By Shelbi Anderson
This fall, the Communications Department has added a familiar face to its ranks in the public relations emphasis, boosting an already excellent program and faculty.Previously the public relations and marketing director of the BYU Museum of Art, Chris Wilson has had a wide and varied career.
From his position as communications manager and webmaster at West Valley City to teaching at the University of Florida, Wilson never would have guessed fifteen years ago that he would be teaching at BYU, his alma mater.
“When I was an undergraduate, I was so anxious to graduate,” he remembers. “I wanted to get off campus, get on with my life and start a job. I had the mentality that I would never come back to school. But you never know what opportunities will come up down the road. One thing my career has taught me is that you can plan as much as you want, but what you plan might not be what actually happens.”
This summer, Wilson received his PhD from the University of Florida. One of the most rewarding parts of the program was the opportunity he had to teach communications classes while he was still going to school.
“One of the most rewarding things is to see students progressing in their skills and in seeing them fall in love with public relations as much as I have,” he said.
These days, Wilson teaches the beginning PR students hoping to apply for the program and the higher level public relations production and writing class.
His varied experience in the public and private sector has made him a well-rounded professional, which is valuable in the classroom.
One of his students, Camie Wray, would agree.
“I think Professor Wilson is a great teacher,” Wray commented. “His classroom is a safe place to learn and make mistakes. I love that he is always so good at giving us feedback and in helping us be the best we can be.”
Although Wilson never could have predicted the trajectory of his career, it ended up working out far better than he had planned.
“I have been really lucky in my career. Looking back, none of it was by design. I didn’t plan this out,” he said. “On one hand, some of the things I wanted to do, I never got to do. But, on the other hand, I got to do some other really interesting things that resulted in where I am now that just kind of fell into place along the way.”
Wilson encourages students to go with the flow and to be unafraid of what future careers paths may hold.
“My advice is never say never,” he emphasized. “Be ready to take advantage of opportunities as they present themselves to you. Put yourself in a position where you can take advantage of those opportunities and be able to change and adapt to new things. The more you can develop that mentality, the more valuable you will be in the workplace”