BYU’s annual Education Week lasts only five days, but preparing for the August event takes almost an entire year.
As soon as the current year’s Education Week is over, the campus begins preparations for the next year. According to Education Week program administrator Bruce Payne, ideas for the next year’s theme begin just as the previous program ends. They draw ideas from scriptures, quotes from general authorities and University objectives.
“There is so much good in the gospel that reviewing the possibilities is a wonderful experience,” Payne said of choosing the theme.
This year’s theme”Hope: an anchor of the soul,” was inspired by a New Testament scripture, Hebrews 6:18-19.
Payne works closely with the Campus Scheduling Office, contacting them at least 11 months before the program to ensure that any potential conflicts are foreseen and taken care of in plenty of time, such as construction plans on campus.
Secretary Laurie Haupt of the Campus Scheduling Office, confirmed that the office begins taking reservations a year in advance and plans are finalized about three months before the program.
As plans for the venues begin to unfold, the application process for teaching at Education Week begins as well.
“We are always looking for exceptional, well-qualified educators and other professionals who will bring different elements to the program,” Payne said.
The application process for becoming a presenter begins in September of the year before. As presenters are chosen, topics for classes are reviewed.
“Excitement for the program builds as we see how the classes will benefit those that attend,” Payne said. “The quality of the Education Week presenters is truly exceptional.”
Pauline Williams, assistant professor in the Nutrition, Dietetics and Food Science Department at BYU, will be presenting for the fourth year in a row on exploring the world of food and nutrition. “We like to make sure that the public is getting good nutrition information — information that’s based on science,” Williams said.
There are many differences between teaching during a semester and presenting classes during Education Week. One main difference is the audience.
“We’re gonna have a wide span of people,” Williams said. “There may be people in this audience that could have degrees in nutrition, or there could be people that have not studied nutrition at all and they’re just coming for their own personal edification.”
Another difference is that Williams is only preparing for a 50 minute presentation at Education Week, rather than preparing for an entire semester. “They’re getting just a blip of information,” she said.
The classes at Education Week are intended for personal use, with no assessments of learning given. “Education Week’s a great thing for people to come to and it is one of those things that’s for personal enrichment,” Williams said. “If there’s a topic that you want to learn about that you maybe didn’t get a chance to learn about in college, it’s great to attend.”
Payne said while the Tuesday devotional and hundreds of different classes are the heart of the program, Education Week would not be such a big draw for the wider community without the efforts of people across the entire campus.
“We receive tremendous support from many BYU departments in order to have a successful program,” she said. “Each department has great people who want to serve the guests on campus. We couldn’t have a successful program without everyone pulling together.”