The Challenges of the 21st Century
President of Brigham Young University
August 26, 2002
President of Brigham Young University
August 26, 2002
Brothers and sisters, each year I approach this assignment with some apprehension because I believe the Annual University Conference is one of the most important events of the year. It is an opportunity for the faculty, staff, and administration of Brigham Young University to gather together and reset our course, to synchronize our compasses. Since the university’s journey began well before we entered the scene and will continue long after we are gone, the directions set in these meetings are critical for us and for those who follow. I appreciate very much those in attendance today and hope that you will lead a discussion in the colleges and departments regarding the topics presented.
This is also a time for new associates to begin the orientation process at this unique institution. A perceptive person soon learns that orientation is not a one-week or one-year activity but that it takes years to appreciate fully the university’s mission and to see how one may best contribute. The conference is also a time to recognize the achievements of various faculty and staff, as we have done this morning.
During last year’s Annual University Conference, five challenges and opportunities were presented. They included the following:
— building a university community;
— continuous reinvention;
— focusing resources;
— mentored student learning; and
— continual curriculum improvement.
My purpose today is not to issue new challenges but to provide a perspective on what lies ahead and encourage us to recommit to the opportunities just mentioned, especially in light of an ever-improving student body, continual faculty and staff turnover, new technology, and increasing donor support to our efforts.
Building a University Community
First, may I speak to the opportunity we have to build on the legacy of a strong community. I believe that the most important lesson learned from September 11, 2001, concerns the blessings that come in being part of a strong community. Sabotaged airliners crashing into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon did not fracture the American psyche or produce a crushing fear in the hearts of the people because the common beliefs shared by Americans were a unifying force that drew us close together and gave us the strength to carry on. Americans became even more determined to protect our freedoms and stand against terrorism. I am reminded of the Nephites, who banded together “to support their lands, and their houses, and their wives, and their children, that they might preserve them from the hands of their enemies; and also that they might preserve their rights and their privileges, yea, and also their liberty” (Alma 43:9). America rallied from New York in the east to California and Hawaii in the west in support of those who suffered most from the terrible events. We came closer together as a nation, willing to root out those with their secret combinations who would try to destroy our way of life. The enemy—a small band living in the wilderness and performing their terrorist acts in the cities of the world—would no longer be allowed to roam freely across the earth (see Helaman 2:11 and 3:23 for a close parallel).
As the principles of freedom united America during the past year, a common faith unites our community of higher learning. Brigham Young University is more than the sum of its individual parts. Generally the quality of a university is determined by summing the reputations of the faculty and staff. Faculty and staff accomplishments play a key role at BYU as well. But there is a force far beyond individual strengths that defines this institution. That force, the institution’s greatest asset, is the common faith that binds us together and that defines the university as part of the Lord’s kingdom and an integral part of His Church.
What can we do to continue building a strong sense of community? Obviously each person must live a righteous life. Each person should perform their professional role to the best of their ability. But there is one common assignment—easy to fulfill—that will bind us together more than any other. It is attendance at the weekly devotional. Last year faculty, staff, students, and the administration rose to the challenge, and attendance at devotionals doubled during the last 12 months. The response was tremendous. Again I issue a challenge for all of us to be in attendance throughout the new year. Students will be encouraged to do the same, but your influence is key in helping them see the value of devotionals.
As you know, we conduct an annual survey of alumni three years after their graduation. Every year the alumni identify the weekly devotional as the activity that had the most influence on their spiritual development at BYU. As faculty and staff, we invite you to attend every devotional in the Marriott Center. We ask you to help build a sense of community by discussing the subject matter for a brief moment in your classes or in the workplace that day or the next. Help us build a sense of community with the students. Encourage students to become full partners in building this part of the kingdom.
Increased Student Quality
My next topic concerns the steady increase in student quality, which is both a challenge and an opportunity. The Church continues to be blessed with rising generations of youth who possess marvelous gifts and talents. The quality of those attending BYU continues to rise both academically and spiritually, even though the standards of the world drift farther and farther from our own. Each year about 85,000 LDS youth graduate from high schools in North America. Many thousands more graduate in other countries around the world. When one considers the large numbers who would like to attend and the impact this institution has on their lives and the world, two questions arise. First: Who should be admitted? Second: How should the university make those decisions? The administration is concerned with these questions, along with the commissioner and the board of education.
