Fall 2001: Thank you for your hard work, commitment and professionalism


Thank You for Your hard Work, Commitment and Professionalism

Keith J. Roberts, Message to the Faculty Fall 2001

In 1997-98 we were asked to define ourselves.  To look at the university and decide what we could best do to support the growth of the church.  As you all remember, and have probably become tired of hearing, we were regularly asked to account for the higher cost per student (or cost per FTE, in ed lingo) at this campus as compared to the other Church institutions of higher education.  

As you recall, we succeeded in redefining our measures of success.  Although the auditors will still look at cost per student, we were successful in defining a real measure of productivity.  And that is, cost per graduate.  Our product is an educated student, and the evidence of that is the awarding of a bachelors degree.  We therefore provided a plan in which the cost per graduate would be cut in half over the next seven years.  In fact, I offered to work for free the eighth year if we could no accomplish the task. I was that confident in your commitment to do the right thing.

In 1996-97 the cost per graduate was $126,056.  Quite high!
It then decreased as follows;


1997-1998        $107,461    85%
1998-1999          $92,378    73%
1999-2000          $65,947    52%
2000-2001          $62,634    50%

Thank you for streamlining the curriculum in the majors.
Thank you for revising the general education curriculum.
Thank you for developing transfer agreements with mainland, Hawaiian and international universities.
Thank you for approving advanced standing agreements for post-secondary work done at secondary schools.
But most of all, thank you for caring about our students. For guiding them through the university, for helping them attain their degrees in a timely manner.

We have reached our goal in three years rather than seven.

Thank you.  

But, the accountants haven’t forgotten the old cost per student.  We were able to de-emphaise the cost per student, but it hasn’t gone away.  A contributing number to the cost per student is the cost per student credit hour.  We had projected that we could reduce the cost per graduate and at the same time keep the cost per student credit hour from increasing while our budget was increasing at a rate slightly above the inflation rate.  We could only do this by increasing the number of student credit hours.  In 1997-98 we generated 72,793.5 student credit hours.  Last year (2000-2001) we generated 82,826.5 student credit hours.  This was in increase of 10033 student credit hours, an increase of 13.8%.  As a result the cost per student credit hour is lower now than in 1997-98.

Thank you for your willingness to teach an extra section, to schedule a special class in the summer, to mentor a special instructor so that an extra section could be offered.  Thank you for putting the needs of the university and the students before your personal preferences and convenience.

These are all quantitative measures of how well the university is being managed.  There are also qualitative measures.

In 1998 we promised the Brethearn that if we could develop this university as residential liberal arts college, that we would be ranked in the top tier by US News within five years.  As you all know, we were ranked 14th the year before last and 11th last year.  We had moved into the top tier in one year.  Four years early.  I could see it coming.  Our academic reputation was 2.7 in 1997-98, it improved to 3.3 in 1998-99 and then to 3.4 in 1999-2000 and finally 3.5 last year.  We were always very good.  And we all knew that. So, a lot of this had to do with better record keeping.  But, these rankings are fickle.  A slight change in one or two variables either by us or some other college could move us out of the top tier.  The new rankings will be out at the end of this month. The schools in our category have been changed significantly.  There are now less than thirty in our Western Liberal Arts category.   I am cautiously confident that we will do well again.

We have been listening to you. I want to take a few minutes to report to you the progress we have made toward implementing the recommendations you have given us as the result of President Shumway’s charge in fall of ’98.

These are the recommendations from the FAC:

PR External – BYUH needs to promote itself.  We need to let the world know that a degree from BYUH is a meaningful and respected accomplishment.

We have developed the Light of Hope in Korean, Japanese, Mandarin and soon French.

Our website is now available in multiple languages due to your recommendations.

We have hired a Director of Marketing

More and more of our promotional materials are in the language of the country.

PR Internal/Bonding – Each division/department should develop procedures to inform/unify students and encourage progress toward graduation.  Each faculty member should be prepared to explain to students what a degree from BYUH can do for him/her in graduate or career tracks.

We have totally implemented the MAPS
We are encouraging the continued establishment of clubs for each major.

We are asking your help in developing additional mechanisms to bond students to their majors and to faculty.

Rewards and Incentives – Recruitment and scholarship incentives should reward progress toward graduation and penalize lack of progress.

We have completely revised the entire scholarship program to respond to your recommendations.

Penalties – There should be penalties for students not progressing toward graduation.

We have lowered the hours for advanced standing.

