EMPLOYEE N EWS L E TTE R
JAN UA RY 2017
New students find support needed to succeed Student Support launched the First Year Mentor and Heber J. Grant Mentor programs this past fall with the hope that both students and mentors would develop relationships that went beyond simply being an assignment. Freshman participant Megan Linton says her mentor experience did just that. “It was good that I was able to make friends so quickly through this, because I don’t think I would be having the same experience I’m having right now if I didn’t,” Linton said. “I’ve made so many friends through my mentor. And I hang out with them every single day.” Program Coordinator Kimball Benson says in many situations the mentors assigned were the exact friends these new students needed. In many cases it made a difference in the lives of the volunteer mentors most of all. “A lot of mentors were also blessed to
Aubrey Jenkins works with student Katie Mower in the Tutoring Center.
find purpose in their lives,” Benson said. “And many of them found more of a desire to look outward.” Kendall Barrett, a First Year Mentor volunteer, said she not only learned from the students she mentored, but gained a greater appreciation for BYU-Idaho as well.
“Even though I’m older and have been here longer than these students, I’ve learned so much from them,” Barrett said. “Being able to serve and talk about how great BYU-Idaho is, along with trying to be an example, just makes me realize how blessed I am.” CONTINUED ON PAGE 5
In-class tutor program realizes the potential in every student Students in the Department of English are applying The Learning Model with increasing success, thanks to a new program that employs in-class tutors. The Writing Fellows program provides foundation English classes with experienced students who guide, grade, and give feedback to students, in conjunction with the instructor. “It is different than a TA or writing tutor in the sense that these fellows are embedded in the class, so you may have three fellows in a class of 20 or 25 students,” said Terry Gorton, a Department of English faculty member who leads the program. The fellows take small groups of students and help reinforce what is
being taught. Fellows review class work, keep groups on topic, and also offer tutoring on principles that students might find confusing. “It is amazing how capable these students are at guiding their fellow students,” Gorton said. “They give them direct, individual, and small group assistance throughout the entire semester and help improve their papers and other assignments.” The Writing Fellows program is just one of many examples of disciple leadership at BYU-Idaho. “It benefits the students, the fellows, and the teachers. It uses The Learning Model to enhance classroom learning
and teaching,” Gorton said. Tyler Oswald, a faculty member in the Department of English, noted that not only does the Writing Fellows program develop disciple leaders, but it also puts a focus on realizing the potential in every student. CONTINUED ON PAGE 3
IN THIS ISSUE: PRESIDENT ’S UPDATE.....................................2 “ THE CRONE’S RE VENGE”................................3 ADMISSIONS REACHES STUDENTS THROUGH SOCIAL MEDIA..............................4
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President’s Update: The need to tell our story By President Clark G. Gilbert
BYU-Idaho is student focused by design. That means everything we do is uniquely student centered. The good news is that students who come here recognize this distinction (see graph). In fact, when surveying our current students, it is clear they recognize the teaching focus of our faculty, the power of gathering with students who share their values, our focus on real-world preparation, and the affordability/value of a BYU-Idaho education. In other words, there is integrity between what we strive to be and what our students experience. However, many misperceptions remain about the university for those who have not been on this campus and aren’t connected to family or friends at BYU-Idaho. We recently asked student focus groups, as well as our University Council, to share what perceptions they believe first come to mind when others think of BYU-Idaho. Some of the common views mentioned by both groups include (in their words) freezing weather, no sports, strict rules, and a confusing track system—to name a few. Unfortunately, some also see BYU-Idaho as a fallback school rather than a school with its own distinctive characteristics and studentfocused benefits. The gap between what we know BYU-Idaho to be and perceptions among those not close to the university is of particular concern when it comes to
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prospective students. We want those who would benefit most from a BYU-Idaho experience to know about and understand what this unique university has to offer. To correctly inform these prospective students and their parents, we need to deliver a message that clearly communicates the distinct characteristics differentiating BYU-Idaho from other institutions of higher education. We don’t want to leave a void to be filled in with stereotypes and false perceptions. Neither do we want to convince a student to be here who wouldn’t value these distinct characteristics. In other words, BYU-Idaho should articulate a message that is consistent with our mission and authentic to our students’ experience. This semester, University Relations will be rolling out a new messaging campaign. The overarching theme of this campaign will be how BYU-Idaho is “Student Focused by Design.” The key messages will show how our focus on students is intentional and is weaved through everything we do. Over the next eight semesters, we will create and share hundreds of messages that center around how BYU-Idaho’s
focus on students allows the university to achieve its mission to develop disciple leaders. We will also reinforce our other distinctive educational characteristics: a teaching-focused faculty, realizing the potential in every student, real-world experience, and high-value education. Included below are two early conceptual messages that show the power of a student-focused university. Much of the campaign will be directed to current students. This group can powerfully explain the message of the university to prospective students and their parents, because current students can authentically represent the BYU-Idaho experience. As an employee, you are also instrumental in defining who we are and what BYU-Idaho accomplishes in the lives of its students. You can help tell our story through social media and other interactions so others may better understand our unique role. As we share who we are and what sets this place apart, we will attract the right students and help them better understand the unique value of a BYU-Idaho education. &
Life lessons learned through theater The Theatre Department’s stage reading of The Crone’s Revenge signified a special moment in the lives of former faculty member J. Omar Hansen and his students. Hansen’s former students performed the play he wrote to honor Hansen as he retires after 20 years of teaching. “It has always been the students who gave me the greatest joy,” Hansen said. Through the play, students reflected on the growth and learning they have received because of Hansen’s love, respect, and service to students in the department.
