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Faculty and Staff

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Pop-Culture Power

January 12, 2022 12:00 AM
Communications professor Scott H. Church (BA ’05) liked the ’80s before it was cool. One of his favorite TV shows is Freaks and Geeks, a cult classic about high schoolers in the 1980s.
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Intelligence Lab launches with Public Relations Fest

September 14, 2021 12:00 AM
The BYU School of Communications hosted a Public Relations Fest on Tuesday night in conjunction with the launch of the new Public Relations Intelligence Lab.
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College of Fine Arts and Communications Recognizes 13 Outstanding Faculty for Rank and Status Advancements

June 28, 2021 12:00 AM
The College of Fine Arts and Communications congratulates members from faculty for their rank and status advancements
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Traits of a Troll: BYU Research Examines Motives of Internet Trolling

June 24, 2021 12:00 AM
As social media and other online networking sites have grown in usage, so too has trolling – an internet practice in which users intentionally seek to draw others into pointless and, at times, uncivil conversations. New BYU research recently published in the journal of Social Media and Society sheds light on the motives and personality characteristics of internet trolls. Through an online survey completed by over 400 Reddit users, the study found that individuals with dark triad personality traits (narcissism, Machiavellianism, psychopathy) combined with schadenfreude – a German word meaning that one derives pleasure from another’s misfortune – were more likely to demonstrate trolling behaviors. “People who exhibit those traits known as the dark triad are more likely to demonstrate trolling behaviors if they derive enjoyment from passively observing others suffer,” said Dr. Pamela Brubaker, BYU public relations professor and co-author of the study. “They engage in trolling at the expense of others.” You can read the full article by Brenna Seeman here. Truths about trolls: the psychology of trolling on Reddit
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CFAC Faculty and Staff Unite in You Belong Here. You Matter Here. Initiative

April 02, 2021 12:00 AM
The College launches an initiative to remind students that “You Belong Here. You Matter Here.”
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Cougar Query: "My favorite spot on campus is the MOA, of course!"

March 10, 2021 12:00 AM
Name: Janalee Emmer BYU employee since: 2014 My job at BYU is … one of the best at BYU. I get to research and organize exhibitions, and I oversee educational programs at the Museum of Art. I also love working with and teaching BYU students. Currently I’m working on … so many projects! Several upcoming exhibitions, possible acquisitions, new ideas for tours and educational programs, just to name a few. I’m currently reading … a stack of books by my bedstand! I like a mix of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, biography and spiritual books. But, it takes me a while to get through them that way! Travel and study abroad ... sparked my interest in my field. But, I did play the game Masterpiece a lot when I was young. It’s a board game where you become different art collectors, and buy and sell artwork at auction. I think it was my first real introduction to artists like Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Cassatt, even before I knew who they were. When I have 30 minutes of free time, you can find me … learning to play the baritone ukulele. This has been my new COVID hobby; I’m definitely a beginner, but it has been very entertaining. My grandmother played all of the time, so it’s fun to think of her when I play. My advice to incoming freshmen is … take as many diverse classes as you can! You’ll never have the opportunity to study so many different things from experts. Continue reading the article written by Kaylee Esplin at news.byu.edu.
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Faith + Works: Doing and Dealing Justly in an Unjust, Imperfect World

February 04, 2021 12:00 AM
The Faith and Works Lecture with Ed Carter will take place on March 4 in the Madsen Recital Hall and will be streamed online
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Y Digital: How one BYU graduate, five students and Mountain Dew led to an award winning agency

January 07, 2021 12:00 AM
Inside the George H. Brimhall Building on BYU’s campus is a lab that sees 30 students every week. They come on their own time and receive no pay, but they do digital marketing work with organizations like the NBA, Subaru and Google. All because of one man that loves commercials. “In my heart, I love the idea of advertising,” said Y Digital Director Adam Durfee. “I’m one of the few people that like to watch commercials carefully and see what they are all about.” Y Digital is a student-run digital marketing agency sponsored by BYU. By the end of 2020, they have worked with over 35 clients and won numerous awards. But back in 2017, the agency was just an idea on Durfee’s dinner napkin. Read the full story written by Andrew Call at universe.byu.
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Collaboration is Key for Correcting the Imbalance of Privilege

