Thinking of Employment with BYU Religious Education?
What are the criteria to be used in deciding whom to hire?
Prospective faculty members in Religious Education at Brigham Young University must be firm in their commitment to the Savior and his restored gospel. Other qualifications, no matter how impressive, do not override the necessity of this criterion.
Whatever their specific discipline may be, we also want all faculty members to be well acquainted with all the Standard Works and with the teachings of the prophets of the Restoration, living and dead. A solid foundation in the doctrines of the gospel is critical to our work.
Underscoring the above, the Board of Trustees has directed Religious Education to “seek to hire individuals who meet the following standards:
- As for all faculty at the university, the candidate for appointment to the religious education faculty must have the personal character, faith, testimony, and qualities of life that are a powerful role model for our students. Candidates must also be sound doctrinally.
- The candidate demonstrates unusual potential for excellent teaching of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. This will often, but not always, be demonstrated by teaching experience in religious education in CES” (“Strengthening Religious Education in Institutions of Higher Education, Church Educational System,” June 12, 2019).
- Beginning in 2021, applicants with full-time teaching experience in Seminaries and Institutes are preferred (https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/si/jobs).
All qualified individuals, including women, members of underrepresented groups, and persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply.
According to the Board of Trustees, “[t]he purpose of religious education is to teach the restored gospel of Jesus Christ from the scriptures and modern prophets in a way that helps each student
- Develop faith in and a testimony of
- Heavenly Father and His “great plan,”
- The Savior, Jesus Christ, and His infinite atoning sacrifice, and
- The restored gospel of Jesus Christ, including The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; the Prophet, Joseph Smith; and the other modern prophets, seers, and revelators.
- Become lifelong disciples of Jesus Christ, who make and keep covenants, who love God and others, and who are able, willing, and committed to gather Israel on both sides of the veil.
- Strengthen their ability to find answers, resolve doubts, respond with faith, and give reason for the hope within them in whatever challenges they may face. . . .
Excellent teaching of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ in a way that helps each student achieve [these] objectives . . . is the primary professional responsibility of each member of the faculty. Teaching includes classroom learning experiences as well as advising and mentoring students outside the class. Teaching should be the main component of a faculty member’s workload” (“Strengthening Religious Education in Institutions of Higher Education,” June 12, 2019).
Consistent with these goals and purposes, prospective faculty should be prepared to teach the restored gospel of Jesus Christ in ways that are both substantive and inspirational. Students should become familiar with the text studied in each course and learn the implications of the text for daily living. They should feel free to raise honest questions, with confidence that they will be treated with respect and dignity and that their questions will be discussed intelligently in the context of faith. Where answers have not been clearly revealed, forthright acknowledgment of that fact should attend, and teachers should not present their own interpretations of such matters as the positions of the Church. Students should see exemplified in their instructors an open, appropriately tentative, tolerant approach to “gray” areas of the gospel. At the same time, they should see in their instructors certitude and unwavering commitment to those things that have been clearly revealed and do represent the position of the Church. Teachers should be models of the fact that one can be well-trained in a discipline, intellectually vigorous, honest, critical, and articulate, and at the same time be knowledgeable and fully committed to the gospel of Jesus Christ, His Church and Kingdom, and His appointed servants.
Religious instruction cannot be effective without the power of the Holy Ghost. Religious Education faculty must therefore live their lives, prepare their lessons, and conduct their classes in such a way that the Holy Ghost will be present. Like other BYU classes, Religion classes are expected to be (1) spiritually strengthening, (2) intellectually enlarging, and (3) character building, leading to (4) lifelong learning and service.
Regarding the role of scholarship in a faculty member’s responsibilities, the Board of Trustees has reminded us that “[s]cholarship is important but secondary in two ways: (1) the allocation of faculty time, and (2) scholarship's role in supporting student learning and development. Therefore, scholarship in religious education should be defined broadly and may include (a) gospel scholarship directed primarily to Latter-day Saints, (b) academic research and publishing directed primarily to an academic audience, and (c) pedagogical scholarship aimed at improving teaching and learning. While directed at different audiences, each type of scholarship must be of high quality and must advance the purposes of religious education. Gospel scholarship directed primarily to Latter-day Saints should be a part of any assigned scholarship responsibility” (“Strengthening Religious Education in Institutions of Higher Education,” June 12, 2019).
