6. Academic Office
The Academic Office provides administrative oversight for the faculty, instruction, curriculum, online learning, instructional facilities, institutional research, and student connections.
6.1 Academic Office Leadership
The academic vice president (see 7.1.1 Vice Presidents) selects various associate academic vice presidents, officers, and coordinators to manage the affairs of the Academic Office (see 2.3.9 Campus Administrative Assignments).
The associate academic vice presidents are approved by the Board of Trustees, receive 9-12 hours of administrative leave each semester, and typically serve 5-7 years.
The associate academic vice president for instruction assists with faculty development, hiring, and academic leadership training; sits on the President's Council, University Council, Academic Leadership Council, and Academic Council; and oversees over the Learning and Teaching Council and the Faculty Development Council.
The associate academic vice president for curriculum oversees the Foundations program; handles all educational program issues; sits on the President's Council, University Council, Academic Leadership Council, and Academic Council; and presides over the Curriculum Council.
The associate academic vice president for support services coordinates the use of academic facilities, faculty offices, and other resources; monitors student travel; generates the University calendar; coordinates commencement exercises; and sits on the President's Council, University Council, Academic Leadership Council, Academic Council, Communications Council, University Emergency Council, Risk Management and Compliance Council, Strategic Management Council, Budget Strategy Committee, Projects Committee, Campus Planning Committee, and Enrollment Enhancement Committee.
The associate academic vice president for student connections assists with the Academic Discovery Centers, Academic Support Center, and library; oversees the Academic Societies, Volunteer Connection, and sits on the President's Council, University Council, Academic Leadership Council, and Academic Council.
The Institutional Research and Assessment officer collects and analyzes data for institutional and program assessments, maintains institutional and departmental report cards, conducts institutional and department research as needed, administers end-of-semester course evaluations, provides data for government and accreditation reporting needs, and coordinates campus research activity involving human subjects (see 2.3.6 Research and 6.3.4 Human Subjects Research).
The Academic Business officer provides budget strategy and financial counsel to the academic colleges and departments, Online Learning, Pathway, and academic auxiliaries; coordinates the stewardship review process for all academic areas; oversees faculty salary upgrades and contracts; and sits on the University Budget Strategy committee.
The academic vice president enlists the aid of the associate academic vice presidents, the college deans, and the Academic Office assistants to schedule meetings, trainings, and social events for the faculty.
The Academic Leadership Council coordinates the efforts of the associate academic vice presidents in their areas of responsibility. The academic vice president presides over the Academic Leadership Council, which generally meets twice a month. Minutes are kept and distributed to council members:
- Academic vice president
- Associate academic vice presidents
The Deans Council is the decision-making body for academic affairs. The academic vice president presides over the Deans' Council, which meets twice each month. Minutes are kept and distributed to council members:
- Academic vice president
- Associate academic vice presidents
- College deans
- Dean of foundations
- Dean of faculty development & mentored research
- Dean of online programs
- IT managing director
The Academic Council provides a venue for campus academic leaders to learn pertinent information, share innovative ideas, and generate solutions for current issues. The academic vice president presides over the Academic Council, which meets once each semester. Minutes are distributed to council members and posted where all faculty members may access them:
- Academic vice president
- Associate academic vice presidents
- Institutional Research and Assessment officer
- College deans
- IT Managing director
- University librarian
- Representatives from other campus councils
- Faculty Association officer
- Outcomes and Assessment director
- Student Representative Council (SRC) member
Each semester, under the direction of the academic vice president, the Academic Leadership Council oversees a gathering of all college deans, associate deans, and department chairs. The purpose of the meeting is to train academic leaders and to counsel with them regarding academic efforts. Minutes are not generally kept. However, deans, associate deans, and department chairs are charged to share and discuss the information from these retreats with their faculty for the goal of advancing and improving colleges and departments.
