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Past Chairs and Directors

ED CARTER (2015-2021)

Ed Carter served as director of the School of Communications from 2015-2021. During that time associate directors included Tom Robinson, Clark Callahan, Chris Wilson and Dale Cressman. School faculty and staff during those years accomplished much good, including some key objectives:

  • Launched multiple study abroad and off-campus experiential learning programs.
  • Created multiple online and hybrid classes through BYU Online.
  • Reconstituted the Communications Studies sequence.
  • Grew the size of the graduate program and the creative track within the advertising sequence.
  • Operated Y Digital as a digital and social media lab.
  • Prepared for ACEJMC reaccreditation, particularly with improvements in assessment and diversity efforts.
  • Rewrote the School Rank and Status Policy as well as the School Policy manual.
  • As a result of fundraising, implemented several new scholarships and endowments to provide support and awards to students. Also implemented use of new University and College funds for mentoring projects and activities.

Professor Carter earned a bachelor’s degree in communications (journalism emphasis) from BYU before working for the Deseret News and completing a master’s degree in journalism at Northwestern University. He then completed law school at BYU, passed the Utah bar exam and spent a year in Santa Barbara, California, clerking for U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit Judge Ruggero J. Aldisert. Professor Carter was hired as a full-time faculty member at BYU in 2004, was granted continuing status and promoted to associate professor in 2010 and was promoted to full professor in 2015. He served as Associate Dean in the College of Fine Arts and Communications from 2013-2015.

With support from BYU, Professor Carter’s research expanded into international arenas when he completed an LLM degree in Intellectual Property at the University of Edinburgh in 2009 and a Master of Studies degree in International Human Rights Law at the University of Oxford in 2016. He has published approximately 40 peer-reviewed journal articles and law journal articles on mass communication law topics. He completed Fulbright Specialist Grants in Chile (teaching, 2014) and Colombia (research, 2019). His teaching assignments focused on communications law and journalism classes. He serves on the editorial boards of Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly and Communication Law and Policy. He was national president of Kappa Tau Alpha, the national honor society in journalism and mass communications, from 2020-2022.

ED ADAMS (2003-2008, 2012-2015)

Ed Adams served as Department Chair in the Communications department, a position he also held from 2003-2008. Dr. Adams became the first Director of the School of Communications in February 2015. He was named Dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communications in May 2015. From 2008-2011 Adams served as associate dean for the College of Fine Arts and Communications. His responsibilities included faculty hiring, rank and status, faculty leaves and load, professional development, grants, research and creative activities, space and resource reallocation, and personnel issues. He shared the duties of alumni relations, graduate programs and resource planning with the other deans. He sat on many universities committees and on the student ratings task force and on the assessment and deeper learning task committee. After stepping down, Adams returned to his first passion: teaching, and remains a popular professor and presence among students.

Prior to his appointment as associate dean, Ed Adams served as chair of the BYU Department of Communications from 2003 to 2008, during which time he oversaw the department’s move to the Brimhall Building. During his tenure as chair, 13 of the 24 faculty in the Department of Communications were hired. He worked to re-integrate the Daily Universe back into the curriculum and to have the Daily News Show back on KBYU. In 2005 the AdLab was created and in 2008, the Rulon Bradley Agency was moved from being a student agency to a fully integrated public relations agency. Through the establishment of a new research center and support equipment, and good faculty hires, research productivity doubled during these years. Teaching ratings also improved. With the assistance of associate chair Brad Rawlins, assessment and learning outcomes were established in the department.

Before serving as chair, he served as associate chair in the department between 2000 and 2003. During his time as associate chair the department undertook an ambitious curriculum revision. The revision streamlined course offerings and helped to accommodate teaching reductions for administrative service or scholarly work. His eight years of administrative leadership in the department was the longest continuous service since Oliver Smith had served as a department administrator between 1951 and 1960.

Prior to his arrival at BYU he taught at universities in Texas and Ohio. His industry experience includes managing a magazine publishing company in Phoenix, Arizona.

Adams received a PhD in Mass Communications from Ohio University (1993), an MA in communications from BYU (1991), a BS in business administration from the University of Phoenix (1986) and an AAS from Ricks College (1982). He was named the most-outstanding journalism professor under the age of 40 by AEJMC (1998), and he was named to the first edition of Who’s Who in the Media and Communications (1999).