TRAINING AND CREDENTIALS
Full-time faculty are to be trained at the doctorate level and must be awarded a doctoral degree prior to beginning full-time employment at BYU. Normally, part-time teachers must have a master’s degree. Such training presupposes that one has mastered certain intellectual skills and perceptions important to the life of the mind, and critical for teaching, researching, and writing at the university level. Faculty must also be able to communicate complex subjects to a general Latter-day Saint audience.
The Department of Ancient Scripture needs faculty trained and competent in disciplines relevant to teaching and research in the following subjects: Book of Mormon, Old Testament/Hebrew Bible, and New Testament.
The Department of Church History and Doctrine needs faculty trained and competent in disciplines relevant to teaching and research in the following subjects: Doctrine and Covenants, the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the writings of Latter-day Saint leaders, the Eternal Family, American religious history, and world religions.
The hiring process strives to maintain a balanced faculty with expertise in each of these areas and more.
Beginning in 2021, applicants with full-time teaching experience in Seminaries and Institutes are preferred (https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/si/jobs).
Citizenship has a number of dimensions. Within Religious Education it means to work harmoniously, happily, and effectively with the administrators, staff, and other faculty. This includes attending appropriate meetings, accepting committee assignments and serving well, reviewing others’ written work when requested, being willing to mentor junior faculty. It entails sharing ideas and sources which help others to improve their performance, and treating students, visitors, staff, and colleagues with respect and courtesy. It also involves abiding by the guidelines necessary to efficient, cost-effective administration of Religious Education. In summary, it means being a good team player.
Beyond Religious Education, good citizenship requires a university mind-set. Participation in university-wide functions such as devotionals, forums, and symposia is fundamental. In addition, participation in interdisciplinary studies, publication, group or one-on-one exchanges is important, as is accepting appointments to serve on university committees and performing well. There is a great need for honest collegiality with our brothers and sisters across campus. If BYU is to accomplish what it is intended to accomplish, it will require the concerted, best efforts of all associated with the campus. Recognizing and acknowledging the contributions of all—administrators, faculty, staff, and students—is critical.
Religious Education Part-Time Faculty Policy
Part-time and adjunct faculty must meet the same qualifications identified above under “Orientation” above. Other considerations for prospective part-time and adjunct faculty include:
Qualifications: Application for a part-time faculty position in Religious Education is made through either the Department of Ancient Scripture or the Department of Church History and Doctrine, both located in room 375 of the Joseph Smith Building. To be considered, applicants must have obtained at least a master’s degree or equivalent. In exceptional cases, applicants enrolled in and nearing completion of a master’s program may also be considered. All applicants must complete required paperwork, submit letters of recommendation, and be interviewed by the respective Department Chair to determine if their academic training and teaching experience meet Religious Education standards. Endorsement from the applicant’s local ecclesiastical leaders and approval by the Religious Education Administrative Council are also required. These will be obtained by the Department Chairs if it is determined the applicant is a potential part-time faculty candidate. Part-time faculty are hired on an “as-needed” basis. Religious Education makes no guarantee of future employment to any current part-time faculty or qualified applicant.
Orientation and Training: Part-time teachers are to attend an annual orientation meeting at the beginning of each academic year. Each part-time teacher is to receive a “Part-time Faculty Handbook,” which outlines teacher responsibilities, rights, resources, expectations, policies, and procedures. Part-time faculty are encouraged to attend monthly inservice classes held to assist them with curriculum content and pedagogy. Sample syllabi, tests, course objectives, reading schedules and online instructional materials for each course are also available for part-time faculty through the respective department faculty inservice coordinators.
Evaluation: The status and performance of all part-time faculty is reviewed annually by the Department Chairs. Part-time faculty are also required to conduct the university’s “Student Ratings of the Learning Experience” evaluation for each class they teach each semester. Results of these evaluations are reviewed by Department Chairs and the Religious Education Dean’s office. Acceptable levels of performance are required as a condition of continued employment. Institutional evaluation of the part-time faculty policies and procedures occur at least every five years as part of the university scheduled department reviews.
Contact Religious Education for more information on
- Full-time faculty tenure-track positions
- Part-time or temporary instructor positions
- Non-BYU doctoral student scholarships (BYU Religious Studies Center — Dissertation Grant)
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 801-422-2735