Our university conference theme comes from Doctrine and Covenants 64:34:
Behold, the Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind.
It seems quite natural to talk about “a willing mind” in this setting of academics—with nearly 1,500 of you whose training and trade is thinking, sharing the products of your thinking with your disciplines, and guiding and focusing the thinking of students. The product of the mind is our business. However, in undertaking His work, the Lord requires both a willing mind and the heart. Nelson Mandela once wrote, “A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.”1
One might ask why the Lord needs both our minds and our hearts. It can be argued that the heart is the center of our humanity and the source of our love, motivation, desire, joy, anguish, satisfaction, hope, and aspiration. Consider for a moment how references to the heart are woven so frequently into our everyday idiomatic conversation: soft heart, hard heart, kind heart, halfhearted, bleeding heart, broken heart, heartthrob, heavy heart, faint of heart, eating your heart out, aching heart, from the bottom of your heart, the heart of the matter, follow your heart, heart of stone, heart of gold, bless his heart, heart-to-heart, learn by heart, sinking heart, makes my heart sing, my heart skips a beat, young at heart, pure in heart, my heart isn’t in it, pour your heart out, take heart. . . . I am sure you can think of even more examples. It seems that it is more the heart than the mind that defines us.
You may have read in the national media in recent weeks the touching story of a woman from Swissvale, Pennsylvania, by the name of Jeni Stepien. In 2006 Jeni’s father was shot by a sixteen-year-old assailant in a robbery. He was mortally wounded, and the family made the difficult decision to donate his organs. Arthur Thomas from New Jersey, then sixty-two years old and suffering from congestive heart failure, was the recipient of Mr. Stepien’s heart.
Late last year, ten years after losing her father, Jeni Stepien was engaged to be married, and her first thought after her engagement was, “Who will walk me down the aisle?”
At her fiancé’s suggestion, Ms. Stepien asked Arthur Thomas—the recipient of her father’s donor heart—to do the honors, and he agreed.
The wedding took place in the church in Swissvale in which Ms. Stepien’s parents had been married. Mr. Thomas suggested that as they walked down the aisle, Jeni grip his wrist, where his pulse was the strongest: “I thought that would be the best way for her to feel close to her dad,” he said, adding, “That’s her father’s heart beating.”
After the ceremony the bride was photographed with her hand on Mr. Thomas’s chest. “I felt wonderful about bringing her dad’s heart,” said Mr. Thomas. “If I had to, I would’ve walked.”2
In our Latter-day Saint scriptural canon there are 1,534 references to the heart—roughly one every page and a half, on average. There are 475 references to the mind. In our university conference theme, the Lord declared to His servants that He required both. His need for both heart and mind in the lives of those who embark in His work of building Zion should not surprise us, since we are taught that “the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind” (Moses 7:18).
I have long thought that, physiologically, the brain was in charge of our body—that it was the master control center. It stands at the head, sending signals to govern our motion, sensing and reacting to sensory input, telling us when to eat and when to sleep, and processing what we see and hear and touch.
Recent research has revealed that the heart has much more control over the brain than was previously known. There are tens of thousands of sensory neurons that relay information from the heart to the brain. In fact, the heart sends more information to the brain than the brain sends to the heart. “The heart produces hormones released into the bloodstream” that affect the entire body. “The heart emits an electrical field 60 times greater in amplitude than the activity in the brain and an electromagnetic field 5,000 times stronger than that of the brain.” Like the brain, the heart has a complex network of neurons, neurotransmitters, proteins, and support cells that equip it to act independently of the cranial brain.3
What seems very clear is that physiologically, the heart and the brain work in tandem, communicating with and complementing each other, each with its own set of unique responsibilities in the body’s operation. Emotional and psychological health are linked intimately to the health of the heart. Interestingly, for so many who dread and feel extreme stress at work, researchers have shown that more people have heart attacks on Monday than on any other day of the week.4
Now I don’t know whether the anatomical heart is the center of our emotions, but if it does play a role, we should not wonder why the Lord asks for both heart and mind in His work. To attempt His work with the mind only is, well, even less than halfhearted. Especially at BYU, the Lord needs the willing mind; He needs your extraordinary intellect, shaped and sharpened through extensive study. He also needs your heart. As President Spencer W. Kimball stated in 1967:
The uniqueness of Brigham Young University lies in its special role—education for eternity—which it must carry in addition to the usual tasks of a university. This means concern—curricular and behavioral—for not only the “whole man” but for the “eternal man.”5
As a university, we will not achieve our mission “to assist individuals in their quest for perfection and eternal life”6 without bringing our minds and our hearts to bear. If we approach our assignment here without both mind and heart, BYU will be only a superb university, not unlike other very fine universities. However, our charge and our aspirations are much grander.