He has published more than 50 articles as peer-reviewed articles, reviews, book chapters, and biographical encyclopedia entries. He has also presented more than 50 papers at conferences. His scholarly work focuses primarily on the business and economic history of the media. His articles have appeared in Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, Journalism and Mass Communication Educator, Journalism History, American Journalism, and Journal of the West.

In May 2011 Adams spoke at a campus devotional at BYU.

In 2012 Adams and fellow professor Ed Carter found journals and books that explained the Supreme Court mystery of “the switch in time that saved nine”. The documents were by Merlo Pusey, a reporter from the 1940s whose main focus was the Supreme Court and its various Justices.

BRAD RAWLINS (2008-2012)

Brad Rawlins served as the Department Chair (2008-2012) and associate professor in the Communications Department.

Prior to arriving to BYU in 2000, Dr. Rawlins taught at James Madison University, in Harrisonburg, Virginia. He has two BA degrees from Washington State University, one in communications and one in foreign languages and literature (Spanish). He earned an MA in Advertising and Public Relations and a PhD in Mass Communications from the University of Alabama.

He teaches in the public relations emphasis and various general courses such as Intro to Mass Media and Society, Research Methods, and Ethics. He has published articles related to trust, transparency, authenticity, ethics, and stakeholder relations as they relate to the practice of public relations.

In 2003 he received the Pathfinder Award from the Institute of Public Relations for research that enhanced the practice of public relations.

In 2008 Rawlins was appointed as the Communications Department Chair. During August of that year, Rawlins presented his paper, The Double Edged Sword: Messages on Media from LDS Church Leaders 1900-1948 at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication annual convention. The paper was co-written by graduate student James Philips.

He is a member of the Measurement Commission of the Institute of Public Relations, is the co-editor of the Journal of Communication Management, and serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Public Relations Research, and the Public Relations Journal. He is actively involved in the Educators Academy of PRSA, the public relations division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, and the International Public Relations Research Conference. In 2012 Rawlins presented lectures at the International Public Relations Research Conference and the Public Relations Tactics conference.

In 2012 Rawlins left BYU to accept a position as the Dean of the College of Communications at Arkansas State University. Throughout his career Rawlins’ work has been published in professional and academic journals, he has presented at conferences, written a textbook, and has many other accomplishments to his name.

He is married to Patricia (Trish) Ann Martinez of Genesee Idaho, and they are the parents of five children.

MICHAEL K. PERKINS (2000-2003)

Michael Kennon Perkins was born April 2, 1958 in Jefferson City, Missouri, the son of Kenneth Dean and Kathryn Wilson Perkins. From the age of six he grew up in Okalahoma City, where he attended high school. He then studied at Ricks College and Brigham Young University, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in 1982. He earned a law degree at the University of Utah in 1986. From 1977 to 1979 he served in the Guatemala City, Guatemala Mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He married Donnette Jo Davis in the Salt Lake Temple on August 10, 1984.

While attending law school, Michael worked as a reporter for the Deseret News, a job that was to lead him toward a career in journalism and communications. After teaching at the University of New Mexico and working as a reporter at the Albuquerque Journal, he took a job as a professor at Drake University in Iowa, where he served as the Assistant Dean of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications.

In 1999, Perkins was recruited to BYU by Department Chair Laurie Wilson. The following year, he was appointed as chair of the Department of Communications.

Michael Perkins died tragically August 14, 2003 in a kayaking accident on the Salmon River in Idaho. He is survived by his wife, Donnette, and by his two children Nathaniel and Caitlin, his mother Kathryn Perkins, his brother Kenneth Perkins, and sisters Rebecca Van Leeuwen and Julie Perkins-Smith. He is preceded in death by his father, Kenneth Dean Perkins.

LAURIE J. WILSON (1997-2000)

Laurie J. Wilson earned bachelors degrees in Public Relations and Organizational Communications in 1980 from Brigham Young University. Wilson returned to BYU for her Masters in Mass Communication which she received in 1982. She earned her PhD in International Relations with specialties in International Communication and International Development from The American University in Washington, D.C. in 1988.

Wilson has taught both undergraduate and graduate courses at BYU since 1989. She regularly teaches introduction to PR, PR case studies, senior campaigns in PR, senior seminar in communications in undergraduate course work, and teaches world communication systems, communication and development, and communication theory at the graduate level.

Wilson’s colleague, David P. Forsyth, saw a pressing need for gender and racial diversity in the Communications Department. Together, Wilson and Forsyth worked to promote the recruiting and hiring of more women, particularly those aiming to obtain their doctorate degree.

