Note: This is an installment in the Q&A series, reporting in the LDSBC Newsroom on informal meetings held with President and Sister Kusch and members of the College community. During the Q&A sessions, students, faculty and staff are invited to submit questions and engage in conversations with the Kusches about all that’s going on at LDSBC. Check out other Q&A articles here.
Students and staff from the Help Desk and OIT areas on campus were invited to lunch with President and Sister Kusch this month. They were given the opportunity to ask questions and have them answered by the Kusches.
Here’s a summary of what transpired in the Q&A luncheon this month:
Question: What are your overall feelings for the OIT and Help Desk staff?
Answer: President and Sister Kusch expressed deep appreciation for the OIT and Help Desk staff. Sister Kusch remarked that every time she has a question, she is quickly met with help. It doesn’t matter how many times she has the same question, the students and staff are always willing to help.
President Kusch mentioned that no one calls the Help Desk just to chat and express their thanks – people always call because they’re frustrated with something not working quite right. Everyone from OIT and the Help Desk exercises great patience and understanding when working through issues.
Q: I went to BYU-I to get my bachelor’s, and from the very first day I noticed that they emphasized dating. At first, I didn't like that they made every event an opportunity for students to bring a date. However, I realized that it was a way for the school to show that they care about families and about safely going on dates and socializing. Having friends at school makes the students feel more connected to the school. My question is, how do you promote socializing and getting the students connected to the school?
A: Sister Kusch began her answer with a question of her own: Are you currently going to the events that we have on campus? She went on to add that every week LDS Business College has events designed to help students interact with each other.
President Kusch talked about his time at BYU-Idaho. When the Kusches first arrived, they noticed that there were many opportunities for students to meet each other and interact together. They know how important it is for students to socialize.
The Kusches encouraged all participants to be proactive and outgoing and to participate in as many events as possible.
Q: What are some of your favorite ways to prepare yourself for temple worship?
A: The Kusches discussed taking family names to the temple, and the miracles that have taken place in their lives over the past few years through DNA testing.
President Kusch described not being able to find family names on one side of his family. A group of family members then dedicated a Fast Sunday together for a miracle. Shortly thereafter, the Kusches received the answer they were looking for and now have thousands of family names to take to the temple. They discussed how much of a blessing this was in not only their own lives, but in the lives of all of their family members.
It’s really interesting what you learn through family lines and ancestry. It’ll connect you to different migration companies, and you’ll be able to find out if you have ancestors that were part of the Mormon Battalion, etc. It’s just remarkable what you learn in DNA testing. It’s also interesting that you can see the migration patterns of your ancestors and where they started.
Q: Being president of the College I'm sure is a very time-consuming task. Just curious what you do to relax or what you do for fun? (Hobbies, recreation, etc.)
A: I like to run. I ran a half marathon last month. I will run a 5K with my son on Thanksgiving. I ran cross country in high school my senior year, and I hated every step of it. I just didn’t like it. I did it because my best friend was a track star. I wanted to hang out with him. I’m not fast. I’ve never been fast.
When I worked at Logitech, there was an annual corporate 5K each year. Someone came by my desk to sign me up. I initially refused, but when she said, “Look, it’s only three miles. Anybody can run three miles.” – ego got the best of me and I’ve been running ever since. I just got hooked.
I always try to run when I go away on business trips. I’ve run in Japan, Taiwan, England, China, Malaysia, Scotland, Mexico, Guatemala, etc. I enjoy that. I just enjoy a nice long run on a hot day in the humidity. It’s therapeutic. I’ve written a lot of talks in my mind while I am running.
I also love sports. I played softball and basketball when we were living in California. I would go boogie boarding at the beach until we moved. I was a surfer in high school. I also love to fly fish. That was one of the things I really loved about Idaho. We bought some snowshoes this year and plan on hiking around the golf course near where we live.
Sister Kusch mentioned how President Kusch is also a really good photographer. He entered some pictures in the Utah State Fair. One of them that he took is part of a traveling exhibit for the Utah Arts Council. They mounted it and framed it. It will be traveling around the state for a year.
