Dean Scott Miller: A Vision of and for the Humanities

IMG_4728Newly appointed dean Scott Miller ushered in the academic year noting faculty awards, professorships, lectureships, and a vision of and for the college at the 2015 college session of BYU’s Annual University Conference. 

PROVO, Utah (Aug. 26, 2015)—Christ was not performing a miracle to astound or convert His disciples when He told Peter to cast his line for a fish containing a coin to pay tribute tax. According to Dean Scott Miller, He was making a point in Peter’s own occupational language.

At the Humanities College session of BYU’s Annual University Conference, in his speech Miller said he believes faculty, too, are given the opportunity to see the hand of God in their occupations when they cast their own lines in faith and witness miracles.

Many faculty members’ consecrated efforts were recognized this year at the college conference, including:

Ludwig-Weber-Siebach Professorship: Marc Olivier (French and Italian)

Scheuber-Veinz Professorship: Rob McFarland (German and Russian) and Greg Stallings (Spanish and Portuguese)

College Excellence in Teaching Award: Trent Hickman (English)

Humanities+ Award: Jamie Horrocks (English)

College Adjunct Faculty Excellence in Teaching: Kathryn Isaak (Comparative Arts and Letters)

Humanities Center Fellows: Heather Belnap Jensen (Comparative Arts and Letters), Rob McFarland (German and Russian), Dee Gardner (Linguistics and English Language), and Jill Terry Rudy (English)

James Barker Lectureship: Tony Brown (German and Russian)

P.A. Christensen Lectureship: Mark Johnson (Comparative Arts and Letters)

Associate Dean George Handley proposed forming a Humanities and Belief research group for faculty to discuss ways of providing “a better intellectual environment at BYU for students to thrive and to find their role in the Kingdom.”

Associate Dean Frank Christianson  emphasized the role of Humanities+ within the college’s culture and the need to continue assisting students to use their skills in professional contexts.

Associate Dean Ray Clifford highlighted accomplishments in the college from the 2014-2015 academic year, including over 1,000 language certificates issued in 120 different programs and ACTFL (a major national language organization) contracting with BYU to develop tests of language reading and listening proficiency.

To conclude the conference, Dean Miller encouraged faculty to view students’ backgrounds in service, leadership and language as one of the college’s greatest assets—an asset that should be leveraged in professors’ curriculum.

He continued, “I can only suggest that we should play to our strengths, and that the privilege we may now claim–to teach and interact with some of the finest souls on the face of the earth–is a blessing that will take all of our inspiration, creativity, and resourcefulness to realize.”

Miller hopes faculty will show students a more liberating vision in the way they teach, write their publications, and share their faith.

He concluded, “We can also help them, through self-discovery and faith, arrive at a more enlightened sense of who they are and what calling, and perhaps even vocation, God has in store for them.”

–Sylvia Cutler (B.A. English/French ’17)