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Intellect

Susan B. Walton named associate chair of BYU Communications Department

Susan B. Walton, an associate professor of communications at Brigham Young University, has been appointed associate chair for student media in the Department of Communications, effective May 1.

Walton replaces Kevin Stoker, who has taught at BYU since 1999. Stoker has accepted a position as associate dean of faculty of the College of Mass Communications at Texas Tech University.

“Our student media labs are critical to our learning environment, and it’s about time we dedicated an administrative position to provide more support to them,” said department chair Bradley Rawlins. “Professor Walton’s vast management experience and collaborative approach make her the ideal candidate for the position.”

In her new role, Walton will provide administrative management for the department’s student labs, including The Daily Universe newspaper, The Daily News television broadcast, the Advanced Advertising Lab and the Bradley Public Relations Agency.

“The student media labs serve the vital role of enabling students to apply their strong theoretical and practical education to creating real-world news content and solving real-world client problems,” Walton said.

Along with Walton’s appointment, the administrative structure of the Department of Communications will also change. Steven Thomsen, professor of communications, has been named graduate coordinator for the department.

Walton joined the BYU faculty in June 2006 after working for nearly 20 years in public relations and communications for Fortune 500 companies. She served as a global communications leader for Plastics Communications at Dow Chemical in Midland, Mich., including an assignment in Switzerland managing the company's European and global plastics communications. She was also the director of corporate communications at Boise Cascade Corporation and director of corporate communications for Harley-Davidson Motor Company in Milwaukee, Wis.

Walton holds a bachelor's degree in independent studies and a master's degree in English from BYU.

Thomsen received his doctorate in mass communication from the University of Georgia, his master’s degree in journalism from Ball State University and his bachelor’s degree in communications from BYU. He joined the BYU faculty in 1996 after teaching at Washington State University, Ball State University and the University of Central Missouri.

In 2003, Thomsen was a visiting Fulbright Scholar at the University of Oslo. Before entering the academic world, he worked as an education and political writer for the Cincinnati Post and as editor of corporate publications at Toyota USA in Torrance, Calif.

The BYU Department of Communications houses five emphases within the communications major: advertising, broadcast journalism, communications studies, print journalism and public relations. The department also offers a minor in communications and a master’s program in mass communications.

Writer: Patrick Hernandez

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