A chart on GPAs for entering freshmen indicates the challenge that lies ahead. The average GPA 20 years ago was in the 3.3 to 3.4 range. Today, entering students average about 3.75, and the forecast for 2021 indicates a range of 3.9 to 4.0, if current admission criteria remain the same.
The second chart illustrates similar data for ACT scores. During the past 20 years the average ACT score for entering freshmen jumped from 23 to more than 27. A 20-year forecast suggests that scores will reach 30 as the applicant pool continues to grow. In fact, it may go higher for some specific reasons that we are looking at.
Because BYU seeks to develop students of faith, intellect, and character, other factors, in addition to GPA and ACT scores, are also considered. These include spiritual preparation, service, leadership, talents, and a person’s unique background and experiences. Spiritual preparation is essential to those who wish to study here. Faithful participation in the programs of the Church and a demonstration of lives in harmony with the principles of the restored gospel are important indicators of that preparation. Endorsements by local ecclesiastical leaders and recommendations by seminary teachers and others are the tools used to evaluate spiritual preparation. Applicants who are not endorsed are not admitted, regardless of other qualifications.
Other universities with large applicant pools of highly qualified students also take into consideration factors other than GPAs and national test scores. These factors include leadership and service experiences, plus the general and specialized abilities of the applicants. The reasoning of other universities is that many potential leaders of society will not receive straight A’s in high school or score necessarily at the highest level on national tests. To achieve a balance of interests and abilities in the student body, many universities, including ourselves, believe it is important that we consider these other factors as well. Clearly every student must be faithful and have a foundation in mathematics, writing, and the verbal skills necessary to succeed. But the admissions criteria may require some adjustments over time as the number of students with high academic scores continues to rise. To learn more about BYU admissions policies, please see admissions.byu.edu.
Two other characteristics of the BYU student body are worth noting. The first is the increasing multicultural diversity that reflects Church growth in the U.S. and around the world. The next chart illustrates the rapidly increasing number of U.S. multicultural students enrolled at BYU. These are not international students but U.S. citizens. The steep trend for U.S. multicultural students rises from less than 1,000 in 1986 to more than 3,000 in 2001. U.S. multicultural students represented only 3 percent of the student body 15 years ago, but represent 11 percent today. Forecasts for 20 years from now indicate that this group will approximate 7,000—almost 25 percent of the total student body. This category includes African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Pacific Islanders, and others. It appears that in the 1990s many second-generation multicultural LDS members reached college age and qualified to enter BYU. As noted earlier, this trend is consistent with Church growth in the U.S. during the last 30 years.
The next chart illustrates the growth in international students at BYU. Today, Church membership outside North America is more than 50 percent, but the economic challenges faced by international members severely limit their attendance. Also, local schooling in foreign countries may lead to more employment opportunities for international students than they might have if they receive their education in the U.S. That is not always true, but in some instances it is. Even so, the number of international students at Brigham Young University has shown a steady increase over time. The number has risen from 1,400 in the early 1980s to almost 2,100 today, and by 2021 the forecast is in the neighborhood of 2,800, or almost 10 percent of the student body.
Given today’s extraordinary, diverse student body and the exciting prospects for the future, it will require our best, both academically and spiritually, to challenge and support them in the learning process. Although our faculty have been trained at the best schools and may be at the forefront of their disciplines, the intellectual capacity of some students will exceed ours. The opportunity is to help them live up to their potential.
Most of our students are spiritually mature beyond their years. They have had experiences with the Spirit unlike their counterparts in the rest of the world. Many will sense a hollowness if we lack testimony or do not have the courage to defend the doctrines of the restored gospel. We must live in a manner that allows us access to the Spirit so that we may discern and fulfill the trust placed in us with regard to this extraordinary student body.
Faculty and Staff Renewal
Another challenge and opportunity is faculty and staff renewal. This takes two forms. The first is the personal quest of each faculty and staff member to be a lifelong learner and to engage in creative activities. Most faculty are engaged in scholarly activities that renew the spirit and energy of this institution and make it an exciting place for students. The university has been short of faculty development funds for a number of years. One of the key objectives for university development is to raise funds during the next five years to support more faculty renewal.
The second form of renewal comes through new hires. The next chart indicates that 537 new faculty have been hired during the last seven years and that another 305 will be hired in the next five, bringing the total to 842. That means approximately one-half of the faculty will be replaced in a 12-year period. This opportunity stems from the rapid growth of the university during the 1960s and 1970s, when many faculty were hired. Now, 30 years later, these faculty are reaching retirement age.
