Eric Amsel Honored with Dixon Award

Former Psychology Professor Recognized for Service to WSU

Eric Amsel’s lengthy resume reveals much about his innovative teaching, renowned scholarship, prolific research, numerous publications and prestigious awards. And yet, in a single line, written by the former student who nominated Amsel for the Dixon Award, we learn everything we need to know about Amsel’s selfless character: “No matter when you [reach out to] him, he is always to the rescue!” That is a powerful, honest assessment of a man who knows a lot about assessment.

Amsel currently oversees and reviews all academic programs at Weber State University. He works closely with the Center for Instructional & Institutional Effectiveness and other campus units to identify program strengths and weaknesses, and recommend changes. In simplified terms, Amsel is responsible for maintaining the quality and integrity of a Weber State education. His office must collect and provide evidence that every academic department, program and general education course at WSU is effective, and that students are learning. He also presides over the university’s regional accreditation.

Amsel skillfully negotiates the sometimes conflicting interests of WSU’s 534 full-time faculty, 487 part-time faculty, 1,518 staff members, 16 executives and 26,809 students. (Perhaps his remarkable focus and ability to put a positive spin on “friction” come from his many years of competitive curling.)

Amsel joined WSU’s psychology faculty in 1996. An outspoken champion of undergraduate research, Amsel collaborated with scores of students on research into human cognition and development.

His outstanding chairmanship of the psychology department and leadership of the faculty senate earned Amsel the respect of his Weber State colleagues. In 2005, he and other members of the Holocaust Commemoration Committee were honored with a WSU Collaboration Award. Amsel, a 2007 Brady Presidential Distinguished Professor, was named Utah’s 2006 Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. Following a nationwide search in 2016, Amsel and previous Dixon Award recipient Brenda Marsteller Kowalewski were selected as WSU associate provosts.

Amsel earned a master’s degree from Harvard University and a Ph.D. from Columbia University. Before coming to Weber State, he taught at Vassar College and the University of Saskatchewan.