New V.P. continues unusual Y tradition



    Two new administrators have joined BYU management to help with the day-to-day workings of campus life.

    John S. Tanner will fill the position of academic vice president beginning June 1, and Rory Scanlon is one of two associate deans in the College of Fine Arts and Communications.

    Before Tanner’s appointment, he served five years as English Department chair. Tanner has also served as associate academic vice president under the Bateman and Lee administrations.

    Despite Tanner’s experience in the academic arena, he said the appointment by President Samuelson came as a surprise. Tanner said initially he hesitated leaving his position in the English Department because he enjoyed researching and interacting with the students and faculty. But he said he looks forward to working with President Samuelson and appreciates experiencing faculty leadership – a BYU tradition.

    “There is a tradition of faculty coming from the ranks and serving for a period of time and then going back to their academic appointment at the university,” Tanner said.

    He said many other universities don’t have this tradition; administrative offices are career positions, not appointments to faculty within the university. He attributed this willingness to serve among BYU faculty to their commitment to the university in addition to their academic areas.

    Tanner said he wanted to continue to teach a class in his field each semester to stay in touch with students and faculty.

    Like Tanner, Scanlon has also had years of teaching experience. He has taught Theater Media Arts classes at BYU for 21 years.

    The appointment also came as a surprise to Scanlon, who, like Tanner, said at first he felt hesitant to move out of the classroom and fill an administrative role. But after giving the issue some thought, Scanlon said he realized having an administrative role would allow him to help students in ways he couldn’t before, like improving teaching and curriculum. Scanlon also wanted to teach one class each semester.

    “I don’t want to lose touch with the students and the classroom directly, because in many ways I am their advocate at the college level,” he said. “I’ll be in a lot of meetings, but it’s nice to know that I’m there to represent students and the curriculum. That’s what I believe in.”

    For the past several years, Scanlon has worked on building a resource for visual artists, such as painters, costume designers etc., to help them accurately portray the dress styles of Old Testament and Book of Mormon eras. So far Scanlon and the students working on the project have created 500 reference sources. Scanlon has used this resource project and his expertise in costume history to create the costumes on display in the bottom floor of the Salt Lake Temple Visitor’s Center. In 2003, Scanlon became the costume designer for The Hill Cumorah Pageant in New York. He will update and redesign more than 1,000 costumes – a project lasting up to seven years.

    Other positions include Robert L. Millet, professor of ancient scripture and former dean of Religious Education replacing Terry Olson as the associate director of the BYU Faculty Center.

    Also Yvette Arts, a consultant for the Center fore Instructional Design was recently elected to a three-year term with the University Continuing Education Association Commission on Learning, Instruction and Technology.

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