With almost no exceptions, the new faculty hired have come with exceptional training, new skills and interests, and a deep commitment to the intellectual and spiritual wellbeing of the students. The last few years have been an exciting time to be at this university. It has been enlightening to see the great interest the board takes in each new hire. The merits of every prospective candidate are discussed openly by the board before a commitment is made. Hiring decisions are the most important decisions made at this or any other university.
As we look ahead, the candidate pool for new faculty appears deep in most disciplines. There are a few areas where departments must become more engaged in encouraging graduates to leave and to prepare themselves as future faculty and also to help identify others who have not gone through our university but who are out there and who will fit our mold. Generally, however, there are extraordinary prospects that we have nurtured at the undergraduate level who are now at other institutions preparing to return. Again, we are in the midst of a major opportunity and challenge as we renew the faculty of the university. It behooves us to be very careful in making these decisions and in recognizing that there are really two screens that we work with. One is the academic screen, the professional screen. The other is the spiritual screen in terms of the kind of role models they will be for our students in every dimension.
Mentored Student Learning Environment
Two years ago the university announced plans to create a mentored student learning environment. This is a major opportunity that will change the future of BYU. Some parts of campus, especially the sciences, have used this model for many years. Student projects under faculty direction are commonplace in chemistry, physics, engineering, the fine arts, and a number of other disciplines. The intent is to spread the model throughout the campus. The objective is for every student—either individually or as a team member—to work closely with a faculty member on a project and publish a paper or exhibit a creative work before he or she leaves the university. During the past year I have learned of many new student-faculty projects that indicate that the learning model is being adopted. Students have become engaged in major research and creative projects in languages, biology, chemistry, engineering, physics, history, English, anthropology, business, the fine arts, and almost every other discipline. The BYU learning environment is changing.
During the first two years of the mentored learning program, the major sources of funds were ORCA fellowships and mentored student grants originating in associate vice president Gary Hooper’s office. ORCA funds totaling some $250,000 to $300,000 have supported about 250 to 300 students on an annual basis. Mentored student learning grants totaled $600,000 in 2000 and grew to $1.1 million last year. The number of students supported by this program increased from 350 to almost 500 in 2001. In addition to benefiting students, mentored student grants also assist faculty. The number of faculty helped by this one program during 2001 totaled 115, or almost twice as many as the year before.
Since announcing the mentoring program, student support from outside research grants and contracts jumped from $2.5 million in 1999 to $3.6 million in 2001 and will be higher in 2002. A number of faculty have decided to include funds for undergraduates as well as graduates in their research proposals as a result of the discussions we’ve had regarding mentored student learning. We congratulate faculty members from across the university for their efforts in this regard.
Mentored student learning is one of the highest priorities on BYU’s fund-raising agenda. The board has endorsed it, and the President’s Leadership Council (or PLC) has embraced the concept. In fact, when we explained the mentored-learning program to the President’s Leadership Council—a group of major donors themselves—they became excited and offered to match every unrestricted alumni dollar given to the university. They had a twofold purpose. The first was to encourage alumni to give more. The second was to support the program, which they were excited about. The results have been extraordinary. The matching program began in the fall of 2000. In that year unrestricted gifts from alumni totaled $2.3 million.
The matching portion, which covered only the last three months, equaled $2 million from our major donors. In 2001 alumni gifts increased 70 percent to $3.9 million as alumni learned about the match. The PLC’s contribution jumped to $5.2 million. The reason the PLC match exceeded the alumni gifts is because the match is 5:1 for student gifts, 2:1 for alumni out less than five years, and 1:1 for alumni who have been gone five years or more. The forecast for 2002 is that we will receive slightly more from the alumni, $4.2 million, and that the PLC matches will be $5.5 million.
In January 2002, $3.7 million from those funds was disbursed to the colleges to support mentored student learning. This compares with $300,000 the year before. In some colleges the funds will be expended this year on mentored student programs alone. In other colleges the funds have been divided between current projects and the creation of an endowment that will support future endeavors. In January 2003 we expect to return another $4 million to the colleges. The funds retained by the university over and above what we are returning to the colleges are being used to support mentored student grants, professorships, and an endowment to support student projects in the future.
