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Benefit the World Through Education

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Rebekah Baker

David O. McKay once wrote, “The most potent influence in training our youth to cherish life, to keep their word of honor, to have increased respect for humankind and love of justice, is the life and personality of the teacher.”

McKay lived by those words: as a classroom teacher and administrator; he believed education was a right for all people regardless of age, race, or gender and only left his education career to serve as an apostle and, eventually, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The David O. McKay School of Education at Brigham Young University follows in those mighty footsteps.

Programs at the BYU McKay School combine top-notch pedagogy, high-impact research, and world-class experiential learning looking to the life and example of Jesus Christ, the Master Teacher. This focus both deepens and elevates students’ learning. 

McKay School graduate programs extend the skills of teachers, helping them become influential mentors who teach fellow teachers using the best research-supported practices. The programs transform educators—or anyone with a passion for making a difference—into school leaders, education policy analysts, instructional designers, and more. 

Other McKay School graduate programs produce school psychologists, therapists, special education behavior analysts, speech language pathologists, and other clinicians who work directly with individual children and their families to improve lives and futures. Along with deep-rooted community partnerships and world-class research, these skills and relationships are the foundation of the McKay School’s groundbreaking work.

The school’s faculty embody the success of this approach: many professors and instructors are former K-12 teachers, and some still practice as clinicians or counselors. Many were also once doubtful about their futures: they were undecided undergraduates, stay-at-home parents who’d left the working world, or professionals unsatisfied with their careers and looking for impactful, life-giving change. 

In studying at the McKay School, students find that renewal—and also find, sometimes to their surprise, that these meaningful professions pay surprisingly well, contrary to stereotypes about “teacher salaries.” For thousands of students, the McKay School is the gateway to a future that is both prosperous and deeply fulfilling.

For example, take McKay School Dean Kendra Hall-Kenyon, a onetime teacher who discovered her gift for leadership and broadened her influence by pursuing master’s and doctoral studies. After two decades on the McKay School faculty, Hall-Kenyon sees the college’s programs, from policy studies to instructional design, as one coherent whole that serves and supports children and families.

“All of those subject areas are directly aimed at nurturing the full potential in others; all of the work we’re engaged in is just that,” Hall-Kenyon says. “That’s why I come to work every day: to help devote minds and spirits to nurturing the full potential in others, for the benefit of the world.”

McKay School students, faculty, and staff devote themselves, mind and spirit, to becoming leading scholars, outstanding teachers, groundbreaking researchers—and, crucially, role models who reflect the love and light of Jesus Christ. 

Or, as McKay himself put it, “Gaining knowledge is one thing, and applying it is quite another. Wisdom is the right application of knowledge, and true education … is the application of knowledge to the development of a noble and godlike character.”

BYU McKay School of Education graduate programs