Dr. Elise Dykhuis

Dr. Elise Murray Dykhuis

Assistant Professor and Character Scientist



Her research focuses broadly on individual pathways for character development among college students and her work integrates the concept of character virtues with developmental theory and metatheory. She spent much of her doctoral studies examining the aspects of person-centric, longitudinal models of intellectual humility among United States Military Academy cadets. She previously worked with Wake Forest University, where she was directing assessment and empirical research related to character interventions in college and professional school settings, and she has also consulted on various other character intervention projects in higher education. She has a particular interest in using complex statistical modeling to examine developmental pathways and further honed these skills as a junior fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development. She strongly believes that college students are uniquely situated for immense character growth given their social, emotional, intellectual, and identity development, integrated with the vast opportunities presented by post-secondary education. 

Ongoing Research Projects

Volitional Character Change in Adulthood

Character Measurement

Publications & Presentations

Murray, E.D.& Tirrell, J.M. (2020). Virtue and the specificity principle: An integrative approach to understanding character. In C. Darnell & K. Kristjansson (Eds.), Virtues and Virtue Education in Theory and Practice: Are Virtues Local or Universal?. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.

Swain, J. & Murray, E.D.(2020). Assessing leader humility. Journal of College and Character, 21(3), 204-211. https://doi.org/10.1080/2194587X.2020.1781657

Burkhard, B., Robinson, K., Murray, E. D., & Lerner, R. M. (2020). Positive youth development perspective. In S. Hupp & J. Jewell (Eds.), The Encyclopedia of Child and Adolescent Development. Cary, NC: Wiley.

Murray, E.D., ..., & Lerner, R.M. (2019)Training character: Character attributes and performance profiles among cadets at the United States Military Academy. Journal of Positive Psychology. https://doi.org/10.1080/17439760.2019.1689414

Murray, E.D., …, & Lerner, R.M. (2019) Toward a developmental approach to measuring the development of character: Perspectives from Project Arete. The Journal of Character and Leadership Development, 6(2), 22-33.

Murray, E.D., Berkowitz, M.W., & Lerner, R.M. (2019). Leading with and for character: The implications of current character education practices for military leadership. The Journal of Character and Leadership Development, 6(1), 33-42.

Callina, K. S., Burkhard, B., Shaeffer, H. S., Powers, J., Murray, E. D. …, & Lerner, R. M. (2018). Character in context: The structure of character among cadets at the United States Military Academy at West Point. Journal of Moral Education. (48)4, 439-464. https://doi.org/10.1080/03057240.2018.1528442

Murray, S., Murray, E. D., Stewart, G., Sinnott-Armstrong, W., & De Brigard, F. (2018). Responsibility for forgetting. Philosophical Studies, (176),1-25. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11098-018-1053-3

Lerner, R. M., Burkhard, B., Murray, E. D., & Robinson, K. (2018). Positive youth development. In M.H. Bornstein, M.E. Arterberry, K.L. Fingerman, & J.E. Lansford (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Lifespan Human Development. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE. 

Callina, K. S., Ryan, D., Murray, E. D., Colby, A., Damon, W., Matthews, M., & Lerner, R. M. (2017). Developing leaders of character at the United States military academy: A relational developmental systems analysis. Journal of College and Character, 18(1), 9-27.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/2194587X.2016.1260475

Lerner, R. M., & Murray, E. D. (2017). Finally! A developmental science that privileges development: Essay review of Catherine Raeff. Human Development, 59(6), 377-385. https://doi.org/10.1159/000455030

Callina, K. S., Snow, N., & Murray, E.D. (2017). The history of philosophical and psychological perspectives on hope: Toward defining hope for the science of positive human development. In M. Gallagher & S. Lopez (Eds.), The Handbook of Hope (pp. 9-25)New York, NY: Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199399314.013.2

Burkhard, B., Murray Dykhuis, E., & McClintock, E. (January 2021). Positive Youth Development as a Catalyst for Promoting Mental Wellness [Paper presentation]. NASPA Strategies. Virtual.

Mendonca, S.E., Murray, E.D.,& Lamb, K.M. (October 2020). Exemplifying Character: The Positive Effects of a Course-based Intervention on Purpose [Paper presentation]. Association for Moral Education. Virtual.

Murray, E.D., & Lerner, R.M. (November 2019). Understanding Lifelong Learning with a Life-span Approach: A Longitudinal Model of Intellectual Humility [Paper presentation]. Association for Moral Education. Seattle, WA.

Murray, E.D. (August 2019). Longitudinal relations between intellectual humility and peer connection [Paper presentation]. American Psychological Association Annual Conference. Chicago, IL.

Murray, E.D., & Tirrell, J.M. (January 2019). Virtue and the specificity principle: An integrative approach to understanding character [Paper presentation]. Jubilee Conference for Character and Virtues: Virtues: Local or Universal? Oxford, UK.

Callina, K. S. & Murray, E. D. (October 2018). Character in context: Character structure among united states military academy cadets [Poster presentation]. Society for Research in Child Development Special Topics Meeting in Promoting Character, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.