President Kevin J Worthen followed up his University Conference General Session address with brief remarks during the Faculty Session later in the afternoon. Actually, President Worthen asked—and answered—five questions that he thought might be triggered by his General session talk. From university research to basketball free throws, here's more from President Worthen:
Q: I notice you didn’t mention research in your General Session talk. With all the focus on students, is the message that research is now valued less?
A: No. The Mission Statement says, “Scholarly research … among faculty and students… is essential and will be encouraged.” I believe that a teacher who ceases to learn, ceases to be a good teacher. Does research help enhance the educational experience of students? Yes, and many students are involved in research with faculty across campus. In fact, in one college, 50 percent of BYU research publications involved a student co-author and more than 20 cents from each dollar of outside research funding goes toward student help, compared to five or six cents at other universities.
Q: Can you give us an example of how focusing on enhancing our students’ experience might affect a significant decision?
A: Yes. As we consider how we might use online education technology, the best place to start is by answering this question: "How will this help our current students?" That will lead to better results than if we were to start by asking how can I reach more people or save some time, or generate more resources.
Q: What is the most important decision you will make as president?
A: I don't know. But I know that the most important decisions that will be made by all of us while I'm president will be who we hire as new faculty. There is no decision more impactful or determinative. Those decisions will set the tone for the university far more than any single decision I make.
Q: Now that President Samuelson is gone, what will students say when the basketball team makes a free throw?
A: I don't know. I'll leave it up to the students.
Q: What is the most important thing we should know about Kevin J Worthen?
A: #1. I love BYU. Since I was a young child, I've felt the spirit that comes from BYU. To associate with students is remarkable and I am grateful for my associations with colleagues who love and serve the Lord and others. #2. I believe in the divine destiny of BYU. I believe that no one can thwart its purposes. #3. I have a deep and enduring testimony of Jesus Christ and this gospel. I know that this university is directed by the Lord Jesus Christ not only through prophets, but through each of us within our stewardships.