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USU names 2 new department heads in College of Humanities

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LOGAN — Leadership in Utah State University's College of Humanities and Social Sciences is undergoing some big changes this summer. But faculty and students won’t see many changes, according to two new department directors in the college.

Derrik Tollefson, a social work professor, interim dean and executive director of Utah State’s Uintah Basin campus, has been named director of the department of sociology, social work and anthropology. He replaces Leon Anderson, who is on sabbatical.

In addition, Kim Hixson, a professor and founder of the advertising program at the University of Wisconsin Whitewater, will lead the college's department of journalism and communication beginning in late July.

The department heads will work with Joseph Ward, who has been named the college’s dean. He replaces John Allen, who retired.

“I’m looking forward to working with my colleagues here and keeping the department on the positive trajectory it’s already on,” Tollefson said in a statement.

Hixson agreed, adding he’s developed a respect for his department’s faculty.

“They are just so passionate about helping students succeed,” he said in the statement. “That’s really what we should be all about.”

Hixson earned his bachelor’s in advertising and English from the University of Tennessee in his hometown of Chattanooga, where he stayed to obtain a master’s in professional writing. He received a doctorate in journalism from Southern Illinois University.

Tollefson is a USU graduate with a bachelor’s in social work and sociology. His received a master of social work from the University of Denver and his doctorate from the University of Utah, where he was awarded the William McPhee Scholarship for Promise in Ph.D. studies. Before transferring into academia, he worked as a clinical social worker and has maintained a private counseling practice for nearly 20 years.