Brigham Young University's unique opportunity to educate students in a way that integrates faith, emotion and intellect is a recipe for nurturing characters who have a devoted heart, courageous mind and a purposeful soul, said President Kevin J Worthen at a conference for BYU faculty and staff.
BYU regularly finds itself ranked among the elite universities when it is evaluated for academic quality and cost.
In April of this year, Forbes magazine named BYU the "Best Value College," just ahead of Princeton. In every college on campus, students, faculty and staff are regularly exemplifying excellence in education, providing additional evidence of the extraordinary value of a BYU education.
But according to Worthen, those achievements and rankings don't come close to capturing the real, long-lasting value of a BYU education.
Worthen compared remarks about faith-based universities from New York Times columnist David Brooks to the Mission and Aims of BYU.
Speaking to the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities, Brooks said, "You have what everybody else is desperate to have: a way of talking about and educating the human person in a way that integrates faith, emotion and intellect. You have a recipe to nurture human beings who have a devoted heart, a courageous mind and a purposeful soul. Almost no other set of institutions in American society has that, and everyone wants it. From my point of view, you’re ahead of everybody else and have the potential to influence American culture in a way that could be magnificent.”
BYU's Mission Statement emphasizes learning and growth beyond the classroom, developing its students in a holistic way and focusing on the "full realization of human potential."
"That kind of education will only happen if we are willing to fully engage in the unique kind of conversations that can happen only at a place like BYU," said Worthen.
An education that engages the full intellectual and spiritual capacities of its students has a foundation in the truth that all human beings are beloved spirit sons and daughters of Heavenly Parents and as such each has a divine nature and destiny. Their individual lives will improve and they will be equipped to make a profound difference in the world around them.
As students understand and act on that truth, they will transform and increase the value of their BYU education in ways that no earthly ranking system can measure, according to Worthen.
"When we really believe that our students are sons and daughters of Heavenly Parents with a divine nature and destiny, we trust them to do things that others would think beyond the capacity of young inexperienced college students – things that our students themselves may think they cannot do. That in turns inspires them and causes them to feel differently about their work and about themselves."
BYU does not provide an education that solely prepares students for their first or final job opportunities. Instead, the university seeks to prepare its students for their eternal destiny as sons and daughters of Heavenly Parents – an education where joyful learning extends beyond the classroom to student-centered research, informal conversations and student employment.
"Our mission is to assist them in their quest for perfection and eternal life," Worthen said. "That is real value, and it is a value beyond price."