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Matt Sanders with Comm Studies students
Matt Sanders, a professor in Communication Studies, chats with students in the major. Comm Studies is the college's fastest growing degree and has seen its  enrollment double, thanks to its emphasis on ever-important communication skills.


Concurrent enrollment to bring the jocunditas of Latin to high schools

Always seeking bright minds and deep-thinkers of any age, the Department of History’s Classics program has earned state approval to offer concurrent enrollment in Latin. Concurrent enrollment allows these young students to take specialized classes in high school that earn them university credit at no cost to them. The program will use an online curriculum developed by Classics Professor Mark Damen.

The program will only be offered through Utah high school Latin programs, which number about 10, primarily in northern Utah. Courses in classics and Latin are often taught by USU alumni who have earned the Classics minor with an emphasis in Latin teaching.


Enrollment doubles in Communication Studies major

The number of students entering the Communication Studies program has exploded, thanks to its focus on a skill that transcends any vocation: successful relationships between people, said Bradford Hall, head of the Department of Languages, Philosophy and Communication Studies.

In 2012, 99 students declared the Comm Studies major. That number has now more than doubled to 236 students, he said.

Graduating students tell Hall in exit interviews that they value the program’s professors, “who are seen to really know and care about each individual student and who are very passionate about the material they teach and research.” Students also appreciate,” he adds, that “the material is very applicable to all aspects of life, from the workplace to a wide range of other settings.”


CHaSSy Video Awards: Touting our culture’s new uses for writing

Audience members munched popcorn and winners walked along a red carpet at the first-ever Check Out This Video! Film Festival, which featured student-made short videos and introduced the CHaSSy Awards.

The competition was hosted by the English Department and sponsored by the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Judged as top winner among the 20 entries in four categories was Conner Bond for his video “Sonzai.”

Assistant professor of English Lynne McNeill said the new award format recognizes that college-level writing has outgrown the “old school forms of essay writing and reports.”

To see all winning entries, visit


Social Work doubles the size of its MSW program on Logan campus

Social Work, housed in the Department of Sociology, Social Work and Anthropology, is doubling the number of students in its Logan-based Master of Social Work program to address what’s been a continuing and expanding need for social work professionals in the state.

The program in Logan accepts new grad students as part of a master’s-level cohort every other year. Beginning this fall, a new cohort will start every year, in effect doubling the number of students, said Derrik Tollefson, head of the Department of Sociology, Social Work and Anthropology.

Statewide, the program welcomes its largest-ever cohort on the regional campuses, said Tollefson.


Research grants to CHaSS scholars double in last year

CHaSS professional scholars have seen a significant increase in grants and awards, which, according to Associate Dean Eric Reither, testifies to the value of the academic work being produced.

During the 2016-17 academic year, grants and other money equaled $2 million. So far in the 2017-2018 academic year, which ends June 30, scholars have received about $5 million.

Among the larger grants was a $450,000 award by the National Science Foundation to Jacob Freeman, an assistant professor of anthropology, for research on the conflicts resulting from scarce resources, such as water in a desert community.

Smaller grants are just as vital, Reither said, because they allow scholars to collect more data, remain in the field longer or travel internationally. “Relatively small awards can translate into big research output,” he said


JCOM expands with new track of social media

The Department of Journalism and Communication has long produced graduates who specialize in one of three tracks: print journalism, broadcast journalism and public relations. The department is now expanding into one of society’s most popular forms of communication with the introduction of a fourth career track: social media.


Dean Joe Ward and the Peruvian ambassador at a reception in April 2018 Peruvian Ambassador Carlos Pareja welcomes Dean Joe Ward and Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah) to the Embassy of Peru in Washington, D.C. 

Embassy reception recognizes CHaSS connections with Peru

The College of Humanities and Social Sciences has many ties to Peru that include research and volunteer work in the South American nation. That was the focus of a reception April 26 at the Embassy of Peru in Washington, D.C.

Dean Joe Ward and such professors as anthropologist Bonnie Glass-Coffin joined many CHaSS alumni, as well as Peruvian Ambassador Carlos Pareja and U.S. Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah).

To view a photo gallery of the event, visit


CHaSS says a warm goodbye to six retiring professors

The College of Humanities and Social Sciences bids a warm farewell to several professors who are retiring this spring and offers a big handshake of thanks for their many years of teaching and influence. Those retiring in June are: Brock Dethier, professor of English; Daniel McInerney, professor of history; Jim Bame, associate professor, International English Language Institute; Richard Krannich, professor of sociology; and Steven Simms, professor of anthropology.

Philip Barlow, professor Religious Studies and the Leonard J. Arrington Chair of Mormon History and Culture, has announced his retirement effective December 2018.


Successful Mentorship Grant Program enters its second year

The Mentorship Grant Program, which provides scholarships to students to spend the summer months working with professors on their current research, enters Year 2 with high expectations.

In 2018, 10 students have been awarded the $2,000 grants that allow them to eschew a summer job to instead conduct original research with a professor. The program is funded by college donors, Friends of CHaSS and with a grant of $10,000 from the Mariner Eccles Foundation.

“The students’ identity starts to shift a bit,” Associate Dean Matt Sanders has observed. “They see themselves not just as passive students or helpers, but as scholars, thinkers and contributors.”

Read an fall 2017 Liberalis story that gives more details about the Mentorship Grant Program at


New UPR app gives easy access to USU’s public radio station

Utah Public Radio has introduced a new smartphone app that allows listeners to take UPR with them wherever they go. The app allows on-demand listening, bookmarking and more. Visit the Apple or Android app store and search for Utah Public Radio.


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