By the time you read this message, our fall semester will have begun. It will be a semester unlike we have ever experienced, whether we are working/teaching remotely; or working in person while wearing masks, physically distancing, and following other safety precautions; or doing a little bit of both. 

We in the dean’s office are so pleased with what we are hearing about how you have taken on our current challenges so bravely. While at other universities there are a lot of complaints, elimination of jobs, salary, and budget cuts, we are not experiencing such detrimental effects of the pandemic. We continue to strengthen our forces; it’s amazing to witness this unified effort. We truly are blessed to work at BYU and in the McKay School of Education.

Several of you attended our professional development workshop led by Charles Graham (IP&T) on online teaching and learning. Others took the meta-analysis class offered by Tim Smith (CPSE) and gained skills that are even more critical now that access to K–12 students may be limited. Many of you have worked to improve your teaching and work by taking courses offered by the Center for Teaching and Learning and using resources such as those found on BYU’s Teach Anywhere website. Our own IP&T Department has been at the forefront of sharing principles, tools, and strategies for adapting our teaching in this new environment. Their service to the university community has been recognized at the highest university levels.

We are also touched by the accounts we have heard of you supporting each other in your personal and professional lives. As you may be going through difficult times due to COVID-19 and other life issues, we see colleagues and friends reaching out with “one heart and one mind” (Moses 7:18) to “comfort those who stand in need of comfort” (Mosiah 18:9). 

I consider it an honor to work and serve alongside each one of you. May God bless you this semester as you diligently serve His children, our students here at BYU. 

Tina Taylor