In the remainder of my remarks today I wish to explore several ways that serving from our hearts magnifies serving only with very able minds. I will share six observations I see generally in you whose hearts guide your service here, and along the way I will provide some information relevant to us at this time. Throughout our time together we will hear from some of our faculty colleagues and the students they have influenced. Our story is best told by you and the students you touch.
1. My first observation is that faculty guided by their hearts are profoundly and energetically interested in the learning of their students.
This is crucial when we realize that the university must now deny admission to one applicant for every one that is admitted. One of the many ways this observation is manifest is through careful attention to program learning outcomes. Students should understand what they can expect from a program, and faculty should understand how their courses contribute to those expectations.
In an effort to effect continued improvement of learning outcomes at the university, last summer and fall we undertook a campuswide effort to improve the assessment process in all colleges, including General Education. Associate deans on the University Curriculum Council and their college curriculum councils worked with departments to improve and update the learning-outcomes alignment tables for their programs. The Center for Teaching and Learning provided important assistance in this task. Associate deans reported changes made by each department, including examples of improvement, to the university administration. These changes were compiled in a report to our accreditor, the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
I express deep appreciation for this significant effort to improve the quality of learning outcomes and assessment methods across the university. I hope this will improve the learning experience for our students. We will continue to refine our assessment methods and to use assessment to improve student learning.
Achieving the aims of a BYU education is at the core of our student-learning experience and should serve to guide the details of our teaching. Let me introduce you to Shu Pei Wang of the Department of Asian and Near Eastern Languages, who will describe how she seeks to put her students on the path of lifelong learning—both in what she teaches and in what she models herself. [Video7]
Professor Wang has distinguished herself as an attentive, caring instructor whose efforts are centered on the learning of her students. I share one student comment from her teaching evaluations:
It may seem exaggerated, but what I have learned from Wang Laoshi and her testimony has altered the trajectory of my life. She has taught—no, shown—me how to continually seek improvement, to take risks, and to have faith that we ultimately can succeed. [She is] one of my favorites, if not my absolute favorite teacher, at BYU. She has a gift for teaching, a gift for loving her students, and a gift for speaking the language of the Spirit using both Chinese and English. It was an honor to take a class from her.
Student perception of our teaching effectiveness is a valuable tool in assessing our attention to their learning. We are just completing our first full year using the new student ratings instrument. You will recall that a faculty committee worked on the development of this new instrument for seven years. The new survey tool is shorter, focuses more specifically on student perception of the instructor’s effectiveness and the achievement of the four aims of a BYU education, and provides an opportunity for student comments on all survey questions. Students seem to be happier with the new instrument. Average student response rates have climbed from 67 percent in 2014 using the old tool to 73 percent in winter semester 2016. These response rates are considerably higher than rates for similar student evaluations of which we are aware at other universities.
