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 faculty from both the Project Management and Global Supply Chain & Operations programs were invited to lunch with President Kusch this month. They were given the opportunity to ask questions and have them answered by President Kusch.
Here’s a summary of what transpired in the Q&A luncheon this month:
Question: President Kusch, are traditional students a target market for the College in the future or not? What are reasons either way? According to the Priorities Report, it found that 67% of adult learners rate their level of satisfaction with their college experience as “satisfied” or “very satisfied.” Only 53% of traditional students could make this same claim. Apart from this, I feel that there may be a large gap in the market for the following: Part-time attendance; Full-time employment; Financial independence; Having dependents other than a spouse; Being a single parent; or Lacking a high school diploma.
Answer: I have said that LDS Business College may not be the place for everyone, but everyone that comes here will find their place. Do we want non-traditional students? I’m looking at several here in this group today. A traditional student would be defined as anyone from 18-24 who’s single.
A non-traditional student is someone who has come back to formal education after some time and is most likely married. They might be working full- or part-time. They might be a parent or a single parent.
Do we want these types of students? Absolutely. Have we figured out the absolute best way to recruit them here? No, and we’re still trying to figure that out. We’re trying to figure out how we reach those students in a way that makes it attractive for them to come.
If you’re a single parent – financially, there’s no hurdle. We have a single-parent scholarship that covers 120% of tuition. Everyone gets to use the UTA pass for free as well. So, getting here is not an issue. Paying for college is not an issue. I realize that paying for child care is not something that we address, but we try and make this as easy as we possibly can for a single parent.
My wife finished her degree at BYU-Idaho as a non-traditional student and it’s been a great blessing for her and our family. I personally think that non-traditional students bring a measure of maturity into studies. The work that they do – their example, the way they participate in class, the things they know that a traditional student that hasn’t had those experiences – is phenomenal. The younger students help those that are older and vice versa. Everyone is blessed. It’s a complete and total win-win.
Q: To your knowledge, are there any plans in place to rename LDSBC considering the renaming changes within the church?
A: I love this question. I’ve been asked it many times. At this point in time, we do not anticipate a name change. It’s been discussed. Names have been informally proposed, but we understand that the First Presidency likes the name.
You might ask after President Nelson’s talk in October Conference, doesn’t it seem like it needs to be changed? After I heard about this, I went back and looked at President Nelson’s concluding comments, and he made reference to the fact that we had been taught about using the Savior’s correct name in His Church. While we are affiliated and sponsored by the Church, we are not a Church. That knowledge put me at peace. If the prophet likes the name, then we do too.
At some point in time, they may say that they want to change it but until or unless they do, we are happy to remain LDS Business College and it may very well be that way forever.
Q: Can you explain a little more about the changes coming to degrees and certificates at the College starting in Fall 2019?
A: Just so you understand the background of what we’re doing with our degrees – five years ago, a much different time, the first wave of returned missionaries was coming back after the age change. LDS Business College was founded with the idea that this was a place where students would come and get skills and be prepared to go into work.
We kind of got away from that. More and more students were coming and were essentially doing enough to be able to transfer to other schools. It was a feeder school where students weren’t really focused on any kind of skills – they were simply coming here to take some general education courses. That wasn’t what the purpose of this place was.
There was a decision made to focus on skills-based education. We wanted to reinforce that idea. The decision was made to focus almost exclusively on Applied Associate’s degrees. These are generally not transferable. What was also realized was that we didn’t do a very good job of communicating that to students. Even though students were directed down this path, many still planned to transfer. When they tried to transfer to a four-year school, they were told that their degrees wouldn’t be accepted nor much of anything that they had done. Students felt they were somehow misled and disappointed.
We began to study that about three years ago when we began to see this start to happen among students. For the last several years we’ve been looking at what adjustments we could make that would improve our institution and serve the desires and needs of our students.
The preferred path now is an Associate of Science degree, which is fully transferable. We now emphasize also doing one or two certificates along with that degree. You do the skills stuff first, so even if you don’t finish everything with the degree, you’re left with something that will leave you much more employable.
That’s the idea behind this new degree. We feel this will serve the needs of the students that want to transfer and also the students who want to jump right into their career. That’s the strategy behind what we’ve done and why we’ve done it. We think it will better serve our students and fulfill our purpose to help students become more capable and trusted disciples of Jesus Christ.
Q: One of the keys to effective learning and success is to never pass a misunderstood word. There is industry specific terminology in any industry that a project manager will work in. As we branch off to the various industries the unknown "language" of the industry will be somewhat detrimental to a new PM's confidence and career. I retired from law enforcement and am currently an EMT, this is where my understanding of industry terminology comes from. I have a fear of my own ability to perform in an area where I become the lay person to what is being discussed within future employment conversations. Is there a possibility, whether it be incorporated into existing courses or new courses created, that basic vocabulary of the top three project management industries (i.e. I.T., Medical, Construction)?
A: If I were starting at LDS Business College and selecting Project Management, I would not only pick a Project Management certificate, but I would pick an additional certificate in another discipline. I would combine those. Project management skills combined with domain knowledge and expertise in anything would make you very employable. If I were a potential employer in construction, and I saw someone who had domain expertise in social media marketing or IT, for example, I would be much more interested in hiring that person.
Q: How do you balance your family, church, and work responsibilities? What do you think it is essential for young marriages? President Kusch, what do you do when you have to decide between two good choices?
A: If anything in your life ever becomes more important to you than keeping your covenants, then your life is out of balance. Keep your covenants first and your life will be in balance. That doesn’t mean you will spend equal amounts of time on things. I’ve had callings in the Church in the past that have required 20 hours a week. My current calling isn’t as demanding. It may be in the future, but for now – it isn’t. Just do your best.
Keep your covenants and be kind to each other in marriage. If you’ll do that and put the Lord first, everything just seems to work out. That was something that we really tried to do. My wife and I learned very early on in our marriage that if we put the Lord first, he would pour out blessings that we could hardly contain. I’m not talking monetary – but the things that the Lord has blessed us with have been remarkable. There will be times that you will have to choose. The Lord will want to know if you’re on his side or not. If you’ll always put the Lord first, it will always work out. You may not know how, you may not know when, but you can be confident that it will.
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.