Students in a lab abiding by COVID safety guidelines.

BYU-Idaho is fulfilling its mission of developing disciples of Christ by using a strategic plan to train faculty to become strong disciple leaders. As teachers continue developing themselves as devoted followers of Christ, experiences in the classroom will help BYU-Idaho students follow those examples as they become disciple leaders themselves.

The university’s strategic priority plan has many components that help bring its mission to life. This plan includes hiring new faculty, training and vetting pre-continuing faculty status (CFS) faculty members, continuing professional development trainings for faculty, and further developing courses.

Hiring New Faculty

“Building disciples begin with the hiring process of new faculty,” said Dean of Faculty Development Sid Palmer.

With building disciples as the core mission of the university, it also serves as a primary focus in finding faculty candidates who are capable disciple builders.

“When departments and administrators intentionally consider a faculty candidate for their capacity to build disciples, it provides one more powerful metric for evaluating candidates and helping us strengthen our primary mission,” Palmer said.

Training & Vetting

Newly hired faculty will embark on an ongoing three-year training, called the CFS program, which is focused on their development as disciple builders. During this training, newly hired faculty will participate in presentations, discussions, and classes to help them grow their skills and their understanding of the importance of applying BYU-Idaho's mission to develop disciple leaders in everything they do.

These new faculty members are also mentored by members of their CFS committee, and by end of their training they are evaluated by a member of their CFS committee, the department chair, and the dean.

Professional Development for Continuing Faculty

To ensure ongoing strong disciple leaders, each year all faculty members are encouraged to evaluate themselves and create professional development plans to share with their department chairs. These plans are focused on five different areas, one being discipleship.

“Faculty members reflect on their past efforts to build discipleship in their students, consider what has gone well and what could be improved, and create an action plan on how to strengthen this focus,” Palmer said.

Course Development

A committee of academic leaders created four institutional learning outcomes for faculty members to review while creating their courses. Producing disciples of Christ was one of the four learning outcomes.

“We invite all faculty to contribute to the dialog of building faith and discipleship in our courses both through the Progressing Teacher course and through other resources on the university’s Learning and Teaching website,” Palmer said.

To further the discipleship of faculty and students, BYU-Idaho will continue to focus on creating stronger disciple leaders within its faculty and improving course and discipleship connections.

“Discipleship and disciple building happens in all aspects of faculty-student interactions, including in the classroom. Our experience has been that in the classroom, this happens more effectively if it is built into the course in authentic and powerful ways,” Palmer said.