If one totals the funds from all sources, support for mentored student learning increased from $4 million in 2000 (funds largely used in 2001) to more than $12 million supporting activities in 2002. I believe the creation of this program is a defining moment in the history of Brigham Young University. The new program will bless undergraduate education especially, but graduate programs will receive additional funding as well. If we continue, the university will become the premier institution of undergraduate learning in the nation. No one our size has ever tried such an experiment. Our goal is to build an $80 million endowment during the next few years to further our progress toward this objective.
I believe the program has shown results already. If you remember, we reported the findings of the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) study one year ago. The results were for the year 2000. Out of five factors in the report, BYU’s “campus environment” was rated the most supportive for student learning in the nation. Our score placed BYU in the 99th percentile, and we became a benchmark university for this category. Our level of “academic challenge” was also among the highest, with a score of 94. The university scored well above average with respect to “active and collaborative” learning with a score of 75. The two areas that needed improvement were “student interactions with faculty” and “enriching educational experiences.” Considering the last two benchmarks, a mentored student learning environment is the perfect answer.
Recently the university received these NSSE scores for the year 2001. We continue to have the best “campus environment” supportive of student learning with a score of 99. The level of “academic challenge” continues at a very high level with a score above 90. With respect to “active and collaborative learning,” we improved five percentage points and now rank in the 80th percentile. The amazing part of the report is the improvement in “faculty-student interaction” and “enriching educational experiences,” which now score in the 71st percentile, compared with the 12th and 25th, respectively, the year before. Although the mentored student learning program initiated two years ago may not account for all of the change, I believe it has played a significant role as students and faculty work together on projects and activities that lead to increased learning and future opportunities. The learning process is deepened through a mentored learning program. Students learn to work in teams, as they will in the working world, and they will have rewarding experiences in close association with faculty.
Two recent announcements by departments of the U.S. government will provide additional funding for mentoring at BYU. We are particularly pleased with the U.S. Department of Education’s selection of BYU as the headquarters for the country’s newly created National Middle East Language Resource Center. The new center will provide mentoring opportunities and internships in Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, and Turkish. BYU competed with more than 20 universities for this designation and will lead a consortium including Brown, Georgetown, Harvard, New York University, Princeton, and UCLA to improve language teaching and learning of the designated languages in the United States.
Also, BYU was recently selected as a flagship institution for the study of Chinese. BYU’s Department of Asian and Near Eastern Languages, our Language Research Center, and other campus units will work closely with the national foreign language center in an effort to improve and expand the acquisition of Chinese. Again, funds coming to the university will provide mentoring opportunities and internships for students.
Gary Hooper and his associates also believe that the mentored environment can be expanded to include the workplace at the university. BYU employs more than 10,000 students on a parttime basis. When work opportunities are shaped appropriately, BYU staff also serve as mentors in an enriched learning atmosphere. This type of environment already exists in a number of locations on campus. We ask the staff and its leaders to think carefully about the workplace and ways in which employment can become a learning opportunity.
Technology as a Contributor to Learning
The next challenge we will consider is the use of technology as part of the learning infrastructure. Every university in the nation is in the midst of introducing technology into the classroom and using distributed learning concepts to free both student and faculty to engage in more interactive learning.
There is a major effort underway at the university to become more strategic in our planning and use of technology. Professor Stephen Jones has been asked to oversee this area as an assistant to the academic vice president. He is working closely with the Office of Information Technology to ensure the adequacy of the technology infrastructure, which, not unexpectedly, has had some growing pains. He also is responsible for the Center for Instructional Design and coordinates the digital efforts of the library and the online program emanating from Independent Study. His responsibility, along with others, is to plan a careful, deliberate, and strategic approach to shape and control our use of technology as a support to both faculty and students. I strongly encourage the faculty to attend Alan Wilkins’ and Stephen Jones’ sessions this week as they outline new directions for supporting technology in the classroom.
During the last three years BYU has made considerable progress in the use of technology for educational purposes. The annual UCLA survey of technology use in the classroom illustrates the progress being made nationally and at BYU. It found that 39 percent of the faculty at all four-year institutions in 1999 used the Internet for placing or collecting assignments. BYU was slightly below the national norm at 35 percent. The survey was repeated three years later during the early part of 2002. Nationally the percentage jumped to 52 percent. Our progress exceeded that of the nation. The survey indicates that 54 percent of BYU faculty used the Internet during last winter semester for assignments and studentfaculty communication. During the same semester 99 percent of the students at BYU reported that they had at least one course that used Blackboard on the Internet. In fact, 25 percent of the students reported that they had three courses or more requiring Blackboard. Almost 80 percent of the students wished that all course assignments were on the Internet. In the survey of BYU students and faculty, the UCLA report indicated that a very large percentage believe that Blackboard improves access to course materials, improves class communication, and provides more flexibility for students and for faculty.