The Curriculum Council approves all changes to courses and programs. The associate academic vice president for curriculum presides over the Curriculum Council, which generally meets on a weekly basis. Minutes are kept and distributed to council members:
- Associate academic vice president for curriculum
- Associate deans for curriculum
- University Registrar
The Faculty Development and Mentored Research Council advises and maintains standards of faculty development activities; coordinates faculty development activities; coordinates resource needs for mentored research activities; advertises and allocates supplementary activities and resources for faculty development and students; identifies and facilitates collaborations across campus; and manages and directs specialized resource groups such as the Research and Business Development Ceneter. This council consists of the associate dean for faculty development and mentored research from each college and is presided over by the dean of the College of Faculty Development and Mentored Research. Minutes are kept and distributed to the members of the council as well as to the associate academic vice president for instruction.
The Learning and Teaching Council is charged with enhancing the quality and scholarship of learning and teaching across the University. The associate academic vice president for instruction presides over the Learning and Teaching Council, which generally meets once each semester. Minutes are kept and distributed to council members:
- Associate academic vice president for instruction
- Best Practices Committee chair
- Dialogue Committee chair
- Publications Committee chair
- Travel Committee chair
- Instructional Development representatives
The Learning and Teaching Council meetings are open to any interested faculty member. Those desiring to attend may contact the Instructional Development Office for date and location information.
Learning and Teaching Committees are charged with enhancing the quality and scholarship of learning and teaching at BYU-Idaho. The committees have representatives from each college. One faculty member is appointed to serve as the chair of each committee. The various committees meet 2-4 times per semester, as needed.
Best Practices Committee promotes faculty recognition and gatherings, such as faculty awards, Faculty Banquet, and Spori Summit.
Dialogue Committee encourages investigation and sharing of faculty research on learning and teaching through Brown Bag Discussions and the Faculty Conference.
Publication Committee publishes findings and insights from faculty members in the Perspective magazine.
Travel Committee coordinates selection and travel for faculty groups while developing cross-disciplinary collaborations through teaching conferences and site visits.
The Academic Office may establish ad-hoc committees to assist with delegated assignments. As this is part of a faculty member's campus citizenship, no load is given for committee assignments. Committee work should be done in an open, transparent fashion with occasional reports given to the appropriate associate academic vice president.
The associate academic vice president for support services oversees commencement exercises at the end of each semester. The academic vice president presents the graduates to the University president during the program.
Various members of the Academic Office attend each of the college convocations, providing brief remarks, as assigned or as invited by the college deans.
The Academic Office schedules general faculty meetings at the beginning of the academic year or on the first Thursday of any particular month during the 2:00 pm hour (see 6.2.18 Thursday 2:00 pm Hour). These meetings help faculty members understand the University's mission and the policies established by the Board of Trustees. Additionally, the meetings encourage understanding and harmony with the academic mission envisioned by prophets.
The Academic Office schedules Academic Discussions for faculty members to offer input on academic initiatives and sends an email announcing the time and place. There are generally two discussion times held to accommodate various teaching schedules. Attendance is elective, based on interest.
The Spori Summit is a faculty retreat designed to allow extended discussions about learning and teaching challenges and successes with colleagues across all colleges and disciplines. The Spori Summit is sponsored by the Best Practices Committee (see 6.2.8 Learning and Teaching Committees).
A faculty conference is held annually before the start of Fall Semester and is sponsored by the Dialogue Committee. All faculty members are invited to attend. Those interested in making presentations may submit proposals to members of the Dialogue Committee (see 6.2.8 Learning and Teaching Committees).
Each spring the Best Practices Committee hosts a Faculty Banquet. Spouses are invited, and the University president traditionally provides remarks.
At the Faculty Banquet, the Best Practices Committee recognizes Exemplary Faculty (see 6.2.8 Learning and Teaching Committees). This award reflects significant achievement on a yearly basis. Nominations are made by department chairs and college deans. The associate acdemic vice president for instruction compiles the list of names, and the President's Executive Group approved the recipients.
