Callister teaches courses in advertising, consumer behavior, persuasion, and research methods. He formerly taught at Western Illinois University in Macomb, Illinois. His research centers on family and the media, visual imagery in print advertising, and portrayals of the elderly in the media. He has published articles in the Journal of Current Issues & Research in Advertising, Journal of Aging Studies, The Encyclopedia of Human Emotions, Journal of Language and Social Psychology, Oncology Nursing Forum, Evaluation & the Health Professions, Journal of Children and Media, and Mass Communication & Society.
As a specialist in theories of persuasion and team work, he has consulted for Commonwealth Edison, Caterpillar, the Illinois Institute of Rural Affairs, Roquette-America, Institute for Applied Criminal Justice, and others.
He was selected as the Outstanding Teacher in June 2002 for the College of Fine Arts and Communication at Western Illinois University and awarded the Wayne N. Thompson Distinguished Professorship of Communication Award, 2000-01. At BYU he received the 2011-2012 Randall L. Morgan Teaching and Learning Fellowship.
Callister’s research gained media attention in 2008 when he steered away from the portrayal of older individuals and focused on the impact the portrayal of body image in children’s sitcoms. The article, which ran in the June issue of Body Image, was co-written by fellow professor Tom Robinson and Tahlea Jankoski, a graduate student.
In August 2008 he attended the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication annual convention and presented his paper, Substance Abuse in Teen Centered Film: 1980-2007. The paper was co-authored by graduate students Talita Stasevskas Pruett and Chris Near, and fellow faculty member Tom Robinson.
In 2012 Callister was named associate chair of Graduate Studies at BYU.