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.
College staff and student workers who are part of the Learning Resources team were invited to lunch with President and Sister Kusch this month. They were provided with the opportunity to ask questions and have them answered by the Kusches. This article is a report of their conversation, with questions posed and answers provided.
Here’s a summary of what transpired in the Q&A luncheon this month:
Question: Why is the College planning a summer semester starting in 2019?
Answer: It’s part of our effort to educate and be part of the lives of more students. We have the physical resources and have carefully planned a way to overlap our spring and summer semesters, using additional adjunct instructors, for just a few weeks, so students can choose whether they want to enroll in spring semester or summer semester. This also allows us to accept a cohort of students in the summer who may not be ready or able to start school in the spring, which can be helpful for returned missionaries and students already enrolled at other colleges or universities with classes that may overlap our spring semester. Students can also determine the best time to work and earn money for school, during the springtime or summertime. An additional semester provides greater flexibility for students.
Q: How are full-time employee salaries determined?
A: In 2015, a full-scale compensation analysis was commissioned and completed to evaluate LDSBC salaries and wages for internal equity and market competitiveness. The Church Human Resource Department’s global compensation team was included and worked with our HR director to conduct a compensation analysis on each position at the College. Then, recommendations were taken to the Board of Trustees (our governing body) to place all LDSBC positions into appropriate pay grades using the Church’s existing pay grade structure, and to adjust salaries and wages to the 50th percentile (or middle) of each respective pay grade. Subsequent pay adjustments were made in 2016, 2017 and early in 2018 to bring LDSBC permanent employee salaries and wages up to the mid-point of each assigned pay grade. Also, student wages have been increased in order to be more market competitive thanks to additional funding included in our 2018 budget. Salaries and wages at LDSBC are determined by evaluating external salary survey data and internal role comparisons. The broad aim of our compensation philosophy is to ensure internal pay equity and market competitiveness. Currently, LDSBC employs about 90 full-time workers, 180 adjunct faculty and 160 student workers.
Q: I understand 37 percent of this year’s graduating class were international students. How do you see the role of the College in serving international students changing, if at all?
A: We love and welcome international students. We appreciate the diversity of thought and experience they bring to our campus. Many of them come to LDS Business College because a family member, friend or Church leader recommended the school to them. They’ve heard of good experiences here, so they want to see for themselves. We expect about a quarter of our students to continue to be international students. We have a few constraints when it comes to serving them, providing: 1) campus employment (which is required for the F1 Student Visa), 2) student visa assistance, and 3) housing. We’re currently looking at ways to provide additional housing options near campus.
Q: What’s the process for hiring adjunct instructors?
A: We are always looking for quality teachers. We have consistent ads running, encouraging applications. Reviewing applications and interviewing candidates is an ongoing process. As we have needs for additional instructors, we interview and have the candidate teach a class. If it’s a good fit, we invite them to join us. Our Institute of Religion instructors and full-time professors teach about 25 percent of all student credit hours, leaving 75 percent of student credit hours to be taught by adjunct instructors. This is a relatively unique model in higher education that provides several benefits to our students. They’re able to learn from real-world practitioners and are taught current, practical knowledge, skills and abilities for their chosen profession. LDSBC students are also able to become connected to an adjunct instructor’s professional network, often leading to internship and full-time employment opportunities. We continually accept and review student feedback to ensure we maintain a quality learning environment.
Q: What are current student internship opportunities and will there be more opportunities in the future?
A: Many of our students find internships in their field through connections their instructors have. Some of our programs highly recommend internships to help qualify students for an offer of full-time employment. Earlier this year, I (President Kusch) went with our VP of student services to Mexico to investigate internships for our students there. We went to Mexico because, after the U.S., the next largest group of students comes from Mexico. We met with several well-known companies and brands and are investigating setting-up internship opportunities there. We would like to be able to provide internships for our students in their home countries.
Q: Are there any changes coming soon to campus?
A: Watch for the brick sidewalks around the Devereaux Mansion to be taken out and replaced with cement sidewalks. Cement is much more cost-effective than brick for the highly trafficked sidewalks at the Triad Center.
Q: I heard the announcement in Commencement about LDSBC associate degree graduates being automatically accepted into BYU-Idaho online to continue their education. Would this be a way to eventually pursue a graduate degree?
A: Currently, BYU-Idaho has a limited number of programs online. Depending on what field you plan to work in and get a graduate degree in, you may or may not be able to find the right curriculum in the BYU-Idaho online offerings. The BYU-Idaho online option would be beneficial for a student with an associate degree who accepts an offer of full-time employment and wants to continue working toward a general bachelor’s degree. The location of a job wouldn’t impact the student’s ability to get a bachelor’s degree from BYU-Idaho online.
Q: Are there plans to add new programs and classes at LDS Business College?
A: Yes. We’re always looking for and working on a curriculum that is skills-based and would help our students be prepared to make a significant contribution in the workplace from day one. We’re planning to launch a pilot program for a new certificate program this fall. Stay tuned for more information.
Q: Since we’re the College’s Learning Resources team, is there something you’d like to share specifically with us?
A: Yes. Thank you. Thank you for your work reducing costs for our students. The average cost for books for our students has gone from $340 per student per semester to $125. That’s a remarkable change in the past five years.
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 breakfast or lunch Q&A sessions. If you have questions or feedback about Q&A sessions, please contact the College public affairs team.