It is a stroke of fortune to take the helm of a robust college in a time of stability. The current strength of the College of Life Sciences is due to the leadership of previous deans and others, particularly to the wisdom and steady hand of my immediate predecessor, Dean James Porter. He built a foundation of firm commitment to the Mission and Aims of BYU, with students as our undisputed number one priority. We are now in the enviable position of building upon that foundation as we search for opportunities where small adjustments can bring us into ever greater alignment with the Mission and Aims of our university and with its inspired Statement on Belonging. We have recently undertaken a significant effort to solicit input and feedback from students and employees across the college. That input will shape our efforts in the months and years ahead. At the same time, we will devote effort and resources to four priorities that I shared during the search that led to my appointment, and that I feel a mandate to pursue:
- Produce graduates who confidently integrate radiant faith with scientific expertise.
- Cultivate a community of belonging where every student and every employee feels valued and appreciated.
- Make experiential learning opportunities such as research with faculty members, internships, and study abroad programs more widely accessible to every student.
- Communicate how our student’s research makes a difference in the world.
Our faculty and staff are generous mentors to students and approach this work in a spirit of consecration, which brings these lofty goals within our reach. With appreciation for the past and hope for the future, we will move forward as directed by President Spencer W. Kimball in his Second Century Address:
We must do more than ask the Lord for excellence. Perspiration must precede inspiration; there must be effort before there is excellence. We must do more than pray for these outcomes at BYU, though we must surely pray. We must take thought. We must make effort. We must be patient. We must be professional. We must be spiritual.
We are committed to incorporating President Kimball’s admonition into our initiatives as we work to build a community of alumni, students, faculty, and staff who share the light of Christ with each other and with the world.