In College of Fine Arts and Communications, Department of Theatre and Media Arts, School of Communications

New leadership will oversee the School of Communications and the Department of Theatre and Media Arts

Two departments within the College of Fine Arts and Communications will welcome new leadership this spring, while also recognizing the immeasurable contributions of those leaders who are passing the torch.

Megan Sanborn Jones has been named as the new chair for the Department of Theatre and Media Arts, filling the role held by Wade Hollingshaus for the past six years.

Mark Callister takes on the role of director of the School of Communications following six years of leadership by Ed Carter.

The term will take effect on June 1 for Callister and July 1 for Jones.

OUTGOING CHAIRS

Ed Adams, dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communications, expressed his gratitude and recognized Hollingshaus for his contributions.

Wade Hollingshaus

“Wade has been integral to so many conversations about diversity, inclusion, student mentoring, arts production, curriculum changes, remote learning and preparation for AUR and NAST reviews,” Adams said. “During his six years as chair, I have had the privilege of a collaborative relationship with Wade. I value his insight, thoughts and unwavering commitment to the TMA faculty, staff and students.”

“The past six years, I have been humbled to work and learn alongside the highest caliber faculty and staff. I’m so grateful that even though I will no longer be serving as their chair, I continue to work alongside these same dear colleagues,” Hollingshaus said. “I am especially pleased to hand the reins of the Theatre and Media Arts Department over to Dr. Megan Sanborn Jones. She is full of vision and spirituality and love for students. I am very excited for the future of our department under her leadership.”

Adams also had high praise for Carter’s contributions.

Ed Carter

‘“I have really appreciated working with Ed. He has undertaken initiatives in creating study abroad opportunities, transitioning from the Bradley Agency to Y Digital, resurrecting the comms studies program and more,” Adams said. “Ed has overseen some great new faculty and staff hires. Endowments have been created, and experiential learning funds have poured in. I have felt a collaborative relationship with Ed, and I will miss working with him.”

“Serving as the School of Communications director has been challenging but rewarding for me. I have learned a lot,” Carter said. “The School faculty, staff and students are a remarkable group of talented and committed learner-disciples. We have a bright future ahead and I look forward to supporting Dr. Mark Callister’s leadership.”

NEW CHAIRS

As for the new chairs, both departments will be in good hands thanks to the broad experience and expertise of Jones and Callister. In addition to teaching graduate and undergraduate courses, both have impressive lists of publications, leadership roles, awards and grants to their credit.

Megan Sanborn Jones, Department of Theatre and Media Arts

Megan Sanborn Jones

Jones earned a bachelor’s degree in theatre arts and a master’s degree in theatre and media arts from BYU. In 2004, she received her Doctor of Philosophy degree in theatre historiography from University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.

Since beginning her career at BYU, Jones has served on multiple committees, filling leadership roles such as the department associate chair and the co-chair of the department’s rank and status committee. She has received two distinguished university awards, including the Alcuin Fellowship and Wesley P. Lloyd Award for Distinction in Graduate Education.

In addition to her many awards and grants, Jones has several prior and forthcoming publications in scholarly journals. She has published two books: “Contemporary Mormon Pageantry: Seeking After Our Dead” (2018) and “Performing American Identity in Anti-Mormon Melodrama” (2009), which won the Smith Pettit Award for the Best First Book of the year on Mormon history.

Jones belongs to a distinguished list of professional organizations and has served as guest lecturer or keynote speaker for multiple conferences. During her career she has directed and/or choreographed more than three dozen stage productions in addition to her own stage and film acting experience. She has also been integrally involved in the design of performance spaces for the new arts building.

“We collectively support Megan’s appointment and believe she will be a force for good in all of the matters that the department will encounter in the next three years,” Adams said.

Mark Callister, School of Communications

Mark Callister

Callister came to BYU in 2005, and in 2014 earned the rank of professor in the School of Communications. As an undergraduate he received two bachelor’s degrees from BYU in English and international relations. He then earned a master’s degree in business from BYU in 1991 and a doctorate in communications from the University of Arizona in 1997.

Prior to 2005, Callister taught at Western Illinois University, Pima Community College and the University of Arizona. At Western Illinois University, he received the Outstanding Teacher Award in 2002 and the Distinguished Professorship of Communication Award in 2000.

Callister’s professional service has included acting as peer reviewer for articles of eight national journals. He has had major administrative and committee commitments as associate chair over honors, graduate studies and faculty research and productivity, as well as eight other school committees. He served as director of the Communications Research Center from 2009 to 2012, and from 2015 to the present.

He is the recipient of two university awards: the Randall L. Morgan Teaching and Learning Faculty Fellowship Award in 2011, and the Alumni Professorship in 2020.

“Dr. Callister is a hard-working and dedicated faculty member who has a deep commitment to the mission and aims of a BYU Education, to his students, to his responsibilities as a colleague, and to producing excellent scholarship,” Adams said.

Reflecting on the changes taking place within the college, Adams said, “The progress any organization makes under its leader is a reflection of the strength and capability of the individuals in that organization. We thank Wade Hollingshaus and Ed Carter for their efforts to serve the students and support the mission of their departments.

“I express the collective gratitude from the Dean’s Office for all they and their associate directors have done to further the important work of both students and faculty,” he continued. “Both men have left a lasting legacy. I am also confident that our new chairs will serve with the same level of dedication as they face a broad range of challenges and triumphs in the years ahead.”

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