“News of BYU,” Ensign, Feb. 1979, 80
The first Tongan member of the Church to receive a doctorate degree has also received an honor. Inoke Funaki, assistant professor of educational psychology at Brigham Young University—Hawaii Campus, has been given the Alumni Distinguished Service Award of Latter-day Saint Church Schools—Tonga. He is the only alumnus of Church Schools—Tonga to receive a doctoral degree and is the only Tongan member who teaches at a university in the United States.
A BYU graduate program taught in Spanish for Mexicans has its first graduates. In November, sixteen teachers and administrators of the Church received master’s degrees in education through the program, one of the few graduate programs taught, in Spanish, by a North American university in Mexico.
The program has some features that make it desirable as an educational experience for Mexicans, although the experience is not easy. “One of the most distinctive factors of the program is that it allows students to continue with full-time employment while obtaining a degree,” says Clark D. Webb, director of Education, Advisement, and Certification at BYU. Courses are taught during summers and vacations. Other requirements are fulfilled independently.
However, the thesis-writing is a challenge. “There is no tradition of serious thesis writing in Mexico,” says Brother Webb. “But in this program the students were held very rigidly to every period and semicolon.” Since no standards of thesis writing were available in Mexico for models, students were at a disadvantage. Students had a problem even finding typewriters good enough for thesis work. All typing, proofreading, and binding had to be done at BYU in Provo, Utah.
BYU’s Bilingual-Bicultural Teacher Training Program has received a financial boost. The BYU Indian Education Department has received a $15,000 grant from the Clark Foundation of New York. Some twenty Navajo students currently enrolled in elementary teacher preparation are expected to be involved in a training program. They will learn to teach in Navajo and English, or Spanish and English, using one language to teach the other.