Highlights from BYU colleges


Marriott School of Business

BYU professors Mark J. Keith, Greg Anderson, James Gaskin and Douglas L. Dean conduct a study on the effects of video games in a team building environment. (Gabe Mayberry/BYU Photo)

A new study conducted by four BYU information systems professors found that playing video games with colleagues may increase office productivity. The researchers asked the teams to do one of three things: play video games, quietly complete homework or discuss goals as a group. Those who played video games for 45 minutes increased productivity by 20 percent. “Team video gaming may truly be a viable — and perhaps even optimal — alternative for team building,” said lead researcher Mark Keith. Further research needs to be done to see if pre-existing relationships with colleagues can be strengthened or worsened by competitive video games.

Colby Wright, director of the finance program, poses with students at the orientation dinner. (BYU Marriott School of Business)

The finance program is celebrating its fifth year of being a standalone major. Finance professors Jim Brau and Andy Holmes, “the fathers of the finance major,” sifted through hours of paperwork and meetings to create the major and currently teach in the program. Program Director Colby Wright implemented many student activities including milk-and-cookies info sessions and Women in Finance Association dinners to create a cohesive student body. What was once an emphasis of the business management major now enrolls 529 students. “Our progress over the last five years is a story of exponential growth, and that’s thanks to a massive team effort from our fantastic faculty, staff, students and alumni,” Wright said. 

College of Fine Arts and Communications

Jason Bergam has received two Grammy nominations after playing trumpet with the Dallas Winds. (Jason Bergam)

Trumpet associate professor Jason Bergman performed and recorded an album with the Dallas Winds that was nominated for two Grammy Awards. The album is a tribute to composer John Williams titled, “John Williams at the Movies.” Arranged by Paul Lavender with Williams’ seal of approval, it includes themes from “Star Wars,” “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial,” “Superman” and the Olympics. Having watched the band as he was growing up, Bergam said he felt honored to both play with the Dallas Winds and to be nominated for the awards together. “Having the chance to perform on a recording that has been nominated for two Grammy Awards is a true honor,” he said. “I feel especially honored to have been a guest in the wonderful Dallas Winds and to work with such amazing colleagues.”

BYU theatre professor Megan Sandborn Jones’ book, “Contemporary Mormon Pageantry” was published on Oct. 1. (Megan Sandburn Jones)

BYU theatre professor Megan Sanborn Jones wrote a book examining church pageants in the 20th and 21st centuries. “Contemporary Mormon Pageantry” was published on Oct. 1 by the University of Michigan Press. In a Q&A posted on the College of Fine Arts and Communications website, Jones discusses her initial interest in the topic, research process and what she hopes her readers will take away from the book.

College of Life Sciences

Assistant professor of wildlife and science, Ben Abbott collects samples for a recently published study. (Brittany App, Nate Edwards/BYU Photo)

BYU associate professor Ben Abbott recently co-authored a study that found microorganisms keep the water clean in fresh water bedrock. Humans are producing more nitrogen than the environment can handle, leading to harmful algal blooms. Microorganisms protect soil and river beds from this process and ensure drinkable water. The researchers used a new method called “stratified reactivity framework” to direct their study. The method uncovered that 80 percent of the sites sampled had microorganisms performing “denitrification,” a process in which the nitrogen is converted into a harmless gas found in the atmosphere. The microorganisms keep water clean, but the study advised against using excess amounts of nitrogen in fertilizers and fossil fuels.

College of Humanities

BYU is the No. 3 school in the nation for producing foreign language degrees, according to a report done by “The Chronicle of Higher Education.” BYU was the only private institution in the top 10 list and topped the Arabic, Russian and Portuguese categories. About 65 percent of the campus population speaks a different language, 128 languages are spoken and BYU teaches 92 language classes.

Click the buttons below to go to each of the colleges news page, or see University news here.

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