In 1997 Wilson became the first female chair of the Department of Communications. This appointment alone was proof of Wilson’s public relations expertise. Over the next three years, Wilson continued working on the image of BYU, and focused on recruiting faculty.

Wilson continues to serve on the commission as a representative of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and has also served on PRSA’s strategic planning committee, chaired by the president of the organization. She was chair of the Educator’s Academy in 2003 and continues to serve on their executive council. She has served on PRSA’s Educational Affairs Committee (1996-1998) and also as co-chair of that committee (2003-2004) and co-chair of PRSA’s Task Force on Education. In 2001 she was named the Outstanding Educator by the national PRSA organization and has been recognized with BYU’s Maeser Distinguished Teaching Award (1997). Wilson was the national PRSSA faculty advisor (1992-1996).

Wilson has received several other awards and recognitions. In 1990 she was recognized as the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) Outstanding Faculty Advisor. Five years later she was inducted into the PRSSA Hall of Fame. She also received BYU’s Karl G. Maeser Teaching Award and three Student Alumni Association Excellence in Teaching Awards. In 2010, Wilson received the 2010 Golden Spike Award as the Public Relations Professional of the Year.

Laurie Wilson is also active in ACEJMC’s PR division and is a regular participant in ACEJMC site teams for the accreditation of communications programs. She also serves on the Executive Board of the United Way of Utah County.

Wilson has authored and co-authored several textbooks used in the BYU Communications Department as well as professional and scholarly papers. She has also planned, implemented, and conducted seminars across the country.

Dr. Wilson’s LinkedIn profile became one of the top 10% most viewed profiles of 2012, a highly significant accomplishment for someone involved in the Public Relations World.


Lee Bartlett used to refer to himself as the “accidental chair”: he assumed leadership of the Department of Communications in November 1995 after the heart attack of David Forsyth. Bartlett was the only person from the advertising sequence ever to serve as a chair.

Bartlett had more professional experience than nearly anyone in the history of the BYU Journalism or Communications Department. After thirty years in the advertising field, he joined the department as an instructor for fall semester 1987. During the next two years, he took two art history classes and taught two courses each semester until he received a master’s degree in art history in the spring of 1989. That year, he also applied for the full-time advertising position vacated by the early retirement of George Barrus. Bartlett did extensive research on the history of the advertising business in the twentieth century. He served for only two years.

DAVID P. FORSYTH (1990-1995)

A 1954 BYU graduate, Forsyth received both his master’s and doctoral degrees in journalism from Northwestern University before working for various companies and starting another with a friend. It was while working as the vice president of research for McGraw-Hill Inc. that he wrote a major history of the business press in America.

At the end of his time at BYU, Forsyth had been working on a number of projects agreed on by the faculty, including research, international studies, and media ethics. As 1990–91 president of the BYU alumni association, Forsyth also focused strongly on alumni relations, fund-raising for endowed chairs, visiting professorships, and the new communications building. In a move to strengthen student internships, he appointed retired former faculty member Haroldsen as internship director in February 1991.

The 1991 ACEJMC accrediting council report praised the department for its teaching, strong curriculum, and highly motivated students. One year later, the department received full accreditation.

Forsyth’s biggest project, however, was to follow the lead of Bill Porter to converge print, broadcast, and Internet media. He wanted to revise the curriculum to break down the walls that historically existed between print and broadcasting and to make better use of new technology. Despite opposition from old-time print journalists and broadcasters, who saw the move as a resurrection of discussions that had been tried and failed in the past, the convergence movement prevailed. Convergence and the creation of multimedia journalists were to be major themes for the department, which was bucking national trends with a 56 percent increase in enrollment, from 268 in 1980 to 344 in 1993.

Forsyth also provided strong financial support for faculty members Alf Pratte and Jack Nelson, who hosted the 1993 annual meeting of the American Journalism Historians Conference (AJHA) in Salt Lake City. Pratte attributes his election as president of the AJHA, which he had helped to found in 1982, in great part to the generous support provided him by BYU and at other conferences that contributed to making BYU faculty more visible. A recent example of the increasing prominence of BYU faculty can be seen in the 2003 textbook Mass Communication Education. Four of the twenty-four articles in the book are written by former BYU students or faculty.

