2007 Presidential Distinguished Professor Recipients

Dr. Eric Amsel

Dr. Amsel joined the WSU faculty in 1996, and from the start he has taken great pride in mentoring students and encouraging them to conduct undergraduate research. Beyond the classroom, Dr. Amsel's professional research has focused on cognitive development in subjects ranging from young children to practicing scientists - studying changes in thinking that occur over time. He and two colleagues served as the primary investigators on "The Intervention and Research Program for the Preservation of Tomorrow's Children," a study that examined connections between social skill development and math training in first- and second-graders. Dr. Amsel has received numerous awards and honors for his teaching and scholarship, including the Lowe Award for Innovative Teaching and the Endowed Professor in WSU's College of Social & Behavioral Sciences. In 2006 he was honored as a John S. Hinckley Fellow at WSU and was later named the Utah Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.*

Dr. Yasmen Simonian

Since joining the faculty in 1981, Dr. Simonian has received the Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award from the Dr. Ezekiel R. Dumke College of Health Professions on three different occasions and she was honored as the 2004 Crystal Crest Master Teacher. In 2005 she received WSU's John S. Hinckley award for excellence in teaching, service and scholarship and was named the Utah Professor of the Year. Above all else, Dr. Simonian is dedicated to her students. In explaining her teaching philosophy, she says its her job to increase students' creative thinking abilities, while norishing them emotionally, intellectually, psychologically and spiritually. Affectionately known as "Yas," Dr. Simonian takes great pride in her students' 100 percent job-placement rate and stays in touch with her former students, keeping tabs on their careers and celebrating their accomplishments. After 26 years in the classroom, she now teaches and advises a second generation of students, including some of her graduates' children.*

Dr. Michael Wutz

Dr. Wutz came to WSU in 1992. He has a strong scholarship record, having presented at more than 30 conferences, including a paper he delivered at the Second International Conference on Technology, Knowledge and Society in Hyderabad, India, in winter 2005. In addition to publishing a dozen or so essays in national and international peer-reviewed journals and chapters in books, Dr. Wutz co-edited the collection of original essays, "Reading Matters: Narrative in the New Media Ecology" (Cornell University Press, 1997), which was a finalist for the 1998 Barbara Perkins Prize from the Society of the Study of Narrative Literature. Currently an Eccles Honors Teaching Fellow, Dr. Wutz served as the College of Arts & Humanities Endowed Scholar (2002-2005). He is respected by his peers in the English department for serving as a mentor to his junior colleagues. He has received the Crystal Crest Master Teacher Award in 2002 and the Ralph M. Nye Honors Professor Award in 1996. Dr. Wutz also is the recipient of the 2007 John S. Hinckley Award from WSU.*

*WSU Today - April 2, 2007