As a young girl growing up in North Carolina, Liz Dixon marveled at the floor-to-ceiling books that lined the office of her father—a professor of political science at a small liberal arts college. “Have you read all these books?” she asked him, “I mean all these books?” Her father replied: “All of them. Twice.”
Dixon’s father has been close to her heart throughout her career and especially this past year as she became an associate professor for the Romney Institute for Public Service and Ethics at the BYU Marriott School of Business. Throughout the last 22 years, Dixon has taught as an adjunct professor, coached case competition teams, directed a writing center within the institute, and served on the BYU Marriott Leadership Council. This new appointment as associate professor allows Dixon to dive even deeper into her favorite academic pastime: helping to transform people into Christlike communicators.
Dixon discovered her passion for clear, purposeful communication early in her career as a healthcare consultant. As she distilled complex concepts and data to present to large audiences, she realized, “I could disarm people and help them feel comfortable.”
One healthcare client called her “Liz the Wiz” because she had a seemingly magical ability to connect with even the toughest of audiences. Dixon credits her father for this skill. “I learned from my dad that instead of getting defensive or shrinking, I could say, ‘Show me what you mean.’”
Since 2001, Dixon has generously shared her expertise with the BYU Marriott community. “I love watching the transformation of people who were scared to death become completely comfortable as presenters and communicators,” she says.
In her new role, Dixon oversees the curriculum as well as the professors who teach M COM 320: Management Communication—a required course for all students across the business school. She embraces this opportunity to further the vision, mission, and values of BYU Marriott by training students to practice ethical communication.
“In the end, your discipleship comes down to how you interact with other people,” Dixon says. “In M COM 320 we teach a secular subject bathed in the light of the gospel. I feel so passionately about making sure that every student who takes the course feels that.”
Dixon is also eager to equip future public servants with the unique communication skills they need. “The public is a nebulous, big mass of many different stakeholders, most of whom have competing interests,” Dixon explains. “Public servants must choose language that will connect with different audiences and competing groups.”
Whether she’s commanding a large audience, mentoring individual students, or fine-tuning course curriculum, “Liz the Wiz” is committed to helping students become Christlike communicators.
Dixon’s three children are now grown, but her youngest child, a student at BYU Marriott, echoes Dixon’s own words when she drops by the office and asks her mom, “Have you really read all these books?” Dixon’s answer is the same as her father’s.
Reading books twice is not the only way that Dixon carries on her father’s legacy, though.
As she begins this new chapter in her career, she reflects, “He helped people find their potential, and that brought him joy. And that's the best part of my job.”