The associate academic vice president for instruction coordinates training meetings for newly-hired faculty members. The meetings are typically held three times a semester at 7:00 am, and newly-hired faculty members are expected to attend monthly for one full year.
The Academic Office schedules campus Forums on a third Thursday twice each semester. The college deans recommend names of speakers and help to host the Forums (see 3.3.10 Guest Speakers).
All campus-wide speakers require the approval of the President's Council, the President's Executive Group, and the Board of Trustees one year in advance. Requests are submitted on the Speaker Request Form and the clearances are valid for one year.
The 2:00 pm hour provides an excellent meeting time for colleges, departments, and societies. In order to utilize it well, the following priority pattern has been established:
- First Thursday: Campus Leadership Forum (March and November), President's Advisory Committee (May), All-employee Meeting (October), and General Faculty Meetings (during open months)
- Second Thursday: First-year Experience with New Freshmen (January and September); All-employee Meeting (May); Campus Leadership Forum (July); and college, department, and committee meetings (February, March, April, June, August, October, November, and December)
- Third Thursday: Forums (February, March, May, June, October, and November) and First-year Experience with New Freshmen (April)
- Fourth Thursday: college and department meetings
- Fifth Thursday: Faculty Association (also for events not requiring faculty participation)
When conflicts occur due to CES meetings, the calendar track system, or circumstances beyond the University's control, the following priority order applies: 1) Forums, 2) First-year Experience, 3) All-employee and General Faculty Meetings, 4) Campus Leadership Forum, and 5) College and department meetings.
Members of the Academic Office conduct periodic training meetings with academic college and department office assistants and online area office assistants. The purpose of these meetings is to train office assistants on new initiatives, counsel regarding best practices, and coordination of academic efforts.
The Academic Office coordinates all of the academic affairs of the University, including the academic calendar, catalog, Academic Discovery Centers, and human subjects' research.
The University uses a three-semester calendar (see 1.3 Campus Offerings). To accommodate three full semesters annually, the Academic Office designs each semester to be approximately 13.5 weeks in length. The length of class periods is calculated to ensure adequate time for instruction (see 3.2.1 Day Classes).
Student Records and Registration Office coordinates the creation and publication of the annual academic catalog containing policy and curriculum decisions made by the Curriculum Council. Academic offices and departments validate their catalog information up to one year in advance. Faculty members may access electronic versions of all catalogs.
The Academic Office supports the activities which occur in the Academic Discovery Center and its college satellite offices - activities which have been designed to help students explore academic, career, and life options. Resources are available to assist students as they declare majors, concentrations, minors, and clusters; select and sequence classes; develop career plans; find internships and seek employment; and prepare for graduate school.
The Institutional Research and Assessment officer approves all surveys, questions for oral interviews, and questionnaires before they are used by students, teachers, academic leaders, or staff members whether on or off campus (see 2.3.6 Research). The officer may seek assistance from the University president and the Commissioner of Church Education. The officer maintains a copy of the approved questionnaires and surveys.
When faculty members propose to work with minors or other vulnerable populations, as defined by federal law, they must seek approval and receive special training from the Institutional Research and Assessment officer.
The academic vice president has oversight of the resources entrusted to all academic programs. Recognizing the sacred nature of all funds that support the University, every effort is made to keep costs low for students and to be frugal in the use of resources supported by these funds.
Each year, department chairs prepare a stewardship review, prioritizing and explaining their needs for new faculty, facilities, capital equipment, computers, and operating equipment (see 4.4.1 Stewardship Reviews). The college deans receive, review, and merge their departments' requests (see 5.4.1 Stewardship Reviews). The college deans meet first with the associate academic vice president for support services to explain their budget requests and then with the Budget Strategy Committee for a formal presentation.
The Academic Office also creates a stewardship review document requesting changes to University resources.
CFS and visiting faculty positions must be approved by the academic vice president, and full-time faculty positions must be authorized by both the President's Council and the Board of Trustees. The University encourages a broad and open search process. To achieve this, approved CFS and visiting positions are posted for one to three months.