One of the significant advantages of the new tool is that it gives us an estimate of the margin of error for the instructor composite score, the number derived from student responses to the five questions seeking to gauge instructor effectiveness. We have encouraged department chairs, deans, and faculty members to interpret the student ratings in light of these uncertainty ranges. With each new semester we accumulate ratings information that can be used to more reliably track the historical trends in our student evaluations. The more data we gather, the tighter the margin of error, lending greater confidence to the results. We continue to evaluate the reliability of the instructor composite score means, the stability of ratings across semesters, and other statistical properties of the ratings.
Last year we met with all department chairs to present and discuss the new ratings instrument. We have made some refinements to the instrument based on their input and on your helpful suggestions. Minor formatting changes were made to the survey questions to improve clarity, to encourage student narrative response to the survey items, to provide additional context, and to increase usefulness for both faculty and administrators.
Some of you were concerned that the item-specific comment boxes did not permit students to summarize their overall experience in the course. Consequently, we added an additional question to the tool: “What additional comments do you have about the instructor or course?” We counsel you to strongly encourage student participation in the evaluations for each class, since higher response rates reduce the margin of error.
As we rolled out the new student ratings instrument, we wondered how it would impact the formative evaluations used in annual stewardship interviews and the summative evaluations used in rank and status reviews. General feedback is that the new instrument has been beneficial in the annual stewardship evaluations. Coupled with midsemester evaluations, data from the new instrument serve to guide faculty in improving their teaching. Rank and status files submitted in the past year to the various evaluation committees included student-evaluation data from both the previous and the new student-ratings instruments. It appears that the inclusion of data from the two different instruments resulted in few challenges during these reviews. Calibration between the old and new instrument was facilitated by earlier pilot studies revealing a very high correlation (in the high 90 percent) between the overall instructor ratings for the previous instrument and the composite rating of the new instrument.
We understand that student evaluations have limitations.8 In all of our discussions of the new student-ratings instrument, I have stressed that student ratings are only one element of a comprehensive strategy for assessing student learning and instructor effectiveness. Our next step in pursuing that strategy is the exploration of a robust approach to peer evaluation of teaching. This year we are assembling a task force to undertake the development of an approach for effective and efficient peer evaluation of teaching. As we launch this effort, we recognize that peer evaluation of teaching can be a time-intensive endeavor. We will seek to develop a principle-based methodology that can be adapted to disciplines across campus but that is also sensitive to the load of the peer evaluator. You will undoubtedly hear more about this in the future.
Our mission is to “assist individuals in their quest for perfection and eternal life . . . in a stimulating setting where a commitment to excellence is expected and the full realization of human potential is pursued.”9 I suspect that you routinely seek the best for your students, often imploring heaven in their behalf.
In his address on this campus in 1967, President Kimball stated to the faculty:
I would want [the students] . . . to know instinctively by your spirit that you were that morning on your knees with your family and that there were soft words of pleading to your Heavenly Father for guidance, not only for your little family kneeling with you but for your larger family also at that moment scurrying about their apartments to get ready for your class.10
This is done quietly and invisibly as you “pour out your souls in your closets, and your secret places, and in your wilderness” (Alma 34:26)—and, I might add, in your classrooms, your studios, your laboratories, and your clinics. Your interactions with students every day reflect your deep interest—interest from the heart—in their learning and growth.
The experience of one of our nursing students, Ragan Porter, illustrates this kind of influence by Kent Blad, associate dean in the College of Nursing. [Video11]
President Gordon B. Hinckley’s declaration on the occasion of President Cecil O. Samuelson’s inauguration in September 2003 is relevant here:
We should not have failures on this campus. We are more than teachers. We are shepherds. And we know that the spirit of shepherding resides in the hearts of those who serve here as members of the great Brigham Young University faculty.12
2. Faculty who are motivated by the heart are more interested in what they give than in what they get.
President Kimball stated, “This university is not the place for mercenaries.”13 So many of you could be elsewhere—with higher salary, more space, more time for research, and more equipment—but you have chosen BYU, often at some sacrifice. Despite sacrifices, I believe we have compensatory help. With increasing frequency, it seems, our faculty and students are recognized nationally and internationally for their accomplishments. Faculty are drawn here by our mission, with a preeminent commitment to students and a deep desire to contribute in unique ways in this unique environment. Professor Brad Bundy of the Department of Chemical Engineering articulates the sentiment of so many of you. [Video14]
I am grateful for the influence you have in students’ lives. We have a rich tradition of this kind of influence. I want to commend departments for careful attention to quality hiring in building this kind of unique faculty. I recognize that faculty recruitment is a time-intensive process, but it is an opportunity to continue to build and strengthen programs.