GORDON WHITING (1986-1990)

Dr. Gordon C. Whiting was born in 1935 and grew up in Minneapolis Minnesota, where his father had gone to obtain a Ph.D. in Theater. His father eventually became director of the University of Minnesota Theater.

After a short stint at BYU as a student, Whiting left in 1955 to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Austria.

Whiting served as an assistant professor and then an associate professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison from 1968-1974 before coming to Brigham Young University in 1974 to start the Communication Research Center.

In 1980, he took a year’s leave of absence to teach and do research at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz Germany. Whiting held a Fulbright scholarship in 1991-1992 in Hungary and worked with four universities there.

He has lived, done research and taught in Afghanistan, Austria, Brazil, Germany, and Hungry and has traveled to over 30 countries.

Whiting came to BYU in 1974 and was named a full professor in 1980. When he became department chair for the Communications Department in September 1986, he recognized that there was a great deal of work to be done; The Daily Universe was governed by two new hires, the department curriculum needed revisions, the budget needed to be planned, and the faculty needed to be reunited.

Whiting served as the department chair until September 1990. He retired from BYU in 2000.

Whiting is currently serving his third, part-time mission with the Research Information Division of the Correlation Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The mission involves him in reviewing and advising on various research projects as well as assisting in data collection and analysis.

He has a love of poetry, theater, good public speaking, good books, classical music and the arts. He plays the violin and is a member of the Utah Valley Symphony. He enjoys fishing and archery, a skill he has taught to scouts in the summers.

He and his wife, Barbara, are the parents of five children and the grandparents of six. Three of his sons are university professors (two at BYU and one at Indiana University). His wife is a professional genealogist, specializing in Swiss research (German, Italian, Romansch, and Latin), and she has clients around the world.

RALPH BARNEY (1985-1986)

Ralph Barney served as chair for one of the shortest periods in the history of the department, but it was one of the more eventful periods in the first seventy years of the department. It was during Barney’s administration that the organizational communications (OC) sequence was transferred to the College of Business, and a major push was made to gain funding for the proposed School of Communications building, which was to be built on the southwest edge of campus near the Grant Building. Barney also worked hard to motivate the aging faculty toward greater research production and to make the campus laboratory newspaper more credible. His most significant contribution, however, was to help give the department credibility as a scholarly institution through his work in intercultural communications and in ethics, an area he had helped pioneer with John Merrill.

An Arizona native and veteran of the Korean War, Barney had been editor of the Universe before his graduation from BYU in 1956. He had also worked on the BYU-Hawaii campus and was one of the founders of the Honolulu Community Media Council. He returned to BYU in 1972.

Barney tried to implement three goals during his administration:

“I hoped to initiate a program by which the department would become a world-class program and would reduce some of the internal problems that kept the program from achieving that goal. Similarly, I wanted to develop a governance program for the Daily Universe that would lead to a more dynamic newspaper, more responsive to students and would involve rotating supervision by professional journalists. Third, a happenstance thrust upon the department the possibility of a separate building and the concomitant requirement that we begin fund raising to pay for the building and its contents.”

Rather than hiring staff primarily from what he described as “sinking or non-competitive, mediocre newspapers,” Barney sought advisers from more successful enterprises with the idea of following the professional model of the University of Missouri, where he had graduated.

LAVAR BATEMAN (1982-1985)

LaVar Bateman was the third chair to come to the position from the speech side of the Communications Department, after Pardoe and Peterson. A graduate of BYU, he had served in World War II and received a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin before returning to Provo. Once back at BYU, he taught speech, coached the debate team, served as a study abroad coordinator, and fulfilled a number of other positions for the administration including chair of the University Speakers Bureau, chairman of forum assemblies, and tour director of the European and Asian areas. Bateman’s specialities included speech communications, discussion, parliamentary debate, American and contemporary public address, intercultural communications, and teaching English as a second language.

The biggest challenge during Bateman’s administration was the hiring of a total of eight new members. These new teachers were necessary to replace the large outflow of faculty who had come aboard during the Wilkinson era and since retired. Among those who joined the faculty were Merrill Frost, Doug Gibb, and Eric Stephan. Bateman also focused on BYU’s growing master’s program, which was providing about ten graduate students per year under the direction of Owen Rich.

One of Bateman’s goals was to encourage all of the faculty to become more engaged in scholarly research. It would not only help the growth of the graduate program by emphasizing the value of traditional and professional scholarship, but it would also be a critical method of obtaining promotion and tenure at BYU.