Both Hansen and his students displayed their capability to adapt to unforeseen challenges during the production. On the day of the performance, one of the cast members who was pregnant, unexpectedly went into labor. The delivery prevented both her and her husband from performing their roles in the play. The cast was required to hold an emergency rehearsal and pull two other
students, including the stage manager, to assume the roles of the missing actors. Hansen acknowledges the effort his students took to ensure the show “went on” no matter the challenges. “Particularly on this production of The Crone’s Revenge, the students were such a joy to work with,” Hansen said. CONTINUED ON PAGE 6
“Brother Hansen taught me how to analyze works of literature and see the vision behind a play,” said student Rachel Lines, the director of the play. “He is fun to have as a director because he lets me explore as an actor and come up with my own ideas.” Intrigued with colonial life, Virginia, witchcraft, and telling stories, Hansen wrote The Crone’s Revenge as a comedy stage reading using only six actors who each play multiple roles. It tells the story of a proper young English woman, Katherine Grady, who overcomes obstacles while finding true love in 18th century Virginia.
The cast of The Crone’s Revenge from left to right: Heather Brower, Ned Wilcock, Thomas Brower, Austin Jordan, Lindsey Frahm, and Logan Lindholm.
Continued from page 1: Writing Fellows program “Students get to see these writing fellows struggle and overcome concepts, just like they do, and that can give them hope,” Oswald said. “The writing fellows help keep our students from falling through the cracks, and because of that, our class retention rate is close to 100 percent.” One of the greatest benefits to having in-class tutors is the connection they form with students. “Because of experience and age gap, sometimes I don’t quite see things the way students do,” Oswald said. “The writing fellows are able to look at it from the perspective of the student, which allows them to relate to them in a way I might not be able to.”
Alex Austin, one of Oswald’s tutors, has realized how beneficial the program can be for creating an active classroom environment.
“The writing fellows help keep our students from falling through the cracks, and because of that, our class retention rate is close to 100 percent.” —T YLER OSWALD, FACULT Y
“I think the biggest benefit to the Writing Fellows program is allowing the class to do more,” Austin said. “It can be
difficult in a writing class to accomplish as much as you want because of the tremendous work load on the teacher. Having more people look over papers, work with students, provide feedback, and mentor students; allows more learning to take place for each individual.” Overall, the Writing Fellows program is a tool that focuses on the everyday student and develops the skills necessary for students to become a disciple leader in their homes, the Church, and their communities. “It is hard to imagine any other program that has more potential to create disciple leaders than the Writing Fellow program,” Gorton said. & JA N UA R Y 2 0 1 7
Admissions utilizes social media The BYU-Idaho Admissions Office is expanding its reach through social media to better connect with the next generation of college students.
interested in. Social media is the perfect platform for us to showcase that we can meet all these needs,” Nordfelt said.
“Social media allows us to showcase what BYU-Idaho is all about,” said Admissions Coordinator Brady Nordfelt. “Research tells us that prospective students want to know key things about the school they are interested in.” The Admissions Office has researched questions, concerns, and interests that prospective students might consider as they decide on their plans of attending an institution of higher education. This research has helped Admissions determine what things to emphasize to potential students on social media and other marketing materials.
“They want to know that there is a place for them, that they will find people like them, that they will be safe, have fun, and that they will receive an education that will prepare them for the career they are
Over the past year, Admissions has developed a more focused campaign using social media. The office regularly holds social media contests and utilizes hashtags to reach out to new students. For example, with the hashtag #byuibound, students will post pictures of themselves and their acceptance letters. Students also will use #off2byui to post pictures of themselves packing and leaving for BYU-Idaho. Admissions representatives visit LDS stake centers across the U.S. and put on firesides for youth in the Church.
“The firesides often draw huge crowds with a lot of energy,” Nordfelt said. “They allow us to not only connect with prospective students, but parents and Church leaders as well.”
Admissions, in conjunction with BYU and Seminaries & Institutes, put on fireside presentations to encourage youth in the Church to either study at CES schools or to enroll in Institutes of Religion at the college or university they are attending. “While out on firesides, we often visit Pathway sites and local institutes as a way of helping more people learn what BYU-Idaho is all about,” Nordfelt said.
