Contract and Employment Questions

Matthew Richardson in the recent BYU Religious Educator Review (winter 2015) stated that he always begins his teaching school year by reading the "mission statement, the aims, and other Hall of Fame Talks."  He does this, as he stated, "to set my orientation and be reminded just what my duty is."  He said he was a "firm believer in the divine destiny and mission of Brigham Young University."   

What a powerful and instructive example for all of us. (He was also recently moved to Vice President for Advancement at BYU).

We can and should do the same here at BYU-Idaho.

I know that as we ponder and read the statements and aims of BYU-Idaho and share them with our students, reminding them of the great "divine destiny and mission" of BYU-Idaho, great blessing will follow for both us and our students.   I know this university has a "divine destiny!"  

Here is a quote from the new President of BYU-Idaho, as found on the BYU-Idaho webpage.  It may be worthwhile to share with our students; 

 "BYU-Idaho is uniquely student-centered. The Lord has already begun to give us glimpses of your great potential and divine destiny. Each of you is known to the Lord. He loves you. You are where He wants you to be."-Clark G. Gilbert

What are the statements and aims and "Hall of Fame" talks and quotes you remember and read and ponder as you set your orientation as an employee of BYU-Idaho? What quotes and ideals and statements do you love, shared, and have treasured regarding BYU-Idaho's divine destiny?  

I am excited to read your thoughts of the great divine destiny of BYU-Idaho.   

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  • "Hall of Fame" talks at BYU-Idaho?... We call them "Foundational Addresses" :-)

  • I apologize for the length of my response in advance. Below is an announcement I shared with my business class. I am completing the OL 301 training as a new Teaching Group Leader and entered this forum to post my thoughts on teaching with authority. I saw this topic and thought it better to post a thought here. For context: the class I teach is based on Harvard Business School case studies--which here and there indirectly suggest part of the reason for the case success is the Harvard education of the entrepreneur. My students begin to believe that Harvard has the answers and some even start to discount their own education at BYU-I. Below is my response.

    This announcement was not one I originally planned, but like Isaiah I will not hold my peace on a concern I have regarding your education at BYU-Idaho. A justification for someone’s success (in business or in life) is not his or her graduation certificate from Harvard. We have a lot of case studies in this course that highlight the business leader as a Harvard grad. That school certainly has a great reputation and it has been earned over the centuries. But I have graduated from several highly rated universities very much on par with Harvard in most measurement categories and I can say from experience that you are getting an education that in many ways surpasses Harvard. You as individuals are also just as amazing and capable as the students at other great institutions of learning. The unspoken message I get from some students is, 'this is a good education, but not a great education, and there is some secret sauce that they put in the food at the Harvard Dining Hall that I am not privy to.' This is simply not true

    I don’t want to attack another great institution in order to highlight the greatness of your education. If BYU-Idaho is great (and it is), it has no need to compare itself, but should celebrate what makes it great. I hope one of the things that marks a BYU-Idaho graduate is their humility and meekness (which is after all the gateway virtue of all other virtues). People smarter and more inspired than I have said that the day will come when the BYU-Idaho graduate will be sought after because they are uniquely and powerfully qualified to take on the future.

    Something you will not hear at Harvard, unless you step in to the Institute building are words directed to you from prophets. Elder Henry B. Eyring spoke in one of the first devotionals of BYU–Idaho and in his talk he said these words, “I make a prophecy. Now listen carefully” and “…this is a prophecy that I am prepared to make and make solemnly” and “I’ll make you a prophecy.” One of the things he said was, “those graduates of BYU–Idaho will become legendary for their capacity to build the people around them and to add value wherever they serve.” (If you haven’t read it, take some time to study Henry B. Eyring, “A Steady Upward Course,” BYU–Idaho Devotional, Sept. 18, 2001)