BRENT PETERSON (1979-1982)

In September 1979, Brent Peterson became the first chair from a field not identified with the traditional mass media. An author and private consultant as well as a teacher, Peterson received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from BYU, followed by a Ph.D. from Ohio University. After brief stints at the University of Utah, the University of Puget Sound in Washington, and the University of Montana (where he was associate director of the Center for Communications Studies), Peterson was hired by LaVar Bateman to return to his alma mater.

In 1972, Brent Peterson introduced the first course in organizational communication. Courses in analysis and strategies were introduced by Wayne Pace, who left the University of New Mexico to come to BYU in 1975. Within five years, Peterson and Pace helped to create the human resource development (HRD) sequence, the fastest growing sequence in the department at BYU and in the nation. In contrast to the inconsiderable academic output that had characterized faculty in both the department of journalism and later in the communications department. Peterson was the author or coauthor of eight texts, including the best-selling introductory communication text in the nation. In all, the HRD faculty authored more than twenty textbooks, as well as a dozen scholarly papers.

Organizational communications was later transferred to the College of Business, along with Gordon Mills, Wayne Pace, and Eric Stephan, who together served as the core of the program.

M. DALLAS BURNETT (1962-1963) & (1974-1979)

It was during Dallas Burnett’s second term as chair, from 1974 to 1979, that the Department of Communications at Brigham Young University reached its peak in terms of the number of programs, sequences, students, faculty, and curricula.

In January 1975, the programs in communications and speech communication were added to create a single, unified Department of Communications. This alignment housed in one department had offerings that ran the gamut from interpersonal to mass communication. It brought together more than eight hundred undergraduate majors and a faculty of twenty-eight. The realignment, according to a department handout, brought a new emphasis on film, through a joint program offered in communications and the newly named Department of Theater and Cinematic Arts. Emphasis in the Department of Communications would continue to be on a broad core of courses with specialization possible in eight areas: advertising, broadcasting, film, interpersonal communications, journalism, photography, public relations, and speech. A master’s program was also offered not only on campus but in other facilities throughout Utah and in California.

Credentials among the faculty at this time collectively included individuals who authored or coauthored 45 books, 157 articles in scholarly journals and national magazines, 90 scholarly papers, and 560 newspaper articles. In addition, various faculty were responsible for dozens of television shows, motion pictures, slide presentations, and other creative activities. “They have served as editors, advertising managers, station managers, consultants to national firms, and as officers in national professional groups.”

The film sequence was later removed from broadcasting and placed back in theater.

During the 1978–79 school year, the department engaged in a major curriculum and organizational review. That review brought broadcast journalism into the journalism area as Sandgren had predicted and, according to Burnett, created a sales sequence that would apply to both broadcasting and print.

EDWIN O. HAROLDSEN (1971-1974)

Like Richards and Butterworth before him, Edwin Haroldsen was a professional journalist, having worked as a regional editor with U.S. News and World Report, United Press, the Salt Lake Tribune, and the Deseret News. In addition to his professional background, Haroldsen had a Ph.D. from Iowa State University. He had also worked as an economics editor at ISU while earning a doctorate in sociology. In 1966, he became the Chicago regional editor of U.S. News & World Report. He covered the 1968 general election campaign, reported on race riots in Milwaukee and Chicago, and followed Robert F. Kennedy on the campaign trail while spearheading the magazine’s coverage of U.S. agriculture. Because Haroldsen was one of the best-known LDS journalists at that time and had academic credentials, he attracted the attention of Dean Lorin Wheelwright, who encouraged Haroldsen to come to BYU. At BYU, his specialties included magazine writing and editing, broadcast news, opinion writing, and international communications.

Named chair in 1972, Haroldsen followed up on the preparatory work of those before him to help turn the Daily Universe into a laboratory newspaper.

J. MORRIS RICHARDS (1967-1971)

An elected official as well as leader in community journalism, Richards was hired for $8,400 per year by President Ernest Wilkinson. The 59-year-old Richards’ first assignments were to serve as advisor for the campus newspaper, yearbook, and directory. Six months later, he was named chair.

Among those hired by Richards in the spring of 1967 at the rank of assistant professor was George Barrus, who had just completed coursework for his Ph.D. at the University of Iowa. He and Heber Wolsey, both of whom taught broadcast and print advertising, had worked together at Gillham Advertising in Salt Lake City during the introduction of television in the mid-1950s.

