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Daily Universe editors Don Woodward, Hartt Wixom, Steve Hale, Ralph Barney, Bob Koenig, and Jerry Cahill, 1960.


The School of Communications

The Department of Communications was established in 1933, and accredited in 1984. In February of 2015, it achieved school status and became The School of Communications. It is currently housed in the Brimhall building, located on the south end of BYU campus. The department offers a bachelor's degree in communications, with various emphases, including Advertising, Journalism, and Public Relations. The department includes various student organizations, such as the American Advertising Foundation (AAF), the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), and the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), to help students prepare for the professional chapters. The BYU Ad Lab, Bradley Public Relations Agency, The Universe, and ElevenNEWS are also accommodated in the department and building.

Mission Statement

The Mission Statement of The School of Communications defines its goal thus:

"'Recognizing the crucial need to truthfully inform and be informed, the BYU Department of Communications seeks excellence in communications by stressing personal integrity, rigorous scholarship, moral values, professional competence and ethical conduct.

The Department:
(1) broadly educates men and women;
(2) fosters respect for free, responsible and truthful expression;
(3) champions democratic values;
(4) prepares graduates who will effectively serve their professions, their communities, and their nations' (Communications)."

Department Chairs and School Directors

The Journalism Department started in 1933 as a division of the English Department. In 1936, it became its own department. The following served as department chairs for the Journalism Department:
"The First One Hundred Years", vol 2

Harrison Reuben Merrill (1936-1938)
J. Marinus Jensen (English dept.) (1939-1940)
Carlton Culmsee (1940-1944)
T. Earl Pardoe (1945-1946)
Oliver Smith (1946-1949)
Edwin J. Butterworth, Jr. (Acting Chair 1949-1951)
Oliver Smith (1951-1960)
Jean R. Paulson (1960-1962)
M. Dallas Burnett (1962-1963)

In 1963 the Print Journalism Department underwent significant changes as it was moved from the College of Humanities to the College of Fine Arts, and Broadcast Journalism and Print Journalism were brought together to create the Communications Department.

Oliver Smith (1963-1966)
J. Morris Richards (1966-1971)
Edwin O. Haroldsen (1972-1975)
M. Dallas Burnett (1975-1979)
Brent Peterson (1979-1982)
LaVar Bateman (1982-1985)
Ralph Barney (1985-1986)
Gordon Whiting (1986-1990)
David P. Forsyth (1990-1995)
Lee Bartlett (1995-1997)
Laurie Wilson (1997-2001)
Michael Perkins (2001-2003)
Edward Adams (2003-2008)
Bradley Rawlins (2008-2012)
Edward Adams (2012-2015)

In February of 2015, the Department became The School of Communications. It remained under the same administration and retained its housing in the Brimhall Building. The title of Department Chair changed to Director. A few months later, Edward Adams finished his term as Director, and Edward Carter was appointed in his place.

Edward Carter (2015-Current)

School History and Evolution of Programs

The Department of Communications was born out of a diverse academic background. Advertising was introduced to BYU in 1912 and later became a course requirement for graduation from the College of Commerce. Journalism classes were first offered in 1919 by the English Department. In 1919 the Department of Speech and Dramatic Arts was started, offering classes in elocution, public speaking, and debate. These classes served as the foundation for the Broadcast Journalism Division. In 1921, President Franklin S. Harris introduced the Extension in Division, which was responsible for Public Relations and publications.

Over the next eighty plus years, these classes and divisions evolved into the current Department of Communications. At different times, the Department included Photography, Film, organizational communications, and even high school journalism.

The Department of Communications, as currently comprised, consists of Advertising, Journalism, and Public Relations, and oversees the lab activities of The Universe, DailYNews, NewsNet, Bradley Public Relations Agency and the Ad Lab. The Journalism Department started in 1933 as a division of the English Department.

Nationally, the BYU Communications department is widely respected. In the summer of 2010, The William Randolph Hearst Foundation recognized the BYU broadcast journalism program as the sixth best in the nation out of 112 accredited journalism programs at the Hearst Journalism Award ceremony.

In February of 2015, the Department became The School of Communications. With the change to a School, the students benefited from an increase of influence among peer programs, an increase of opportunities in the job market and advanced educational programs, and increased resources to enhance learning.


The School of Communications is home to several student clubs, as well as local chapters of national organizations. To join a campus club of learn more, click here. Clubs include:

  • Society of Professional Journalists
  • American Advertising Federation
  • Public Relations Student Society of America

External Links


  • Somewhere Between Mount Olympus and Mount Everest, Paul Alfred Pratte, 2003.
  • The Department of Communications, Department Website.
  • A History of the College of Fine Arts and Communications with its Departments of Art, Music, Speech & Dramatic Arts, and Communications, Oliver R. Smith, 1991.

Pages in category "Communications"

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