Faculty hiring at BYU is nominally a three-decade commitment for the large majority of faculty. When new department chairs and deans are appointed, I tell them that they will deal with a variety of issues—students, financial management, space allocation, curriculum, research, etc. I try to reinforce that, while all of these matters are important, the single most important decision they will make will be their recommendation of new faculty for hire and the subsequent development of those hires.
We begin each search process with a pool of applicants who are equipped—through the quality of their graduate programs and the rigor of their preparation in the discipline—
to contribute in significant ways through their scholarship. Of that candidate pool, a subset is identified who are also passionately committed to teaching here and for whom interaction with students will be their priority. The pool is further filtered as we select applicants who are uniquely and unapologetically anxious to both intellectually enlarge and spiritually strengthen students—applicants who are prepared to serve with both mind and heart.
In the last seven years, after 904 faculty campus interviews, we have hired 435 continuing faculty status–track faculty. Think of the impact of your hard work. In those seven years we have replaced nearly one-third of the total complement of continuing faculty status–track faculty at the university.
We approach our rank and status decisions with the same care, and we see retention and promotion through the same lens as we do the hiring process. We hire only those who we think will be successful here, and we seek university processes and resources to maximize the possibility of success. I hope the motivation for qualifying for continuing faculty status and promotion at the university comes from the heart rather than from the Rank and Status Policy.
Since 2010, after careful review at multiple levels, 271 faculty have been awarded continuing faculty status, 226 faculty have been promoted to the rank of associate professor, and 175 have been promoted to the rank of full professor. Based on the quality of the faculty we hire and the mentoring provided, we believe our success rates in the rank and status process are higher than at comparable universities. BYU’s fulfillment of its core mission rises and falls on your contributions as faculty, and your influence extends far beyond the development of students’ ability to think.
3. Faculty serving with the heart are committed and equipped to bring heaven’s influence into their interactions with students.
Let me quote from a 1975 address President Kimball gave here at BYU:
Your light must have a special glow, for while you will do many things in the programs of this university that are done elsewhere, these same things can and must be done better here than others do them. You will also do some special things here that are left undone by other institutions.15
Learning seems to flourish when it is cultivated in an inspired environment. Before they are hired, all full-time faculty at BYU are approved by the BYU Board of Trustees, which is chaired by the First Presidency of the Church. The finest disciplinary preparation of faculty is a baseline expectation for them, and the board trusts us to make that evaluation. My sense is that what they are most keenly interested in is our ability to build faith in the students. That sets you apart from any other faculty body in the world.
The “double heritage and dual concerns with the secular and the spiritual”16 that President Kimball spoke of and that we embrace here are exemplified by Doug Prawitt of the School of Accountancy in the Marriott School. [Video17]
Each of us approaches this dual stewardship in our own way, and part of the beauty of the student experience during the students’ time at BYU is that they see multiple personalities and multiple approaches to faithful learning. Imagine the impact on a student who sees a faculty member who has distinguished herself in her discipline and who is thoughtful and open about her faith.
4. Passionate learning is driven by the heart, and passionate faculty learners seek to imbue students with that same love.
In his address at the inauguration of President Kevin J Worthen, President Henry B. Eyring observed:
This is a vibrant and determined community of learners and lifters. Students, faculty, and staff here are driven by a desire and a strength of mind to learn as fast as they can. . . .
