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  • Writer's pictureStudent Ambassadors

What is a "Department Chair?"

The McKay School has five departments encompassing nearly 18 different PhD, masters and bachelors degree programs. Each of these departments are headed by a Department Chair– someone who oversees the programs and helps faculty feel valued and supported.

Meet the Department Chairs!

Christopher Dromey Ellie Young Peter Rich

Communication Disorders CPSE IP & T

From: Wales, United Kingdom From: Cody, Wyoming From: Park City, Utah

Alma Mater: BYU, State University Alma Mater: BYU, University Alma Mater: BYU, University of

of New York, University of of South Florida Tampa Georgia

Colorado- Boulder Interests: Skiing, Running, Interests: Spending time with

Interests: Woodworking, Cooking, spending time with family, working around the home

Motorcycle Drives, Fixing Family


Sarah Clark Pamela Hallam

Teacher Education EDLF

From: Arizona From: Salem, Utah

Alma Mater: University of Alma Mater: BYU, University of

Arizona, Utah State University Utah

Interests: Cooking (Especially Interests: Sewing, spending

Pizza) time with family, chalk painting furniture, and crafting

What do Department Chairs Do?

Department Chairs have several responsibilities. Dr. Dromney shares that in his role as a Department Chair, "I have two main responsibilities: to help... [faculty] be successful and to help them be happy in their work." Dr. Clark adds, "My role entails lots of conversations with people. Sometimes I am listening to ideas from a student or a faculty member or answering questions for a potential student. Some days I am looking at the budget, other days I am asking someone to teach a course, and still on other days I am preparing materials for faculty and/or meetings."

Dr. Rich shares, "I spend a lot of my time answering emails, arranging teaching assignments, and answering questions from prospective students." He continued, "When I have a little extra time, I also spend some of my time as Chair thinking of ways to move the department forward, dreaming about new programs we might offer or new ways to engage students."

Department chairs often teach classes in addition to running their departments. For example, Dr. Young shares that she teaches CPSE 602, a course for graduate students in the MSE psychology program. "We learn about ways to teach all students in schools about emotional well-being. We learn counseling strategies and hopefully have fun along the way."

Dr. Rich "teaches and oversees 5 sections of a course that prepares elementary teachers to teach elementary coding." Department chairs do so much for faculty and students behind the scenes that we don't even realize!

What do our Department Chairs like about BYU?

The Department Chairs shared so many things they love about BYU. From the beautiful campus and amazing resources available, to their interacting with students and fellow coworkers, to the general spiritual feeling around campus, there is so much to be grateful for.

Dr. Young shared something very poignant when she said that her favorite thing about BYU is the students. She said, "Every single day the students are my favorite things. They are trying so hard, they care deeply about what they are doing. I learn from their questions and insights. It truly is an honor to learn with our amazing students." Dr. Rich adds, "It's honestly the highlight of my day when I get to put aside the administrative tasks and other duties and spend an hour or three with students... And BYU students are such high quality learners that it makes my job as a teacher that much more enjoyable."

Students are so loved by the professors here at BYU. They value you and your ideas and opinions, and they see your true potential. Never forget how great you are!

Have questions about education? Schedule an appointment with a student ambassador here!

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