In a 1991 oral interview, J. Morris Richards cited many accomplishments from his tenure, including reducing faculty overload, cooperating with other departments, enhancing relationships with community newspapers, establishing internships, providing on-the-job training, and meeting deadlines.

OLIVER R. SMITH (1951-1960), (1963-1967) & (1946-1949)

In the middle of the year, Smith succeeded Burnett as chair to oversee the birth of a new entity from the thirty-year-old Journalism Department. With the assistance of other individuals, including Owen Rich, the Department of Communications was formed, combining broadcasting and journalism. In 1963 the department was reassigned from the College of Humanities to the College of Fine Arts. It moved from the Herald R. Clark Building, where it had been located since 1954, to the Jesse Knight Building, which primarily housed the College of Business. The radio and television station operations were moved from the Speech and Theater Department to the service area of the university, and the academic program in radio-television-film was included in the newly created Communications Department.

Smith served as editor of Journalism Educator and was also the executive secretary for the Rocky Mountain Collegiate Press Association for thirteen years. He was president of the Utah Journalism Education Association for one year, an organization that consisted primarily of high school and college journalism activities. He was also a director and vice president of the American Red Cross and state president of the Utah Pioneers and Sons of the American Revolution.

At the end of four years, Smith wanted to get back to the classroom. He had been successful, however, in recruiting others such as Burnett to join the faculty. Seeing someone with the long-range potential to take over his chair, Smith had been talking for a number of years to a prominent LDS weekly editor from Arizona named J. Morris Richards.

In his second term as chair, Oliver Smith meticulously expanded the Department of Journalism to include satellites of advertising, broadcasting, and public relations. He was respected not only on campus but with professional and academic organizations. In the process, he was loved and appreciated by hundreds of students for the manner in which he went out of his way to get to know each of them personally.

One former student, who later joined the BYU faculty, remembers how a lifelong friendship began when he was a bewildered freshman and Smith took him under his wing during registration in the Smith Fieldhouse. “Even after I graduated, Oliver and I exchanged Christmas cards every year.” Jack Nelson, who later became a faculty member at BYU, remembers taking classes from Smith, as well as from Butterworth and Wight, shortly after he arrived on campus in the fall of 1951. “[Smith] was a grand man,” Nelson recalled.

At mid-century, BYU’s upper campus featured the old Maeser Administration Building, the Heber J. Grant Library, the Brimhall Building, the Joseph Smith Building, and the Eyring Science Center—almost everything else, including the bookstore, was housed in old yellow army barracks. This included the North Building, which housed the Department of Journalism. It sat near where the bookstore is, with apple orchards behind it. In 1954, the Journalism Department (without the News Bureau) moved from the North Building to the Herald R. Clark Student Service Center, thus separating the Journalism Department and the News Bureau for the first time in BYU history.

JEAN R. PAULSON (1960-1962)

Paulson served for only a brief time while Smith was on leave at the Church College of Hawaii.

One of his students, who became a faculty member in 1984, recalls taking the introductory survey class from Paulson after he returned from an LDS mission in January, 1961.

“Paulson looked, acted and talked the part of one of the old-time reporters and editors. He had a shock of white hair and taught the introductory class with a great deal of animation, weaving the Emery, Ault Agee text with war stories from his newspaper days. I can still remember the class taught in the Jesse Knight Building because of Paulson’s professional personality. I remember Paulson as a model of what journalists should be more than anyone else on the print faculty before or since.”

During his brief tenure as department chair, Paulson provided a strong vision of what the department could add to the university, as well as to the Church, through the creation of what he described as a Communications Center. He said the following:

“Although communications centers and journalism schools and colleges are not new, we can establish the first one in a wide area of the United States. Such a center would include all the media, such as radio, television and printing, and expand journalism offerings. We are far from being innovators in this proposal; many of the better universities long since have developed schools of communication.”

After his departure from BYU, Paulson engaged in a number of activities, including real estate and freelance writing. According to his daughter, Nina Paulson Cooke, Paulson wrote columns for the St. George, Provo, and Pasa Robles, California, newspapers under the name of Jean “Rimrock” Paulson after he retired. She explained the “R” in Paulson’s name actually stood for Robison, a family name.