It goes beyond learning for ourselves. The vision at the founding was that all here will seek truth not for themselves alone but will also distribute what they have learned to bless others.18
I could draw examples from so many of you whose appetite for knowledge is infectious. Listen to Kristin Matthews from the Department of English and her students. [Video19] Professor Matthews’s skill at shaping character through the transformational power of learning may be summarized in one student comment:
Everything I learned in Dr. Matthews’s class encourages me to be a more thoughtful, kind, open, questioning, considerate, brave, and diligent person.
Learning is part of our doctrine. “Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection” (D&C 130:18). As faculty, we are likely here because we were inspired by engaging teachers. It is our opportunity now to extend this chain of learners as we interact with our students.
5. Our motivation to continually improve the student experience comes from the heart, and it bears fruit both in and out of the classroom.
This happens through regular revision of syllabi; modification of learning outcomes; refinement of curriculum; invitations to students to join us in the lab, the library, the field, or the studio; and pursuit of career-development opportunities for them. You have heard President Worthen’s emphasis on the student experience and particularly on the kind of inspiring learning that occurs in experiential settings. Last year President Worthen authorized the distribution of a significant sum of one-time money as direct support for student experiential learning. Such learning spans a wide range of activities, including field studies, study abroad, on- and off-campus internships, mentored research, and capstone experiences. That our students highly value these experiences is seen in the numbers:
• By their own report in the most recent Senior Survey, 53 percent of our students have worked regularly with a faculty member outside of class for at least one semester—up from 47 percent five years ago.
• Last year the university awarded $615,000 in ORCA Grants and $1.9 million in Mentoring Environment Grants. In the last decade the university has supported, on average, more than 500 students per year in mentoring experiences through these grant programs.
• Fifty-seven percent of our graduating students in 2014–15 held an off-campus internship for at least one semester—an increase from 41 percent ten years ago. More than 4,000 students registered for credit-bearing internship opportunities last year.
• This year the International Study Programs office processed more than 1,800 students abroad in foreign experiences, with roughly one-fifth of those in international internships. Student applications to the International Study Programs office increased from 1,800 students in 2001 to more than 4,200 students this past year.
All of these numbers illustrate our intense interest in the student experience at BYU. Such enriching experiences require faculty interest, thought, and time beyond traditional classroom teaching. Thank you for facilitating these opportunities for our bright undergraduates.
As one example of a colleague who continually seeks to improve the student experience, let me introduce you to Greg Stallings from the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. As an introduction to this video clip, I will share a student comment from one of his Spanish literature courses:
From the time my teachers started assigning homework [in middle school] until the time I took this class, I had completely forgotten that reading is cool. If not for [this class,] I likely would have gone years without checking out a book from the library—something which I have already done multiple times this semester. . . . Professor Stallings was indeed successful in sharing his love for the fine arts, and for that I am grateful.
A new campus initiative to enhance the student experience is the expanded opportunity for BYU-hosted online courses. The online delivery of educational content is becoming increasingly important in educational institutions across the country. While definitive data are difficult to find, a 2010 survey estimated that more than one-fourth (27 percent) “of all high school students took at least one class online,” which was “up from 14 percent the year before.”21
An increasing number of states are enacting legislation requiring students to take at least one online course for high school graduation.22 In the last eight years, the number of online high school courses offered through state-sponsored virtual schools in this country increased from just over 300,000 to nearly 750,000.23 Nationally, the number of students who access online learning resources as part of their college experience is significant and appears to be growing. The 2012 Survey of Online Learning showed that 32 percent “of higher education students now take at least one course online.”24
Our BYU matriculated students have accessed online courses through Independent Study for a number of years. Students have paid tuition for these courses beyond their day-school tuition, underlining their motivation to pursue part of their education in this delivery format. In the past, Independent Study students have had a year to complete the course with little supervision, although new federal regulations will now require our students who enroll in Independent Study courses to complete the course in one semester. In the last ten years, between one-fourth and one-third (22 percent and 31 percent) of students completed Independent Study to fulfill graduation requirements. Our students clearly appreciate the flexibility that comes with online classes.
