Doug Chabrius

DOUG CHABRIUS:


OK.  I’m Doug Chabrius, Dean of the College of Engineering and Technology.

Well-educated teacher, I’d have to say that, uh, the few things I–I look for, number one, do they focus in on only their aspect of learning and their discipline as being pre–and above all else or do they really regard and respect, uh, all learning as having high value.  And are they excited about learning, do they like to do things outside of their discipline.  Do they enjoy reading?  Do the kids enjoy learning when they come out of their class?  Are they excited about what they have learned?  Uh, or do they come home and say I’ve got homework I ‘have’ to do, uh, or do they sit down and–and want to engage in learning.  I think an–uh–a well-educated teacher really inspires kids to want to learn and want to be different and want to be able to rise to their full potential.

Uh, I came to BYU from industry and the excitement, to me, in coming to BYU is that I could participate in the full panorama of the activities.  Uh, that I could take a music appreciation class if I hadn’t had a chance to do that.  Uh, when I can get involved with others that, uh–uh, get into issues of, uh, translating ancient, uh, writings, uh, Latin.  Uh, see people that have an influence, uh, on my life because of learning in other areas that I haven’t been directly associated with.  And I–I find that’s a–a–an exhilarating opportunity and–and, uh, it’s something I looked forward to when I came to the university, that’s why I came here.

Uh, let me just give you some background the, uh, for a moment that maybe will help, uh, address that issue.  Uh, I spent about 12 years working for the United States Navy as a civil servant.  Uh, during that time I helped design devices that, uh, were used for sonar systems.  Uh, when I came to the university, uh, being an engineer I wanted to find where the solutions I had could be used.  What problems could–could we address.  Uh, I went to a seminar on campus and listened to some audiologists talk about the problems of hearing and I was intrigued by those.  So I sat down and said, ‘do you know that we can do the following things?’  And their response was, ‘well, gee that would be very, very helpful in our field, uh, and so we started, uh, to do some research, jointly, uh, between, uh, several of us, uh, Robert Bray, The Comprehensive Clinic, later Richard Harris, uh, Martin Robinette who was then at the University of Utah, and that started a process, an action and as we found more about the problems of the hearing impaired we found more about what we might do to meliorate those, uh, handicaps.  And, uh, it turned out, uh, that there was some–were some new discoveries that came out of that interdisciplinary effort.  And we had fun and, uh, we think it’s been beneficial for mankind.

I think that, uh, in engineering especially, we learn a set of tools that teach us to identify a problem, think through potential solutions, uh, try out those solutions and then when we find that they work or don’t work we go through the process once again, uh, with a new set of, uh–approaches and solutions for the problem.  Uh, we’re typically trained to look for problems.  Uh, problems occur everywhere, uh, and as you learn more about uh–the human endeavor, uh, the–the broad spectrum of activities we’re involved in, there’re just a lot of applications.  Uh, I think that one of the ones that would be more far, uh, reaching or, uh, more distant from engineering might be, uh, this involvement in scanning of ancient scrolls in Herculaneum.  Uh, few people would imagine an engineer would ever be associated with that kind of an effort, uh, but I think that in all areas.  One of our faculty got involved in trying to, uh, automate the process of teaching music and helping, uh, provide an instrument, uh, that might address the issue of those who weren’t, uh, really talented, uh, in third world countries.  How could they play or accompany, uh, others at church?  And–and I think those are exciting prospects, it gets us involved in the, uh, total human endeavor.

Well as a father I’d sit down and–and counsel them that they need to get, uh, the–uh, a good education while they’re in the university.  There’s a time in our life when–when you’re able to have more time than any other time.  Uh, that–that you can plan, that you can control and this is it.  And, uh, to get as much knowledge as you can, and to enjoy it as much as you can, and I personally think that breadth makes it exciting.  Uh, I think it’s, uh–uh, a melt–melting pot for different disciplines and they ought to enjoy them all and get to savor the various flavors that they find there. Uh, they’ll have to find an area that they’re going to get very deep in, uh, and they’ll have to be very serious about that, but they really ought to enjoy the–the various, uh, flavors yo–one finds in–uh, a university.

Uh, my own personal, uh, experience is, um–really comes from just attending get togethers, uh–uh, with friends, neighbors, etc. uh, and finding out if they can carry on a conversation even.  Uh, when you find people have different interests, uh, you say, oh gee, I don’t know anything about that I’ll see you later or are you able to engage in finding out, uh, about them, about their interests in life.  But I think the ability to sit down and talk about things you have in common and, uh, explore, uh, mutual desires, uh, experiences, uh, is–is something that comes out of being broadly educated.  Uh, I know many people pride themselves on being able to be educated to the point that they can engage anybody from any other discipline and talk not only about family issues, but about personal issues, about the discipline in an intelligent manner.  And, uh, that takes broad education.

Well, uh, I’m trying to think about what they might have said.  My children, when they attended BYU, I encouraged them to come on campus and–so they did the–that and were here so, uh, I’d see them from time to time and usually when they come home they’re saying, ‘oh, I’ve got a tough semester, there’s a lot of work, it’s a lot harder than I, uh, thought.’  Um, but my one–my–my daughter that’s, uh, on campus now in the college of fine arts, uh–uh, graduated in humanities and she had a delightful experience at the university.  And I don’t remember any unique thing she said except that, uh, she really enjoyed the, uh, time that she spend in studying and it’s–it’s–it’s been very helpful to her.