By SUSAN COLTRI
President Merrill J. Bateman announced this week that Lee Bartlett will be the new chairman of the Communications Department.
Bartlett has been acting as chair since former department chair David P. Forsyth left his position in October because of medical problems. The appointment in October was a surprise to Bartlett.
“This was completely unexpected,” Bartlett said.
Bartlett believes he was chosen to replace Forsyth because he had 30 years of managerial and business experience. This made it easier for him to make the move to a primarily administrative position than it would have been for his more scholarly counterparts, he said.
Bartlett has set important priorities for the department. One is an improved vision of what the department is trying to accomplish.
“First, we would like to make sure the students get a strong, sound education,” Bartlett said.
“Second, we would like them to develop enough experience and profitable skills to make them employable.” This tends to be the focus of students as well.
Third, Bartlett would like students to think of their careers as the middle phase of their lives. After the students’ careers, Bartlett would like to see them be prepared to assume communications roles in furthering the interests of the church.
“Communications has everything to do with spreading the gospel,” Bartlett said. “I would like our students to think of their careers as preparation for the real work.”
Bartlett has also made it a priority to expand the involvement of students in the department.
Bartlett said that although he sees his job as extremely challenging, he enjoys it very much. “I get to know a lot more students this way,” he said. “I now have to be knowledgeable about the entire department, and I find every facet of communications intriguing.”
The department seems very supportive of Bartlett. “Lee Bartlett is an outstanding individual who brings to this leadership position the consensus style of participation, which is vital for the many prima donnas we have on our faculty,” said Alf Pratte, professor of communications. “He’ll be challenged, but will probably be enormously successful because of his nature.”