At President Worthen’s direction, we have undertaken the development of online courses that our students can take as part of their day-school load and tuition. The motivations for this initiative are several, but all of them seek to enhance the experience of our own students:
1. Students seek the scheduling flexibility of online courses.
2. It is believed that online courses may relieve pressure on our classrooms and other physical facilities.
3. Finally, it is our feeling that when they leave here, students will enter professional settings in which they will need to know how to learn independently online.
President Worthen’s goal has been that by 2020 all entering freshmen at BYU can take fifteen credits online toward graduation. It is estimated that to reach this goal we will need 600 to 700 sections of online courses. We are determined to ensure that these courses preserve the BYU experience. We are calling this effort BYU Online to distinguish it from Independent Study. As with traditional classroom courses, BYU Online is available only to our students, is semester or term based, and may be taken as part of their day-school tuition. BYU Online courses feature regular checkpoints with students during the semester to ensure their progress. These courses are being developed in a partnership between faculty in departments across campus who have the disciplinary expertise and Continuing Education, which has the online design and pedagogical experience and provides support to academic departments for course development and delivery.
My office is providing funding for departments whose faculty are relieved of other duties to help in the development of BYU Online courses. Students will substitute enrollment in traditional courses with enrollment in their online counterparts. Thus, because these courses enroll our day-school students, teaching these courses will be done as part of faculty load. As with traditional day-school courses, adjuncts may be carefully considered to teach BYU Online courses and will be funded as adjuncts have been funded in day-school courses. When teaching assistants are used in BYU Online courses, it is anticipated that they will be funded from a combination of department and college day-school resources, university funds, and resources from Continuing Education.
We currently have thirty-one BYU Online courses ready for fall semester, representing forty-nine sections with 2,284 enrollments so far. The BYU Online courses currently implemented are in seven colleges, as well as student-development courses in Student Life. Generally, student demand exceeds the enrollment ceiling we currently impose on these courses, and there is a large waiting list for each course. There are eleven BYU Online courses under active development, and eight more courses were approved for development in the last two weeks. New courses are regularly being proposed and evaluated for adoption. We have been open to the exploration of hybrid courses in those departments in which the combination of traditional classroom instruction and online content delivery seems preferable. Extensive mechanisms are in place to assess learning outcomes from our online courses, and those processes are being continually refined.
I express appreciation for your engagement in the BYU Online initiative and for the partnership of Continuing Education in this effort. I believe this will enhance our students’ experience here.
As we pursue BYU Online, we recognize that the new student-ratings instrument we now use may not be appropriate for online courses. The instrument focuses on student perception of instructor effectiveness, and online courses are formatted differently: the student experience seems more likely to be centered on the course than on the instructor. Beginning this fall, under the leadership of Associate Academic Vice President Brad Neiger, a task force will begin to explore an appropriate assessment tool for BYU Online courses.
I must acknowledge that not all is rosy with regard to the student experience. One concern has weighed on me for several years. We currently have fifty-two limited-enrollment programs at the university. Students seeking entrance to these programs complete a set of prerequisite courses and are admitted competitively on the basis of their performance in these courses. For the most recent university admission class (2015), approximately one-fourth of admitted applicants did not specify a preferred major that they wish to pursue. Of those who did specify a major preference, five of the top seven preferred majors are limited-enrollment programs, and one-third (33.6 percent) of admitted students declare limited-enrollment programs as their major of preference.