Q: What are the expectations that the church and academic authorities have about the LDSBC students?
A: Before President Eyring’s devotional, we were waiting in the green room together and he was just talking about some of the things that he had heard prophets say about LDS Business College: the people that work here and the students that come here. He just expressed how much he loves this place and how much he loves all of you. One of the things he really appreciates and loves about being here is associating with students. So, for a prophet to say that this place is unique, different, wonderful and inspired is really quite amazing. It was remarkable to hear that.
We love getting in the elevator and hearing different languages spoken. It’s part of what makes this unlike any other place in all of church education. We’re so grateful to be here.
It would not be appropriate for me to say how much the Church spends on educating its youth each year. But if you knew, you would be staggered by the amount. They do it because they know the potential of those that come to Church schools. They know the benefit and blessing of those that have the opportunity to be educated at a Church school. I’ve never heard a member of the First Presidency say, “We’re spending too much on these kids.” They’re very concerned in making sure that money is wisely spent, but I’ve never heard them complain that we’re spending too much on education.
If there’s one expectation – it’s that those who come to a Church school live their lives with gratitude for the rest of their lives. At least half, if not three quarters of your education is funded by the Church. As expensive as it is to come, the Church is paying for most of your education. If we didn’t have the Church’s generous support, students would have to pay three times as much as they are to come here.
Q: What is the purpose of changing the catalog if it makes it more difficult for students to graduate sooner? In regards to new courses that have been created, I have found that they are not tested before being given to students, making it harder for students to succeed.
A: Catalog changes should never mean that it takes a student takes longer to graduate. Unless, the student decides to switch to a new catalog year with different courses, meaning, they have to take more courses that they did before in the previous catalog. If a student chooses to change catalogs, then they’re subject to the new requirements. The challenge is if you change your major, you change to a new catalog. Students do that. It sometimes takes students as many as four times before they find the right major for them. There are a lot of students that come out of school that just aren’t sure. So, they try some things and figure some things out. It’s really common, but makes a difference academically when you do that.
Courses are tested before they’re launched. I think we have some of the best instructional designers in the Church. Their capabilities are amazing. We don’t intentionally build courses that we think would be problematic. When I first came here, we were issuing three academic catalogs a year. One for every semester. Nobody seemed to appreciate the nightmare that it was creating. Now, we’re down to just one a year. I think that’s helped with some of the confusion around counseling.
Q: You’re both very successful in your professional and personal careers. What have you done to maintain a good career with each other as your careers have advanced?
A: Friday night dates. Before we lived in Idaho, we spent the first few years of our marriage with President Kusch working in the high-tech industry. President Kusch traveled with a couple of his jobs 50 percent of the time. We had a routine down. Sister Kusch learned to do several jobs around the house such as dry-walling during that time. Figuring out the balance was fun. There were things that had to get done while President Kusch was traveling. As long as we had Friday night date night, we were good. Sometimes it was just walking around the mall without a penny to our name. Just being together with each other’s attention was great.
Do your best to stay grounded in the Gospel principles. There are times when you feel stressed. You feel like a rubber band. You feel stretched beyond your capacity to be stretched. It can be stressful. There were times in President Kusch’s career that were intense. More so than he ever wanted to experience. He felt like he was one crummy driver away from road rage – so on-edge for so many reasons. What gets you through that is knowing that you have a family that loves you, and that you stay true to Gospel principles. That doesn’t mean that you can allocate equal time to things or as much time as you would like. Sometimes work requires things, family requires things and church requires things. Here’s my measure for whether your life is out of balance: if the day ever comes that something in your life is more important than keeping the covenants you made – then your life is out of balance and you must speedily repent.
All students, faculty and staff are invited to submit questions for President and Sister Kusch here. Those who have provided questions may be asked to future Q&A sessions. If you have questions or feedback about Q&A sessions, please contact the College public affairs team.