The Academic Office compiles applications and provides them to the appropriate department chairs and college deans for evaluation. Once prioritized lists of candidates have been returned by the department chairs and college deans, the Academic Office reviews the applicants' credentials and obtains ecclesiastical clearances. Background summaries on candidates are submitted to the Commissioner of Church Education for clearance to interview.
The Academic Office constructs an interview schedule for each candidate. For CFS positions, interviews are scheduled with a General Authority, the University president, the academic vice president, the associate academic vice president for instruction, the college dean, the department chair, and a representative from Human Resources. For visiting positions, interviews are scheduled with a General Authority, the associate academic vice president for instruction, the college dean, and the department chair (for additional important information on the department portion of the hiring process, see 4.4.7 Hiring CFS and Visiting Faculty Members).
Following the campus visits of candidates for CFS or visiting faculty positions, the academic leaders who interviewed the candidates meet to determine which candidate(s) to recommend to the Board of Trustees. These decision meetings are critical councils that prayerfully seek the will of the Lord. For CFS faculty positions, the University president leads the decision meeting. For visiting faculty positions, the associate academic vice president for instruction counsels with the college dean and department chair in the making of these important recommendations.
When a decision is reached, the names of a candidate and an alternate are sent to the Board of Trustees and the Executive Committee for approval, a process which can take up to 6 weeks depending on the time of submission.
At the conclusion of the approval process, the Academic Office informs Human Resources and the college deans of all decisions. Human Resources prepares the final hiring paperwork. The college deans inform all candidates of the decision regarding a position. For each candidate who was interviewed, a college dean submits a summary of the reasons for hiring (or not hiring) to the Academic Office.
While the interviews for new adjunct faculty members are scheduled on a departmental level, the Academic Office reviews applicant credentials and obtains the ecclesiastical clearance once a chair recommends a candidate.
The Academic Office, in conjunction with the Instructional Development Office, is responsible for the annual training requirement for all adjunct faculty members in their first three semesters (see 6.2.16 New Faculty Trainings).
The Academic Office seeks to strengthen and build all faculty members - those who are experiencing success in the classroom as well as those who may need assistance and mentoring.
Facilitated by the Learning and Teaching Publication Committee, the journal Perspective is part of the campus-wide conversation at BYU-Idaho (see 6.2.8 Learning and Teaching Committees). Perspective is a forum for publishing findings and insights from faculty members on all topics, especially those which advance the scholarship of learning and teaching.
Appropriate submissions include essays (both personal and academic), poetry, short stories, book reviews, research articles, art, photography, and other academic works. The journal is published once a semester, and each issue is devoted to a specific theme.
When a student approaches the Academic Office to complain about a faculty member, the associate academic vice president for instruction invites the student to meet with the faculty member privately first (see Doctrine and Covenants 42:88). If the student indicates that such a meeting has already taken place or the nature of the complaint is such that a meeting is not advisable, the associate academic vice president for instruction invites the student to meet with the department chair and file a formal grievance in writing. If a student is unsatisfied with how both the faculty member and the department chair have responded to the formal grievance, he or she may then take the complaint to the appropriate college dean for resolution.
If either the student or the faculty member is not satisfied with the resolution of the grievance at the college dean level, a different dean, selected by the Deans' Council, convenes an impartial Grievance Review Committee to make a final determination. The Grievance Review Committee consists of the designated dean, who serves as the committee chair; a faculty member from the same department as the faculty member against whom the complaint was filed; a faculty member from another department; and two students from the Honor Code office. All members of the committee should be impartial and without prior substantial knowledge of the facts and circumstances of the matter.
A final report outlining the decision of the Grievance Review Committee is written by the college dean who chairs the committee. The final report is reviewed and approved by the academic vice president. Copies of the report are provided to the student and faculty member involved. A copy is also kept on file in the Academic Office (see also 3.5.8 Student Grievances in Online Courses).