We have a university total capacity in all limited-enrollment programs of approximately 5,600 students—roughly one-fifth of the undergraduate student body. Over the past four years these programs have been able to accommodate an average of fewer than 60 percent of the applicants. So it is not uncommon for applicants to the university to have crossed the extraordinarily high bar in gaining admission to BYU only to find that they cannot pursue their major of choice. Indeed, it may be concluded that as many as 4,000 of our students may not be in their major of choice. I am quick to acknowledge that there are real limits to capacity in these programs, and some students are not equipped to be successful in them. I would hope that through creative strategies and other efficiencies we could accommodate more of those who apply to limited-enrollment programs. We will continue to explore ways to open this bottleneck.
I pause here to state that the video clips we have viewed today are part of the Faith and Learning Initiative in the Faculty Center. They are samples of multiple video segments and university addresses focusing on our unique mission. I thank the Faculty Center for their vision and their good work in this area, and I invite you to visit the Faith and Learning website to explore other ways to expand your ability to achieve the mission of BYU.25
6. I end today with the final observation that BYU faculty who serve with heart seek and see the influence of the Holy Ghost in their work.
This happens in their teaching, in their research, in the development of curriculum, in their interaction with colleagues elsewhere, and in devotionals. You have experienced that subtle and sacred guidance in your teaching, and I see the influence of Spirit-guided teaching in student comments as part of teaching evaluations. I am sure the same can be said of your research activities. We repeatedly hear faculty describe the role of revelation in their research in devotionals and forums. President Kimball made the following observation, which I believe applies in the classroom and the laboratory:
We expect the natural unfolding of knowledge to occur as a result of scholarship, but there will always be that added dimension that the Lord can provide when we are qualified to receive and he chooses to speak.26
Our covenants put us in the position of qualifying for divine guidance in our work. If this place is as central to the building of the kingdom as declared in so many prophetic statements, we should not doubt that the windows of heaven will be flung open to permit the flow of knowledge in our stewardships. It strikes me that this may be the most critical reason that the Lord requires both “the heart and a willing mind” in the important work we do here. The Lord declared in Doctrine and Covenants 8:2–3:
Yea, behold, I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart.
Now, behold, this is the spirit of revelation.
Revelation is critical for this work, and revelation can come only when both mind and heart are aligned and engaged. Let me show one last video that illustrates this linkage in the context of the research activity of one of our colleagues. Tom Sederberg is a faculty member in the Computer Science Department with nearly forty years of outstanding teaching at BYU and international recognition and distinction in his research. [Video27]
Prophets have declared powerfully their vision for this university. While we may not see as they do, our hearts can feel the truth of what our minds may not yet conceive. In President Kimball’s remarks in 1975, quoting Ernest L. Wilkinson, past president of BYU, we find:
There were Brethren who had dreams regarding the growth and maturity of Brigham Young University . . . , yet “dreams and prophetic utterances are not self-executing. They are fulfilled usually by righteous and devoted people making the prophecies come true.”28
Thank you for the central role you play in the realization of those prophecies. I am not sure we have yet achieved what has been foreseen, but I am confident we will have heaven’s help to get there. Adding heart to mind in our work will transform our teaching to learning, our knowledge to wisdom, our study to discovery, and our sacrifice to consecration. I express my wish for a productive year.
1. Nelson Mandela, letter to Fatima Meer, 1 January 1976; in Fatima Meer, Higher Than Hope: The Authorized Biography of Nelson Mandela (New York: Harper and Row, 1990), 407.
2. Taken from Katie Rogers, “Bride Is Walked Down Aisle by the Man Who Got Her Father’s Donated Heart,” New York Times, 8 August 2016, nyti.ms/2b14cwS.
3. Dr. Joel Kahn, “7 Scientific Reasons You Should Listen to Your Heart (Not Your Brain),” mindbodygreen, 16 December 2013, mindbodygreen.com/0-11982/7-scientific-reasons-you-should-listen-to-your-heart-not-your-brain.html.
4. See Anahad O’Connor, “The Claim: Heart Attacks Are More Common on Mondays,” Health, New York Times, 14 March 2006, nytimes.com/2006/03/14/health/14real.html.
