Diversity: Understanding and Teaching Diverse Students

Valuing Diversity, Aiming for Unity


Official Statement of the BYU Educator Preparation Program

The BYU Educator Preparation Program (EPP) supports the mission of Brigham Young University to provide a period of intensive learning that promotes commitment to excellence, service to others, and the full realization of human potential.1 Human potential is of divine origin.2 This knowledge motivates us to profoundly respect all individuals. Although remarkable differences of family life, physical attributes, culture, language, access to resources and education, interests, and capability characterize individuals and groups across the world, we believe that “what unites us is far more important than what differentiates us."3

The unified community that we seek does not come through similar attributes or backgrounds, but rather through mutual regard, respect, and charity towards all, especially when there are differences4 in those attributes or backgrounds. Although we will not support practices contrary to the doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we oppose prejudice5 and derision of others, and we affirm principles of justice and equity. We value our opportunity and responsibility to enroll, develop, and graduate individuals whose diverse circumstances, backgrounds, and potential for achievement provide mutual enrichment in our learning community.6 In short, we seek to benefit from the differences among us so that we are “no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and the household of God.”7

In the EPP, we seek to model the following principles8:

  • Respect for all others
  • High quality instruction with high expectations for learners/clients
  • Understanding of differences among individuals and groups, with accompanying adaptation of intervention and assessment methods
  • Inclusion of stakeholders in decision making
  • Attention to outcomes, using data to prompt ongoing development and improvement of learning communities

Because the EPP encompasses a number of academic departments representing a broad range of professional interests and operations, our guiding principles are intentionally broad. Academic programs within the EPP are also guided by their relevant discipline-specific standards (e.g., INTASC for teacher preparation programs). Discipline-specific standards consistent with our guiding principles are implemented in each academic program, as reflected in program documentation, course syllabi, and evaluation of candidate performance.


1The Mission of Brigham Young University
2Romans 8:16
3Dallin H. Oaks, “Weightier Matters,” Ensign, Jan. 2001, 13
4Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley [1997], 661, 665.
5Alexander B. Morrison, "No More Strangers," Ensign, Sept. 2000, 16
6Creating an Enriched Environment [draft], Brigham Young University
7Ephesians 2:19
8The five principles are distilled from professional education literature, including INTASC and the Utah State Office of Education’s Principles for Equity in Utah Public Schools. They are intended to harmonize with the conceptual framework endorsed by the educational licensing programs in the MSE based on principles of moral education and nurturing pedagogy.