She recalled that in addition to his journalism, her father was well-known as a thespian and public speaker. He had been an editor of the campus newspaper and a BYU graduate before the Journalism Department was formed. He started his career with the Provo Herald. He had also been editor of McClatchy group newspapers in San Luis Obispo, Sacramento, Palo Alto, Santa Rosa, and Berkeley, as well as a staff member of the Deseret News. While an editor in the Bay Area, Paulson had led newspaper crusades to build the Bay Shore Freeway, which goes by the San Francisco International Airport. He was serving as managing editor of the Palo Alto Times in the late 1940s and early 1950sHe also crusaded for mass transit that stimulated what became the Bay Area Rapid Transportation System.


The same year that Smith left BYU, Edwin J. Butterworth Jr., associate news editor of the Deseret News and former Salt Lake Telegram and Salt Lake Tribune employee, was appointed to the faculty as a journalism teacher and member of the News Bureau. Butterworth was to guide the news management of BYU for the next twenty-eight years. He recalls that, while news was considered the principal function of the public relations operation, the two-man faculty of Wight (the senior faculty member) and Butterworth performed many of the other functions that were later assigned to separate departments in the field of university relations, such as writing, layout, and supervision of publications. Newly appointed President Wilkinson, who was tremendously aware of publicity as a tool for the advancement of his programs, moved to strengthen the news operation of the university. In 1951 he appointed Butterworth head of a new department called the Division of Public Relations.

In 1950 the department moved out of the Brimhall Building, which had been its home since 1936, and into a temporary building called the North Building. Another milestone was reached in November 1950 when, at Butterworth’s request, Wilkinson appointed David A. Schulthess, a sports writer for the Salt Lake Tribune, as the first full-time sports information director at BYU. A BYU sociology graduate, Schulthess had been the Universe editor before graduating. During the next thirty-eight years before he retired in 1989, Schulthess helped build the office to become one of the major sports information offices in the U.S. He recalled taking part in both the dedication services of the Smith Fieldhouse in December 1951 and those for the Marriott Center, at that time the largest on-campus sports facility in the U.S. “Those were the days when the sports writers who covered BYU said they wanted background material they could fit in a coat pocket. Today the material BYU provides is more smooth and sophisticated. Today they publish dramatic 250 page books. They have come a long way.”

In addition to running the public relations division for BYU, Butterworth continued to teach a variety of journalism and public relations classes. In 1954 he was awarded the first master’s degree in journalism at BYU.

T. EARL PARDOE (1945-1946)

Pardoe joined the BYU faculty in 1919, during the later years of the Brimhall administration. He later earned a doctorate in 1936. For years he headed the Department of Public Speaking and Dramatic Arts. With the help of his wife, Kathryn Pardoe, as well as May Billings and Morris Clinger, Pardoe built up the dramatic arts program. In the fall of 1920, Pardoe received permission from President Heber J. Grant to hold an annual oratorical contest to encourage student speaking on religious subjects. Pardoe, his wife, and LaVar Bateman were responsible for the success of the program until it was phased out in the 1980s. Wilkinson says Pardoe “directed plays and enlisted faculty, students and community dramatists to participate, many of whom later played prominent roles in the development of the University. Debating teams under John C. Swenson and later LaVar Bateman won competitive meets. Students created the Mask Club in 1922.”

The roles of both Pardoe and Alonzo Morley are praised in Rich’s history of broadcast education at BYU. Rich first met the two of them in 1940 as a freshman student applying for a job in the sound studio on lower campus. Pardoe had been introduced to radio while completing his studies for a master’s degree at the University of Southern California.

While a student, Rich became Pardoe’s broadcasting assistant and was made responsible for the broadcast studios and for teaching courses in studio techniques and control room operations. According to Rich, Pardoe saw the studio as a laboratory with three basic functions: to provide an environment that would promote voice development; to prepare students for a new art form, radio drama; and to provide a training ground for radio announcing. This part of the program started by Pardoe was later carried on by former actor and radio announcer Lynn McKinlay, who came to BYU in the late 1950s and taught for nearly thirty years. Under Pardoe’s direction and with help from Rich, BYU inaugurated the first university-sponsored radio station in Provo, linking Allen and Amanda Knight Halls to the studio in College Hall.

After thirty-four years, T. Earl Pardoe retired from teaching in 1953 and was reassigned to assist the Alumni Association. He held the position of alumni biographer until his death in 1971.