The UCLA study also measured the frequency with which BYU students use online communication. It found that 61 percent of first-year students and 69 percent of the seniors use the Internet several times a week, if not daily, and 80 percent of the freshmen and 87 percent of the seniors use it at least weekly. This use has grown dramatically over the last three years. The frequent use of the Internet by seniors to discuss or complete an assignment increased from 35 percent in 2000 to 62 percent in 2002. These statistics are in line with the national average.
The next slide illustrates the number of “hybrid” courses taken by BYU students during the last school year. A “hybrid” or “mixed” course includes both online and face-to-face components. The data indicate that 81 percent of first-year students and 80 percent of the seniors took one or more classes of a hybrid nature during the last school year. This penetration of online work into the traditional classroom has just begun. One year ago Graham B. Spanier, president of Pennsylvania State University, called “the convergence of online and resident instruction ‘the single-greatest unrecognized trend in higher education’ ” (in Jeffrey R. Young, “ ‘Hybrid’ Teaching Seeks to End the Divide Between Traditional and Online Instruction: By Blending Approaches, Colleges Hope to Save Money and Meet Students’ Needs,” Chronicle of Higher Education, 22 March 2002, A33). Today the hybrid trend is no longer a mystery. The hybrid model, if used appropriately, increases facultystudent interaction and speeds up the learning process. In contrast, the totally virtual model is appropriate only in those circumstances where face-to-face opportunities do not exist. Even then the virtual model can provide opportunities for faculty-to-student and student-tostudent interaction. We are exploring more and more ways in which we can increase student/faculty involvement.
The final chart in this section illustrates the feelings of the faculty with respect to the use of technology in the classroom. Seventyseven percent agree that technology is useful. Seventy-seven percent believe that the university provides adequate technical support. Seventy-two percent feel that they receive adequate instructional support. On the other hand, 49 percent believe they are appropriately rewarded for using technology. Many faculty believe that it should count toward rank and toward continuing status. We need to work on these issues. These same issues exist at other universities. We believe that we can improve the support faculty members receive, but we also believe that the data for BYU are better than the national averages.
Again, may I remind you of the important sessions in which we will discuss technology strategies going forward and the changes that we wish to implement. Also, there will be sessions in which hybrid models will be demonstrated. The faculty need to be part of these discussions. I encourage you to attend and become part of the dialogue.
I now turn to another challenge that faces us. It has to do with new buildings under construction and the temporary inconvenience caused for parking and pedestrian traffic. By now everyone knows of the new hole where the former Smith Family Living Center once stood. Truckloads of dirt are again leaving the campus every few minutes. It will take two and one-half years to complete the new Joseph F. Smith Building, which will house the College of Humanities and the School of Family Life. The building will be a beautiful addition to campus. It will be constructed of stone, brick, and glass and have an inner courtyard. The building will be situated so that a new plaza will be created between it and the library. Our expectation is that the new plaza will contain considerable greenery. The front of the building will be glass and will include a special gallery. A creative team headed by Professor Terry Warner is developing ideas and designing exhibits for it that will link revelation to the mission of the university. The new gallery will be a showplace for visitors and students to learn about the distinctiveness of Brigham Young University and its role in the kingdom.
On the north side of the new building will be a three-story underground parking terrace with spaces for 265 cars. The aboveground parking with its 120 spaces has been removed, and the area will be landscaped once the underground garage is completed. Current plans also call for a tunnel that will run under West Campus Drive from the Tanner Building toward the Knight Building. Although drivers have been very careful along this route, the volume of pedestrian traffic is so high that a tunnel seems warranted.
A smaller project currently underway is the construction of a nanotechnology laboratory north of the Eyring Science Center. The new underground structure will house highly sensitive equipment used to study and measure atoms. It will be used by many of our physical science, engineering, and biology and agriculture faculty.
The last set of buildings that may be under construction soon are the Indoor Athletic Practice Facility and its associated Student Athlete Center. We received permission from the board of trustees last year to raise funds and develop plans. We are in the final stages of fund-raising, and the plans are complete. We hope to receive permission from the board to begin construction shortly. The site locations of the buildings have changed numerous times as we have tried to preserve parking space. A decision has been made to place the Indoor Athletic Practice Facility on the east end of Haws Field and the Student Athlete Center on the south end of the football practice fields. The Student Athlete Center will contain athletic offices, meeting rooms, a large weight-training facility, a nutrition center, and the Student Athlete Academic Advisement Center.
