M. Dallas Burnett

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M. Dallas Burnett, 2008

M. Dallas Burnett is a professor emeritus of Brigham Young University in the Communications Department. He also served as department chair on two occasions and as associate dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communications for nine years.

An Ogden native, Burnett has a love for journalism which was only enlarged when he worked as a reporter for the Deseret News. It was this love that brought Burnett back to his alma mater, BYU, in 1958 as a member of the journalism faculty.

In February 1962, Burnett was made chair of the Department of Journalism. Over the next year, he devoted his attention to the campus publication, with the goal of making it the most technically advanced college newspaper. Burnett created a proposal to print the newspaper off campus, thus incorporating better printing technology at a lower cost to the University. However, the proposal was rejected. Burnett was one of the founding editors of the Engsign in 1970-1971.

From 1974-1979 Burnett once again served as department chair. During this time, the Department of Communications became the largest department in the college, encompassing advertising, broadcasting, film, interpersonal communications, journalism, photography, public relations, and speech.

The new structure led to a faculty shortage, and many faculty members had conflicting opinions as to whether or not the structure should be kept or again revised. During the 1978-79 school year, a curriculum and organizational review was conducted and the film major was returned to the theatre department and the broadcast emphasis was absorbed by journalism (Pratte, 24).

In 1993, Burnett received the Karl G. Maeser Teaching Award, one of the most distinguished awards from the University. His teaching specialties included communications law, newswriting, reporting.

In retirement, Burnett was involved in digitizing family photos, writing family histories, and producing video histories for immediate and extended family. With his wife Pat, Burnett later served as a Sesquicentennial Missionary for the Church from 1995 through 1997.

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