Robert Kent Tiemens (Ph.D., University of Iowa) passed away from complications associated with COVID-19 on March 30, 2020 in a Colorado Springs Hospital at the age of 84.

Professor Tiemens was recruited away from Wayne State University in 1972 to become Professor and Division Director of Journalism & Mass Communication in the newly configured Department of Communication at the University of Utah.  He was a leading pioneer in the fledging area of film/television production research.  His seminal studies on camera angle and screen placement influences on viewers’ perceptions established the University of Utah as a major research program that attracted graduate students from across the country.  He established a close working relationship with television production theorist Herbert Zettl of San Francisco State University that led to a highly acclaimed program of research that resulted in a wide array of ground breaking studies.  Dr. Tiemens’ graduate students went on to establish programs of visual communication research at Temple University, Concordia University, Ohio State University and University of Georgia, among others.  He founded the annual Vis Comm Conference that continues to present.  A highly talented academic administrator, he served as Department Chair at both the University of Utah and the University of New Mexico.

Robert “Bob” Tiemens was admired and loved throughout the communication discipline.  He had a million-dollar smile that could light up a room, and was seen as a gracious and gentle gentleman.  He was described as a “classy guy who was full of joy and wry humor” a “master teacher,” and a “model mentor.”   He had a positive impact on everyone who had the privilege of working with him.  Although confined to an assisted living facility in recent years, colleagues and former students from across the entire field of communication continued to reach out to Bob for advice and counsel.  One of the brightest stars in our academic solar system, Bob Tiemens was truly one of a kind.

Obituary courtesy of Craig Denton
Photo: VisCom Conference archives, “Hooding” party, Midway UT, 2006


Professor of Communication - Visual Communication and Digital Media
Department of Communication & Graphic Design
Roger Williams University, Bristol, RI, U.S.
Research interests include web, usability, visual rhetoric, cultural aesthetics, material culture and other modalities and media that deal with the cultural impact of images and music.

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