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CONTINUED ON PAGE 6
Continued from page 1: Student Mentor program The First Year Mentor program begins with Get Connected. Each volunteer-partnership is then assigned an average of 40 students to oversee throughout the semester. The Heber J. Grant Mentor program targets students who come from backgrounds that put them at a higher risk of not graduating. These students receive more one-on-one mentoring than students in the First Year Mentor program, with a ratio of one mentor to three students.
Starting Winter Semester 2017, all first semester students will receive a first-year mentor. Those who qualify for the Heber J. Grant Mentor program may continue to receive mentoring in their second semester. This will involve all students who meet the criteria and will also take into effect how each student performs academically during their first semester. The experience gained during this semester provided insight to how improvements could be made in the future.
“We learned a lot of lessons this semester,” Benson said. “There are good things happening, but we definitely want to increase the amount of people who are reached by these programs.” As the mentorships continue to develop, program coordinators hope that those who enjoyed their experience will return with a desire to serve in Student Support in the future. Barrett said a handful of new students from her mentor group have already signed up to participate as volunteers
“The fact that mentors are with the students for the entire first semester now is so inspired. We’re not only here to welcome them to BYU-Idaho. We’re here to be a friend.” —KENDALL BARRE T T, STUDENT
Joseph Abadillo studies with student Joshua Burnhart in the library.
in Student Support next semester, achieving the vision that the program has been designed to fulfill. “I was really excited to come here in the first place, but my mentors made me even more excited,” Linton said. “And that’s why I wanted to get more involved myself. Because I feel how blessed I am to be at this school now.” Looking back on her positive experience, Barrett believes the creation of these mentor programs truely allows the university to better accomplish its mission.
Mentors Caleb Bacon and Rachel Bezas spend time with first-year students during Get Connected.
“The fact that the mentors are with the new students for the entire semester now is so inspired,” Barrett said. “We’re not only here to welcome them to BYU-Idaho. We’re here to be their friend.” &
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Continued from page 3: Life lessons learned through theater
On the Blog
“That is the caliber of students you get at BYU-Idaho. They are responsible and hardworking.”
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The students that played a part on and off the stage put their hearts into their work because they say they learned that is what is expected of them.
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HR Hiring Process The university’s hiring process was recently reviewed and endorsed by President’s Council.
“We learned from Brother Hansen that if there is something that doesn’t feel right, you need to stand up, you need to say something, you need to make a difference,” said student Madelynn Beech, the stage manager of the play. “A lot of people took that to heart and started doing wonderful things with leadership in theater councils.”
New University Messaging Campaign
Beech says she feels that the ability to become a strong leader herself came because of how Hansen genuinely cared about her and saw her potential.
Read how the university plans to create a new marketing campaign to connect with potential and current students.
“He loves everyone. That is an important step for people to become leaders is to have someone believe in them,” Beech
BYU-Idaho Recognized for Exceptional Leadership in Energy Efficiency Idaho Lieutenant Governor Brad Little awarded BYU-Idaho, along with eight other Idaho organizations, with the 2016 Idaho Award for Leadership in Energy Efficiency.
Hansen says it is through theater that students learn and develop skills in communication and human interaction that will bless them in any endeavor throughout their lives. “That is what I have been pushing for these last few years, I want to make sure what the students learn here is valuable to them elsewhere,” Hansen said. Hansen has written plays for the past 40 years, many of which have been produced, one actually having been published. To Hansen, theater is more than just telling stories; it is an inspired way of learning. “Theater is what I call a secular temple. It is where we learn how to be human beings,” Hansen said. “In that context, all theater, if done well, leads people to be more Christlike.” &
Continued from page 4: Admissions In 2016, the group of CES representatives traveled to 37 locations in the U.S., hosting 284 stakes, with a total of 15,451 people in attendance. The firesides focus on teaching students the importance of education and receiving spiritual instruction through religion courses. BYU-Idaho Admissions also joins with other universities traveling to high schools across Utah and Idaho. In 2016, BYU-Idaho Admissions representatives visited 163 high schools and talked to 3,642 prospective students face to face.
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said. “When you have a teacher that loves and cares about you, you want to be better, which makes you rise up and be the leader that you need to be.”
In an effort to help familiarize prospective students with campus and encourage them to receive their education at
BYU-Idaho, Admissions also provides campus tours for these students and their families. In 2016, Admissions gave tours to more than 5,700 people. &
To follow Admissions on Facebook, scan this QR code or search “BYUI Admissions” on Facebook
News & Notes
A monthly publication of University Relations A D V I S O R Brett Crandall W R I T E R S Dain Knudson, Erin McMahon & Phillip Price P H O T O G R A P H E R S Michael Lewis, Ryan Chase, Emily Gottfredson & Lana Strathearn
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