We have limited the number of semesters a student can receive scholarship support.

We have encouraged divisions and departments to limit the number of times students can retake courses.

Distance/Web:  Appropriate use should be made of resources off campus.

You have recommended that students who are close to graduating and cannot stay should be directed to courses on the web or on other campuses so they can graduate.  We are beginning to do that but it is moving slower than we had planned.

We have strengthened our relationship with our sister campus in Utah so that more of this can be done in the future.

You have also recommended that each department should establish a mechanism for maintaining contact with students who have left campus but are close to graduation and facilitate their eventual graduation.  That should be done on the department level and I encourage you to do so.

Curriculum and Program Design – All majors and the GE program should be examined to ensure that no structural problems are inhibiting progress toward graduation.

We have identified bottleneck courses and are developing alternatives so that students can move ahead.

We have been working on increasing internships with a particular look at instances where work experience might qualify for legitimate elective credit.

We have effectively utilized spring and summer sessions by increasing the spring student credit hours by 18% and the summer student credit hours by 121%

Progress Planning – Each major should develop graduation plans and ensure all students in that major are informed/educated from the beginning in what to do to graduate.

We have developed a MAP for each major and the academic advisors are implementing these MAPs.

Registration – Non-academic registration procedures should be centralized and simplified so students can complete registration and solve problems in one place at one time.

We have implemented on line registration and are in the process of developing a one-stop student center.

Faculty and Majors – Faculty must be a central part of each student’s academic progress.

We continue to encourage faculty involvement in the mentoring process.

Academic Advisors – Academic Advisors need to be trained, given resources to do their jobs effectively, and rewarded and recognized for their contributions.

The President’s Council and APC have endorsed the Academic Advising Task Force report pending approval by the FAC.

Transfers – Divisions/departments need to recognize and accept the increasing importance of transfer students in our mission and work together with academic advisors to determine acceptable credit for classes already taken.

This has been our most striking success!

We have advised appropriate transfer students to enroll in the Interdisciplinary Studies major.

International Academic credits are now accepted via various cross crediting agreements.

Research /Data – Accurate data must be available to all people involved with the advisement of students.

This has improved so much that students with over 100 credits are constantly hounded to graduate.  It is the difference between day and night over four years ago.

Special Instructors – Departments should evaluate the use of special instructors and report the justification to their respective deans.

We have actively used special instructors to serve the students by offering more courses so that students can move toward timely graduation.
Class Size – 200,300, and 400 level classes must increase in size if students are to progress toward graduation in a timely manner.

We now have a much better balance between upper and lower division classes

We have not only listened to you, we have worked with each other to implement your recommendations.  Together we have remade this institution in 2 _ years.  Many of the things on your “wish list” in 1998 are institutionalized now.

Thank you for your insights!

Thank you for your support!

We are on task!

We can document that we are using the church’s resources wisely.

We can document that others view us with high regard.

I’d like to take a few minutes to share with you a few things that are important regarding the future of BYU-Hawaii.

First, we will be reorganizing the academic area.   Over the last year I’ve received a proposal from some of the faculty to start a school of computing.  After discussion with several faculty in Mathematics, Information Systems and Computer Science we have approved the concept of the school.  It will be part of our budget proposal in September.  It has been a delight working with Bob Hayden and Don Colton and the others in the development of this concept.  This will help us in our recruiting in our target area and will also help us with our interface with HRI regarding the Technology Park.  (The technology park is not a dead issue)

As you already know, we will also be reorganizing the College of Arts and Sciences.  Last year an ad hoc committee made up of APC members that were in the College and FAC members from the school met to develop some recommendations regarding reorganization.  The purpose was to put more budgetary responsibility in the hands of Department Chairs and at the same time reducing the number of Associate Deans.  This reorganization, while still being discussed, will probably be implemented in January 2002.

Last week we met with the Library and ITG staff and shared with them our proposal to merge the two unites into a new division of Library and Information Services.  This new unit will not only maintain and develop the regular collection it will also provide better support for technology related instructional activities because of the increased redundancy and cross training possible with the new organization.

Second, Bill Neal, Diana Mahoney, Brent Wilson and I were privileged to participate on a joint committee this summer involving colleagues from The Marriott School, Lee Perry and Henry J. Eyring and the new Assistant to President Bateman, Garret Gong.  The committee was organized by President Bateman at the request of the Board of Trustees to determine how the two campuses can better work together to serve the church in our target area.

