Byron Pearson, J.D., Ph.D.
Department Head, Associate Professor of History
Office: Old Main, Room 407A
Dr. Pearson, head of the Department of History, earned his Ph.D. in American history from the University of Arizona in 1998 and joined the faculty at West Texas A&M University in 2000 as an assistant professor of history, having turned from the "dark side" of the practice of law. In 2006, he earned tenure, was promoted to associate professor and assumed the duties as head of the Department of History in January of 2008.
Teaching and Related Service
Although Dr. Pearson is both an administrator and professor, teaching and working with students remain his highest academic priorities. He teaches American history courses on the Gilded Age, Progressive Era, American West, U.S. environmental history and Native American history. He has received 22 teaching awards at WTAMU including recognition by the Mortar Board Honor Society as an "outstanding faculty member" eight times, most recently in 2011, won the West Texas A&M University Teaching Excellence Award in 2004, was recognized by the faculty senate as the University’s Magister Optimus in 2009, awarded the title of Provost Professor for 2009-2010, and most recently, received Chancellor's Teaching Excellence Awards for spring and fall of 2011.
Research and Creative Activity
Dr. Pearson believes scholarship and teaching excellence go hand-in-hand. His first book, Still the Wild River Runs: Congress the Sierra Club and the Fight to Save Grand Canyon, was published by the University of Arizona Press in 2002. Dr. Pearson has published over 20 refereed journal articles and scholarly book reviews in venues such as the Journal of American History, Western Historical Quarterly, and the Pacific Historical Review. He most recently presented scholarly papers at the annual meetings of the American Society for Environmental History in 2010 and 2011 and will publish an article in Forest History Today in Spring of 2012.
Dr. Pearson's amazing wife Kim, sons, Nate and Josh, and step-daughters Cammy and Cassie, make life worth living. Striving to be a good husband and dad takes precedence over everything else he does. In what spare time he has, Dr. Pearson plays blues and classical piano, acoustic guitar and mandolin, coaches youth soccer and baseball, works out, and whenever possible, he fishes small technical cold-water streams with tiny flies, preferably in inclement weather.