    This isn’t prophecy, but my prediction: There will be a time in the not too distant future when academic, community, government, and industry leaders will seek out BYU-Idaho to figure out what makes it so special and why graduates from there are so capable and prepared. They will see some of what makes it special (Student Honor, disciple preparation, leadership development, and inspired learning and teaching), but they may discount a key element, our secret sauce (I hope that doesn't sound irreverent), the Spirit of Ricks. I like President Clark’s definition for its simplicity and clarity: The Spirit of Ricks is the Holy Ghost and its attendant spiritual gifts. In my very first Instructor Notes I shared A True Story of my experience with what I now recognize as the BYU-Idaho Learning Model and Spirit of Ricks and what a difference it made in my life. President Gilbert also mentioned the special nature of your university with some of his first words at the first devotional where he reintroduced himself and his family, "I promise you that in the coming years you will be blessed with an increased recognition of this great blessing in your life." And he also noted that the stewardship is upon your shoulders. He said, "This semester, and in the coming years, you will receive calls from the Lord. He will ask you to be more than you are today--to look up and leave behind those things that would hold you back."

    To continue with Isaiah’s thought that I started this note with, BYU-Idaho students and graduates, do not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth. And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory… Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God… Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken… for the Lord delighteth in thee… (Isaiah 62:1-4)

    To close, here is a link to a short presentation by Brother Clay Christensen that intersects with President Eyring’s prophecy about you, and using a business analogy no less.

    Note: For those of you who don't know Clay Christensen from a personal perspective, he is a BYU graduate, Harvard Business School professor and is presently ranked by many as the number one most influential consultant in the world and Forbes Magazine ranked him as the most influential business theorist of the last 50 years. A few years ago he was diagnosed with follicular lymphoma and in 2010 he had an ischemic stroke. He has had to relearn how to speak, walk, etc. and still has trouble with some words. His message is pretty clear though.

    Brother Mitchell
    • Michael, I have been a long-time follower of Clayton Christensen's theories and writings. I am impressed by the conclusions he has drawn from his professional and personal life. While it wasn't the most polished TEDx talk I have ever seen, Clay's point at the end that "God doesn't employ accountants and statisticians." is an incredible point of view. Clay clarified his statement by saying because of our finite minds we have to aggregate (calculate by combining several elements) to measure success, but that God, because of his infinite mind and wisdom does not have to aggregate and therefore can measure success at the individual (personal) level.

      Success, therefore, is measured by our individual contributions in life to helping other people. Fascinating. Wonderful. Thanks for you long post!
  • Great post David! As his opening devotional for my freshman semester at BYU-Idaho, Elder Bednar (then President Bednar) gave a talk titled: Brigham Young University-Idaho: A Disciple Preparation Center (DPC). I will never forget the feeling of awe and gratitude I felt during that devotional for the blessing I had to be a student. I still feel the same way about now being an employee. Here is a quote from that talk:

    "Let me suggest that in Rexburg, Idaho, we are in the process of creating not a missionary training center (MTC), but a Disciple Preparation Center—a DPC. In this special and sacred and set apart place, you and I have access to unparalleled spiritual resources that can assist us in developing and deepening our devotion as disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. That is the primary and most important reason for the existence of Brigham Young University-Idaho and for its sponsorship by and affiliation with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."

    I love both of those talks that you shared, Jerrod! Thanks David!

    • Alison, you have the vision.  I love the quote.  It is so easy for all of us to forget what we are truly part of.  It is humbling and at the same time exciting.  

    • Woo Yay... the DPC talk. That was a remarkable talk. I need to read that one again. Guess I know what I will be reading for scripture study tonight!

      • I will need to go read it.  I love it already!  

  • Thank you for the post David. The first "hall of fame-r" talk that comes to mind is a Steady, Upward Course by then Elder Henry B. Eyring in 2001. At the time, President Bednar said every employee should read that talk once a month. Another hall of fame talk that comes to mind is not a foundational address at BYU-Idaho or Ricks College, but is nonetheless, a very important one regarding CES in general by President Gordon B. Hinckley titled: Out of Your Experience Here. In it President Hinckley states: “The basic question we face now and will continue to face is simply this, ‘Who will the Church educate, and who will it turn away?'”

    The rest of the talk then discusses this question. Good stuff!

    • I think it would be a great project for someone to "mine" out and find all the great quotes and put them together in a short talk or paper.  I think it is needed to retain and remember what we are all about and the mission of this great university.  

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