The final draft of the report is being completed this week.  The report will have implications for cooperation between our two campuses with increased resources for job development and placement in our target area.  It will highlight four areas within the university where we may eventually put increased resources.  And it will propose two alternatives to our current student mix.  Both alternatives will eventually increase our international student enrollment from the current 40% to 60 or 70%.

Garrett Gong referred to the BYU Hawaii degree as “An American University Degree that doesn’t Americanize.”

I am confident that the committee members from Provo grew in their knowledge of BYU-Hawaii and I know we have been enriched by their input.  We will share the details of the report as soon as it is available.   

Third, We are actively involved in international articulation agreements.  Last week the President of the French University of Polynesia and the Minister of Higher Education and Culture in Tahiti were on our campus for three days. We are progressing on several fronts, the most important being the entry of our graduates from Tahiti into French masters programs.

In November the president of the Xian Foreign Language University will be joining us for a few days.  He knows us well. We will be continuing discussions I started in Xian this summer regarding possible joint degrees in Tourism, English and maybe Chinese.

These kinds of discussions will continue this year as we continue to be leaders in cross national university articulation.

Fourth, we are moving ahead with outcomes assessment.  Bill Neal is working with each of the departments to establish both outcomes and means of assessing those outcomes.  Please work with your department chairs and associate deans to complete these this semester.  This is a very important first step in our outcomes assessment process.

Fifth, as most of you know, Norm Evans has completed his dissertation on the retention of Pacific Island students.  He has learned quite a lot regarding the reasons these students do not stay to completion.  As a result, we will be instituting policies and programs that will address the needs of these students.  In addition, Norm will be continue to be involved in the development of a Center for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning here on our campus.  All of you who are interested in this Center should get in touch with Norm.  Our intention is to get this underway as soon as possible.

Sixth, Last year I asked the FAC to develop a system of faculty evaluation that would take into account the three-fold mission of the professorate; Teaching, scholarly activity and service.  A group of faculty attended a conference last year regarding faculty evaluation.  They have reviewed and shared materials and Ideas regarding evaluation.  I will be asking them to provide recommendations by early November so that the deans can implement their recommended evaluation process this spring.

Seventh, our university has made history with the completion of the 57 foot sailing canoe, Ieosepa.  This was an outstanding achievement and could not have been achieved without the hard work of Bill Wallace, Tuone Puloto, Kamoi’e Walk, and Kavaka Escrand.

In conclusion,

Three years ago in this auditorium Olani Durrant gave a speech to this group that redefined how most of us think about the university.  His “We graduate Students” speech was the “I have a dream” speech of the BYU-Hawaii administration.  It was important and effective.  The review of the faculty recommendations that I shared earlier illustrated the response to his plea.  We do graduate students!  And a lot of them.

Now we have a new dilemma.  At each graduation as the graduates exit the Cannon Center, I am surprised at how few of them have jobs or are in graduate school.  Many of them have concentrated on the short-term goal of graduating without doing serious career planning.

“We run students off a cliff” may very well become the de facto motto of this university.

Please, mentor your students.  If they are interested in graduate school, have them take the appropriate entrance exam early enough so they can apply in fall of their senior year.  So their offers are in before graduation.  All of the good graduate and professional schools make decisions in February.  A student who is intending to do graduate work should have his or her decision made before graduation.

Use your connections to develop internships that lead to jobs in the students’ home country.  If you don’t have connections, get them.  We will be working to help make those connections.

Mentor your students as to the opportunities for graduates with their particular major.

Placement and returnability are the key issues we will be addressing this year and in the future.  For placement in general, we will be increasing our use of e-recruiting through cooperation with Provo.  For placement and returnability we have been fortunate to have Meli Lesuma transferred to our staff from his previous position as Country Director in Fiji.  Meli will be working closely with me regarding all Pacific Island issues.  In addition he will be working with admissions, student life and placement regarding retention and returnability of Pacific Island students.  Concerning Asia, we will have retired brigadier general Joe Jordan, an Asia Expert, working as a missionary with our placement office regarding internships and placements in Asia.  In order for this to work we must all see the big picture.  Each of you has been hired by the university because of your particular expertise and skills and you perform your duties well.  But in addition we must all work together achieving the mission of this university.  We can do our piece of the mission much better when we see clearly how our activities fit into the big picture.  

So now it is time for a new banner and that banner could read something like this “Our graduates are growing the kingdom.

I testify to you that this is the Lord’s University, it is led by Prophets and has a divine destiny.

In Jesus name, Amen.