Avery E. Holton
  • Department Chair, Communication
  • Associate Professor, Communication
  • Co-Research Coordinator, Center for Excellence in ELSI Research


  • Doctor of Philosophy, College of Communication, The University of Texas at Austin (William Powers Fellow)
  • Doctoral Certification, Disabilities Studies (Texas Center for Disabilities Studies), The University of Texas at Austin


Avery was appointed Chair of the Department of Communication at the University of Utah in 2021 after previously serving as an Associate Chair. His research engages digital and social media, news and information, and constructs of health, identity and ability. He serves as the University's Student Media Advisor and is an appointed Humanities Scholar, working with first-year students as they transition into Humanities courses at the University. He also serves as a Research Co-Coordinator for Utah's Center for Excellence in Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications Research (UCEER), which is currently funded by a $3.9 million grant from the National Institutes of Health.
He makes his home in Salt Lake City with his wife, Katy, who is the director of a national trade education program, and their rescue dogs, Dezi and Roark.
Avery was selected in 2018-2020 as a Vice President's Clinical and Translational Research Scholar for his work in the areas of journalism, social media and health communication. He concurrently served as the Journalism Sequence Coordinator in the Department of Communication and additionally was selected as a Digital Journalism Research Fellow with Oslo Metropolitan University in 2019. 
He was named a 2018 National Humanities Center Fellow for his work in the area of genetic information and its translation into digital and social media. This work is part of a larger collaborative project run through UCEER, which has been supported by two multi-million dollar grants ($3.8 million for 2017-2020 and $3.9 million for 2021-2024) from the National Institutes of Health and the National Human Genome Research Institute. Through UCEER, he also serves as a research mentor for graduate and undergraduate students who identify with a disability. 
Additionally, he was named Faculty Researcher of the Year in 2014 and a 2018 Rising Star in the Humanities.
His research has appeared in more than 80 journal articles and book chapters. His courses focus on digital and social media, innovative technology, and news. He previously collaborated on an H2 Honors Fellowship, helping construct and teach courses in Utah's Honor College. He again served the Honors College in 2019-2020 as a co-instructor for a Praxis Lab on misinformation. 
He completed his PhD as a William Powers Fellow in the College of Communication at the University of Texas Austin in 2013. He also received a Doctoral Certification in Disabilities Studies.
Avery is a former journalist (Ft. Worth Star-Telegram) and communications specialist (Triple-A Round Rock Express-Houston Astros organization).