Olson named director for the School of Communication and Journalism



BROOKINGS, S.D. – April 6, 2018 – Lyle Olson, who has been serving as the interim department head for South Dakota State University’s Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, has been named the founding director for the School of Communication and Journalism. The School of Communication and Journalism starts July 1. It combines the Department of Communication Studies and the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication.

“It’s a unique and humbling challenge to serve as the founding director, but it’s a great opportunity to work with others to create a new entity,” Olson said. “We’ve been working together the last 2 ½ years, and we will continue to do so. As two strong departments come together, the school’s vision is to become a premier center for communication excellence.”

Joshua Westwick, who has been serving as the interim department head for the communication studies department, will serve as the school’s associate director.

“Dr. Olson has done a great job in his interim role and was instrumental in helping the school take shape,” said Jason Zimmerman, interim dean for the College of Arts and Sciences. “He is the perfect person to see us through this time of transition, and I am looking forward to working with him.”

Olson, a 1976 graduate of State, earned his master’s degree from the University of Oklahoma and a doctorate from Oklahoma State University. Olson was a professor of English and journalism from 1981 to 1989 at Oklahoma Wesleyan before starting as an associate professor at State in 1989. He was promoted to professor in 1995 and started serving as the graduate program coordinator at that time. Olson became the department’s assistant head in June 2014.

Olson has received the 2009 Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication’s Scholastic Journalism Division Educator of the Year Award and awards for teaching excellence and graduate student mentoring at SDSU. He was the university’s inaugural outstanding online educator award recipient in 2015.

Lyle Olson