“Michael Uslan has supported his alma mater in so many ways, and we’re thrilled that he now will share his expertise with the Media School,” said Lesa Hatley Major, associate dean of the Media School. “His students not only will benefit from his range of talents in media production, but they surely will be influenced by the tenacity he showed in pursuing his own goals as an IU student and as a fledgling producer with big dreams.”

He is also an authority on comic book history and developed the first accredited college course on the subject at IU in 1971. He also is the author of the first textbook on comics and 25 other books on the history of comics and other topics.

A native of New Jersey, Uslan received his doctor of jurisprudence degree from the IU Maurer School of Law in 1976. He earned a master of science degree in urban education from the IU School of Education in 1975 and a bachelor’s degree in history from IU in 1973.

For Uslan, today’s announcement of his appointment continues a progression of close involvement with the university. He has frequently returned to the IU Bloomington campus as a guest lecturer and to teach seminars in film production.

“Michael Uslan brings a lifetime of experience as a successful producer and executive producer of films that so many of us have seen,” said Walter Gantz, professor and chair of telecommunications in the Media School. “He will bring to IU that experience, his passion and his connections, which will serve our students and campus well.

“He has a deep love and a deep understanding of this university. He could do this anywhere, but he’s doing it at IU.”

In 2001, Uslan donated approximately 30,000 comic books from his prized collection to the Lilly Library, IU’s library for rare books and manuscripts. He was inducted into the Maurer School’s Academy of Alumni Fellows in 2006 and received IU’s Distinguished Hoosier Award.

Uslan gave IU’s 2006 commencement address, an experience he said helped him realize he wanted to share his story with others, resulting in his memoir, “The Boy Who Loved Batman: The True Story of How a Comics-Obsessed Kid Conquered Hollywood to Bring the Dark Knight to the Silver Screen.” That same year, he taught a three-day seminar for undergraduates, “The Business of Producing Motion Pictures.” His speech has been named “one of the top 10 commencement addresses of all time” by USA TODAY and others.

In 2011, Uslan was part of a symposium and film series on the evolution of comics in film, organized by IU Cinema and the Department of Communication and Culture, which is part of the Media School. 

Next Wednesday, Oct. 22, Indiana University Union Board is sponsoring the event, “A Conversation with IU Alumnus Michael Uslan,” which will begin at 7 p.m. in Whittenberger Auditorium of the Indiana Memorial Union, 900 E. Seventh St. Admission is free but tickets are required and can be picked up at Union Board offices in the IMU.