December 16, 2020 12:00 AM
Professor Luke Howard discusses the Diversity and Inclusion Committee initiatives for the college
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BYU photography professor’s tintype photographs win prestigious award

December 16, 2020 12:00 AM
Paul Adams was recognized for his three pieces: “Breathe,” “#MeToo,” and “President Kevin Worthen, Brigham Young University”
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Calendar featuring BYU professor’s designs wins prestigious Salt Lake award

December 16, 2020 12:00 AM
David Habben created a portfolio for his designs using a calendar format and participated in Salt Lake City’s “100 Show”
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Tuning Into Intention Helps Habben Create and Maintain an Eternal Perspective

November 18, 2020 12:00 AM
Professor David Habben shared how a 100-year-old guitar helped inspire him to make intentional changes that impacted his professional design work
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Art Professor Blends Modernist Inspiration with Historic and Cultural Techniques

October 26, 2020 12:00 AM
Professor Brian Christensen’s expertise in ceramics, sculpture and 3D design has led him to ventures across the globe, including an excavation project in Egypt
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Newly Appointed Department Chair Joe Ostraff Brings Passion For Collaboration To His Work

July 20, 2020 12:00 AM
Ostraff views his art as a catalyst for personal change and a celebration of relationships On July 1, Joe Ostraff replaced Gary Barton as chair of the Department of Art. Ostraff received an MFA from the University of Washington and taught high school art for seven years before joining the art faculty at BYU in 1993. At the time, he was one of the more contemporary-minded professors working in the department, making experimental art. Now, contemporary ways of working have become a critical component of a BYU art education. Projects and Awards During his time at BYU, Ostraff has primarily taught painting, drawing and advanced studio courses. He has directed or co-directed numerous collaborative projects involving his students and peer institutions, including the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA), Wirral Met College in England, Limerick School of Art and Design in Ireland and Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi in New Zealand. These partnerships have involved hundreds of artists and resulted in more than 30 international, national and regional exhibitions. Ostraff is also the only one of nearly 70 fellows to be awarded the prestigious Visual Arts Fellowship by the Utah Division of Arts & Museums three times (in 1993, 1998 and 2010). Together with his wife, Melinda — an ethnobotanist, faculty member in the College of Life Sciences and repeat collaborator with her husband — Ostraff has received roughly half a million dollars in grants over the years. He estimates that 60 to 70 percent of that grant money has helped fund dynamic art opportunities with other artists, including fellow faculty members and students. These grant funds often go toward covering travel costs for his students to collaborate with artists in other locations, or to bring students from other universities to BYU. Read the full article written by Abby Weidmer at art.byu.edu.
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BYU professors’ design projects featured in top graphic design journal

July 06, 2020 12:00 AM
Two animated projects from BYU professor Brent Barson were recently accepted into the Communication Arts 2020 Design Annual, a prestigious graphic design journal. Out of the 2,900 total entries, just 126 were accepted. “It is a gratifying validation of all the hard work we pour into our projects,” Barson said in response to his projects’ acceptance into the journal. With art direction and illustration by Linda Reynolds, another BYU professor, and animation by Barson, the two designed and created one of the accepted projects, a short film titled “The Get.” The project was commissioned by KUER’s RadioWest Films in Salt Lake City, which presents unique stories with a focus on Utah. “There is so much satisfaction that comes from having others love a project you feel so passionately about,” Reynolds said. Read the full article at news.byu.edu.
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2020 Retiring College Faculty and Staff Honored for Their Service

June 26, 2020 12:00 AM
Eight faculty and staff members from the College of Fine Arts and Communications retire this year
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Professor Lynn Curates Project Highlighting BYU Alum in LA Art Show

