From the College of Humanities and Social Sciences
New Faculty Members

New Faculty Members

A SOLID HALF-DOZEN NEW ASSISTANT PROFESSORS were welcomed to USU’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences in the 2014-15 school year. Dean John C. Allen noted the diversity, teaching skill, and academic record of all the new educators who he believes continue to build on a CHaSS faculty that is recognized as outstanding among their peers both nationally and internationally. “We are honored to welcome these scholar-teachers to our ranks,” Dean Allen said. “They will lead us to the future and I am convinced it will be a positive future.” New CHaSS assistant professors include:

Todd Compton

JARED COLTON: Assistant Professor, English

PhD: Clemson University

Areas of Research: Professional and technical writing, including the intersections of rhetoric, ethics, and politics within professional and technical communication

Quote: “I chose Utah State University because communicating and enacting a supportive environment seemed a top priority of administrators and faculty members. During the interview process, I felt wanted and needed, and my new USU colleagues have continued to make me feel at home through the initial stages of my time here at USU.

“I first saw Logan in December, and it was cold and gray. However, when I revisited during a house hunt in the spring, I saw how beautiful Logan is. My wife, Ashley, and three daughters — Olivia, Lucy, and Greta — accompanied me to Logan and are thriving. We’re really excited to be here!”

Todd Compton

FRANCOIS DENGAH: Assistant Professor, Sociology, Social Work and Anthropology

PhD: University of Alabama

Areas of Research: Cultural determinants of health among Brazilian Pentecostals and virtual world denizens

Quote: “The thing that has impressed me most during my first semester at Utah State is the exceptional character of the undergraduate students. Throughout my career, I have tried to find ways to involve students in experiential learning and undergraduate research, often through extracurricular labs and groups. I was hoping to continue this at Utah State University, but was unsure of the response and interests this proposed research group would receive. These fears were completely unfounded—students were not only interested in conducting research, they were incredibly self-motivated and quick to learn new concepts. Now, the Collaborative Anthropological Research Laboratory has seasoned undergraduate researchers who will be recruiting new collaborators and designing the next phase of the religious gender role study, as well as the virtual cultures and health project. Overall, after growing up in Colorado, moving back to the Mountain West is like coming home. It’s great to wake up to mountain vistas and to feel the crisp cold air of winter. I am enjoying the outdoor activities such as hiking, and I can't wait to ski after my time in the Deep South away from the snow.”

Todd Compton

JASON GILMORE: Assistant Professor, Languages, Philosophy and Communication Studies

PhD: University of Washington

Areas of Research: Global communication, national identity, political and public discourse

Quote: “I chose to take the job at USU for a number of reasons. First of all, I was immediately attracted to the Global Communication major in the LPCS department. A lot of people come out of their PhD programs and take jobs that only slightly fit who they are. This job was a perfect fit for me personally as well as my research and teaching interests. I get to focus all of my attention on global issues, and that is a perfect fit for me. Second, I was impressed by the true quality of people who make up the faculty of CHaSS and its departments. It is a professional, academic atmosphere with truly good people. Third, the student population is so well suited for the work I do. I am impressed on a daily basis by their diverse intercultural experiences and their hunger for more. Finally, I think the Global Communication program itself is such an interesting force to be reckoned with. It is the only one of its kind in the state and one of a choice few in the nation. It is really cool to be on the ground floor of something so unique."

Todd Compton

JENNIFER ROARK: Assistant Professor, Sociology, Social Work and Anthropology

PhD: University of Colorado, Boulder

Areas of Research: Vulnerable populations within the criminal justice system

Quote: “My husband, Jonathan Kirby, is a wildlife biologist who works in the Mojave Desert with the desert tortoise. I have a 12-year-old daughter, Iris, and five-year-old son, Cash. We are also an intergenerational family. Grandma Diane lives with us. We love Logan. We came from just north of Boulder, Colorado. Spending the last decade looking at the Flatirons, I was almost sure I was not going to find a place as beautiful. Fortunately, Logan is more beautiful because the mountains are on both sides. My commute is breathtaking. We are most impressed with the people of Logan and the small town feel that it has. It is nice to be in a community where the kids do not need to lock their bikes, the school principal calls and asks how you are doing when you are having a bad day, and the neighbors snow-blow your walk without asking. Logan may not have the nightlife that a big city does, but Mayberry is just fine with us!”

Todd Compton

ROBERT ROSS: Assistant Professor, Political Science

PhD: University of Houston

Areas of Research: American political and constitutional development

Quote: “Coming to Utah State University was very much like coming home. My wife and I both grew up in Idaho and went to school in Utah for our undergraduate degrees. Graduate school, however, took us to Chicago and Houston, far removed from our families and the mountains. We definitely loved our experiences living in those areas, but we were excited when the opportunity to return to Utah became available. Our family, especially our two kids (9-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter), has enjoyed returning to a smaller community and an area where outdoor activities are plentiful. Both personally and professionally, Logan and Utah State have been an ideal fit for me and my family.”