5. Spencer W. Kimball, “Education for Eternity,” pre-school address to BYU faculty and staff, 12 September 1967, 1; see also excerpted text in “Climbing the Hills Just Ahead: Three Addresses,” in John W. Welch and Don E. Norton, eds., Educating Zion (Provo: BYU Studies, 1996), 43.
6. The Mission of Brigham Young University and The Aims of a BYU Education (Provo: BYU, 2014), 1.
7. See Shu Pei Wang, video, Faith and Learning Initiative, youtu.be/oZ4ZjYCrm4w.
8. See Philip B. Stark, as summarized in Emma Pettit, “Play Down Student Evaluations, Professor Says, to Paint Richer Portrait of Good Teaching,” Chronicle of Higher Education 62, no. 40 (8 July 2016): A9.
9. Mission and Aims, 1.
10. Kimball, “Education for Eternity,” 8; see Welch and Norton, Educating Zion, 50.
11. See Ragan Porter, video, Faith and Learning Initiative, youtu.be/wgf2ha3qjY0.
12. Gordon B. Hinckley, “Remarks at the Inauguration of President Cecil O. Samuelson,” BYU devotional address, 9 September 2003.
13. Kimball, “Education for Eternity,” 7; see Welch and Norton, Educating Zion, 50.
14. See Brad Bundy, video, Faith and Learning Initiative, youtu.be/HGaqhxoNkoQ.
15. Spencer W. Kimball, “The Second Century of Brigham Young University,” BYU devotional address, 10 October 1975; see also excerpted text in “Climbing the Hills,” in Welch and Norton, Educating Zion, 64.
16. Kimball, “Second Century”; see Welch and Norton, Educating Zion, 64.
17. See Doug Prawitt, video, Faith and Learning Initiative, youtu.be/mOYaDFYDHws.
18. Henry B. Eyring, “A Leader of Learners,” BYU devotional address at the inauguration of President Kevin J Worthen, 9 September 2014.
19. See Kristin Matthews, video, Faith and Learning Initiative, youtu.be/JqucLQ6_z9g.
20. See Greg Stallings, video, Faith and Learning Initiative, youtu.be/ZhbZk-asEPw.
21. David Nagel, “Report: Online Learning Nearly Doubles Among High School Students,” Research, The Journal, 29 June 2010, thejournal.com/articles/2010/06/29/report-online-learning-nearly-doubles-among-high-school-students.aspx.
22. See Kelsey Sheehy, “States, Districts Require Online Ed for High School Graduation,” High School Notes (blog), U.S. News and World Report, 24 October 2012, usnews.com/education/blogs/high-school-notes/2012/10/24/states-districts-require-online-ed-for-high-school-graduation.
23. See Jill Barshay, “Student Participation in K–12 Online Education Grows but Fewer
States Run Virtual Schools and Classes,”
Education by the Numbers (blog), Hechinger Report, 8 November 2013,
24. I. Elaine Allen and Jeff Seaman, “2012—Changing Course: Ten Years of Tracking Online Education in the United States,” Online Learning Consortium, January 2013, onlinelearningconsortium.org/survey_report/changing-course-ten-years-tracking-online-education-united-states.
25. See Faith and Learning Initiative: Achieving the Unique Mission of BYU, BYU Faculty Center, faithandlearning.byu.edu.
26. Kimball, “Second Century”; see Welch and Norton, Educating Zion, 71.
27. See Tom Sederberg, video, Faith and Learning Initiative, youtu.be/hyb-A9ixBzg.
28. In Kimball, “Second Century,” quoting Ernest L. Wilkinson and W. Cleon Skousen, Brigham Young University: A School of Destiny (Provo: Brigham Young University Press, 1976), 876; see Welch and Norton, Educating Zion, 74.
© Brigham Young University. All rights reserved.
Brent W. Webb, BYU academic vice president, delivered this university conference address at the faculty session on 22 August 2016.