May 28, 2020 12:00 AM
The project featured the works of husband-and-wife artists Amanda Smith and Casey Jex Smith, a BYU alum This February, BYU art professor Christopher Lynn spent spring break in Los Angeles — that is, he curated a project for SPRING/BREAK, an annual art show for independent curators. After Lynn and BYU art alum Casey Jex Smith got talking at a benefit auction, they decided to submit a proposal to SPRING/BREAK for a two-artist exhibition featuring works by Smith and his wife, Amanda. This year’s theme for the show — “In Excess” — fit perfectly with the Smiths’ art style, which Lynn describes as “fantastical and detail-oriented, to the point of obsessive.” SPRING/BREAK began in New York City in 2012 and expanded to Los Angeles last year. At first, Lynn wasn’t sure whether they could find a platform in the art show, which almost exclusively features artists based in those cities. “We thought it may be a long shot to have a Utah curator and Utah artists get accepted,” said Lynn. “But Casey and Amanda are peerless artists and I wanted more people to see their work.” Their proposal was accepted, and the team found themselves with only two weeks before the fair in Los Angeles to prepare the exhibition. When Lynn visited the Smith home to select works for the exhibition, an unexpected art project caught his eye. “I noticed a well-worn cardboard box in the corner, teeming with craft foam that had been drawn on and cut out into the shapes of imaginative characters,” said Lynn. “For years Amanda and Casey would take drawing requests from their children. They usually wanted odd hybrids of their favorite TV show characters — the head of Ms. Frizzle from ‘The Magic School Bus’ on a Pokémon body, Spider-Man with his spider wife and spider children, and other variations. As their children grew older, they started making their own foam characters. It became a collaborative family artwork.” Lynn ended up taking the entire box of foam figures with him to Los Angeles to install as part of the exhibition. “It became a whole family affair,” he said. The art show was a first for Lynn, whose experience as a curator and director has mostly been in the nonprofit art sector. The exhibition was a success, and Lynn had the opportunity to show the Los Angeles art world a taste of what Utah artists have to offer. “I met so many excited and earnest curators, organizers, collectors and artists who were a bit surprised to find out that we had such talent in Utah,” he said. “One well-known collector who owns a private museum in West Palm Beach, Florida gladly snatched up one of Casey's large drawings to add to her collection.” And the Smith family’s cast of hybrid characters — known as “Foam Babies” — was a huge hit among the art show’s youngest visitors. “We let toddlers play with the ‘Foam Babies’ and they loved it,” said Lynn. “One kid even spent a half hour finding all the Spider-Man variations and lining them up on the floor.” Lynn looks forward to sharing what he learned from the art fair experience with students in the art program. “Many of our students are operating at or beyond the level of art I saw in the fair, but lack insight into how to apply to or work within an art fair structure,” he said. “I hope to return next year — COVID-19 restrictions allowing — and bring students with me so they can participate firsthand.”
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Sharon Heelis To Retire After Nearly 40 Years As A Secretary For The Department Of Art

May 04, 2020 12:00 AM
After years of helping students achieve their goals, Heelis looks forward to continuing her own education Department Secretary Sharon Heelis will retire this year after working for the Art Department for nearly 40 years — longer, if you count her time as a student employee. She remembers such momentous milestones as the first computer in the office (“My typewriter was the printer, so when I printed it sounded like a machine gun”), the first fax machine (“We stood and watched as the message printed out from a roll of paper”) and the first copy machine (“It gave us oily paper, it was expensive and the copies weren’t very good”). Fortunately, Heelis said, technology has come a long way since then. Heelis began her decades-long career in the department in December of 1979, after the Barbizon Manufacturing Company — where she had worked for several years before and after serving a mission in Chile for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — announced they were closing. She had been an on-again, off-again student for seven years as she worked and saved money to put herself through school, though she had not yet settled on a major. At first, Heelis worked part-time as a student secretary — typing, preparing syllabi and making copies for faculty with a mimeograph machine. Just six months later, Heelis applied for and was accepted to the full-time gallery secretary position, where she helped care for the university’s art collection prior to the opening of the Museum of Art (MOA) in 1993. The timing was fortunate for Heelis, whose father died suddenly one year into her new job. The oldest of six children, Heelis was able to support herself and ease the pressure on her mother, who was still caring for three children at their home in Payson. Read the full article by Abby Weidmer at art.byu.edu.
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