Carlton Culmsee was a professor of English, a journalism instructor, and chair of the Journalism Department from 1939 to 1944. He was appointed to take over the threefold duties of Merrill as acting chairman of the department, acting director of the Extension Division, and acting director of the News Bureau. The son of a medical doctor, Culmsee attended high school at Beaver Academy and taught near Milford, Utah, until Merrill and Lowry Nelson saw his articles, which had been published in Salt Lake City newspapers as well as in the Utah Farmer. Culmsee was offered a job at BYU before he joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“As a result I went there. I was “a Gentile” at the time, but it seemed very favorable because these two great men were friends of mine. They helped me a great deal. I entered BYU in 1929.”

Over the next fifteen years, Culmsee served in a number of positions, including instructor in journalism and secretary to the Extension Division starting in 1933. He also served as a part-time correspondent for the Associated Press, where he mainly did sports writing. Under Nelson, Culmsee wrote publicity and provided home study courses plus extension courses when it seemed financially feasible. He also had the chance to serve as editor of the Y News for five regular quarters and one summer session.

Culmsee was a popular figure in Utah literary circles; in 1942 he was president of the Utah League of Writers. He and Oliver Smith left BYU in 1942 to enter the armed services during World War II. Others who left BYU during the World War II period included future Department chair LaVar Bateman and future faculty member Owen Rich, both students in the speech department.

After their return from service in the U.S. Air Force and Coast Guard both Bateman and Rich would begin their efforts to develop speech and broadcast education at BYU as well as nationally. Culmsee did not return to BYU after his release. Instead, he took a position in the administration of President Harris, who left BYU in 1945 to become president of Utah State Agricultural College (later Utah State University). Smith says that during the war years, the department carried on with limited staff under the supervision of Gerritt DeJong, dean of the College of Fine Arts.

J. MARINUS JENSEN (1938-1939)

According to Oliver Smith’s oral history, President Harris called J. Marinus Jensen after Merrill’s death and asked him to serve as acting chairman and to take other courses under his wing. A teacher in the English Department since 1910, Jensen was made assistant professor in 1919 and associate professor in 1921. Harris instructed Jensen that Smith (then a student) would work full-time, teach some courses, and handle the News Bureau full-time, replacing Carlton Culmsee. Jensen continued this assignment until Culmsee assumed the chair job. Jensen was a former newspaper writer with the Provo Inquirer. When Smith came to BYU after serving in the Eastern States Mission of the LDS Church, Jensen, who was by then a senior member of the English Department, taught editorial writing and ethics classes and served as the acting chair.

In his book The Storied Domain, J. Cecil Alter says that Jensen used his literary abilities in other ways. He contributed to magazines and other publications of the Church, acted as a correspondent for the Rocky Mountain News in Denver as well as for the Provo Inquirer, and wrote and published a history of Provo in 1925. Elected as a Provo city recorder, Jensen was also a member of the city council and president of the public library board.


Although the Journalism Department was started in 1933, it began as a division of the English Department. Thus it was directed by Parley A. Christiansen, the chairman of the English Department from 1924 to 1928 and from 1933 to 1954. In 1936, Harrison Merrill became the first chair when the journalism division became a full department. Described as “a giant of character” in both stature (298 pounds) and contributions to journalism, he was an English professor, poet, and Western author. He organized the Western League of Writers and was originator of the publication Utah Sings, which continued to be published for several editions after his death.

Along with Carl Eyring and Lowry Nelson, Merrill was named in 1926 to use the KSL radio facilities to extend university services throughout the Intermountain West. Edwin J. Butterworth reported that when Nelson left BYU in 1928 to obtain his doctorate, Merrill became acting head of the Extension Division and of the Journalism Department.

According to Butterworth, Merrill’s new responsibilities with both journalism and the Extension Division forced him to resign from the Improvement Era, where he had served as managing editor and a contributing writer since joining the English Department in 1906. In his history, Wilkinson notes that in 1922 the BYU faculty provided fifteen percent of all materials published in the official Church magazine.

In 1938, Merrill died from complications following an operation for appendicitis. After his death, Les Goates of the Deseret News noted that Merrill had also been an ardent supporter of BYU’s fledgling sports program. For a number of years, Merrill had been a sports correspondent for BYU with Provo newspapers. Sports publicist Ralph Zobell says Merrill was the first to tackle any semblance of the duties of a sports publicist at BYU. In a 1928 football program published by the University of Utah, an article apparently written by Merrill himself listed him as the “president of Rocky Mountain Conference. He handled all Brigham Young’s athletic publicity.”