You might be aware of the fact that our current facilities, primarily the Smith Fieldhouse and the Richards Building, were built in the 1950s and 1960s, when Brigham Young University had seven to eight intercollegiate teams and about 200 to 250 athletes. We are now shoehorning into those two facilities 21 intercollegiate teams and 650 athletes and their coaches and staff. There is a need for these new facilities.
After all construction projects are completed on campus, there will be a net addition of 73 parking spaces. During construction, however, there will be a loss of student parking below the hill in order to stage the construction and to compensate for faculty and staff parking losses on top of the hill.
Teaching by the Spirit
Let me close my remarks today on a more spiritual note. For some time I have thought about Brigham Young’s challenge to Karl Maeser that every subject should be taught under the influence of the Spirit (see Alma P. Burton, Karl G. Maeser: Mormon Educator [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1953], 26). What did he mean by this? I have generally understood that the instructor should be worthy of the promptings that come from the Holy Ghost, and the student likewise. This is consistent with the Lord’s instructions to Joseph Smith in D&C 50. With a little license, verses 21 and 22 read as follows:
Therefore, why is it that ye cannot understand and know, that he that receiveth the word by the Spirit of Truth receiveth it as it is [taught] by the Spirit of truth?
Wherefore, he that [teaches] and he that [receives], understand one another, and both are edified and rejoice together. [D&C 50:21–22]
Is that the sum total of what President Young was asking Brother Maeser to do? Was his directive fulfilled by having the Holy Ghost’s influence as a teacher and guide? If so, learning at this institution would be accelerated and the discovery of truth would be enhanced. I suspect, however, that the prophet would not be satisfied if Brother Maeser and those who followed him were to use only one of the gifts available through the Holy Spirit. Yes, the Holy Ghost is a great teacher and will lead us to truth. But there are many gifts that He is willing to share with those who are prepared and seek after them (see D&C 46:8).
For example, do we as faculty and staff seek the gift of discernment to know what our students comprehend and what they do not? Have you suddenly become aware of a particular student and realized that he or she missed a key point? I will never forget sitting on the stand as a bishop in a fast and testimony meeting. As I looked out over the congregation, I suddenly knew what each individual was thinking as they listened to the testimonies. I could tell which members needed help and the nature of the problems they were facing. Is it appropriate for a faculty member at Brigham Young University to enjoy this same power? Why not? The teacher with this gift senses the impact of his or her teaching and is able to assess what should be done to enhance student understanding. The gift allows one to tailor the help for each individual and to create more effective ways of communicating. Elder Maxwell often speaks of the Lord’s ability to tailor lessons to each person’s needs. I am convinced that the Lord will share this power with us if we seek after it. He will do so because our intent is to bless others.
What about the gift of love? This power is a fruit of the Spirit (see Galatians 5:22). Do we ask the Lord to bless us with a special care and concern for those whom we teach? I know from personal experience that one becomes a more effective teacher when he or she has strong, positive feelings toward those being taught. Can you imagine the impact of a missionary who is indifferent to or even dislikes the investigators? Worthy missionaries are blessed in due course with a special gift of love for those they are called to serve. As a stake president I interviewed a large number of young men and women returning from the field. I could tell in a very short time how effective they had been as teachers by the feelings they had for the people. Is our calling to teach 30,000 young Church members any less signifi- cant? I believe we are entitled to this fruit, and our effectiveness depends on it. Without it we may instruct, but we will never edify!
Finally, I pray that each of us will have the gift of wisdom—even above the gift of knowledge. I pray that we will be wise in our relationships with students, that we will be sensitive to the trust that has been placed in us to nurture their testimonies. I hope we will be wise in using the resources made available to us. They are the consecrations of the Saints and include the widow’s mite. May we have wisdom as we meet members whose children are not able to study with us. May we be wise in seeking ways for BYU to bless all members of the Church. May we have the wisdom to appreciate the incredible future of this university and the great opportunity and blessing it is to be a part of it. I love and appreciate you, brothers and sisters. I plead with the Lord daily for the wisdom and faith necessary to lead His university. May all of us commit to the eternal destiny of this institution is my prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.