The College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences announced Michael Searcy as the new department chair of the BYU Anthropology Department, effective June 15, 2022. Searcy replaced James Allison, who served as department chair since 2016.
“Professor Searcy is an excellent scholar across anthropological disciplines and also brings administrative skills gained as director of the New World Archaeological Foundation for the past five years,” said Laura Padilla-Walker, dean of the College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences. “I’m grateful for his willingness to accept this responsibility and lend his time and expertise to leading the department.”
In 2020, Searcy received the Martin B. Hickman Excellence in teaching award from the college, and from 2015-2018, he was a Butler Young Scholar in Western Studies, awarded by the Charles Redd Center. Much of Searcy’s research focuses on the Casas Grandes cultural tradition of northwest Mexico.
“As department chair, my primary goal is to create unity and equity across subfields and for all our students,” said Searcy. “I’m a huge anthropology advocate with interest in both archaeology and socio-cultural anthropology. We offer a lot of wonderful experiences to help all our students gain a foundational and valuable education in understanding the human experience.”
The Anthropology Department is celebrating its 75th anniversary. The program is unique in that it has offered students experiential learning and mentoring opportunities for more than 50 years with field schools and through participation in projects run by BYU’s Office of Public Archaeology. As a discipline, anthropology trains students to interpret human behavior in the context of modern and past civilizations.
“Professor Allison greatly contributed to a legacy of experiential learning that is an important appeal for students who choose to study anthropology at BYU,” says Padilla-Walker. “We appreciate his contribution as department chair over the past six years.”
Learn more about studying anthropology at BYU.