The Board of Visitors met Friday to discuss strategic planning initiatives and a new innovative learning platform at the University. J. Milton Adams, senior vice provost for strategic planning, spoke about the progress and plans of the Strategic Planning Steering Committee and its seven workgroups. The Committee was formed in July 2012 to establish concrete goals for the University. Adams said the University would hire consultants to devise quantitative comparisons of the University to its peer institutions. “We have also been studying the strategic plans of the institutions with whom we compete,” University President Teresa Sullivan said. “It’s a way for us to look at where our peers think they need to go … The general strategy here has been to cast the net wide and look for good ideas both inside our community and outside our community.” Faculty Senate Chair George Cohen told the board the Senate is contributing to the strategic planning effort by dedicating its next working meeting to a discussion of ideas proposed by each of the Strategic Planning Steering Committee’s seven working groups. At the portion of the meeting on education policy, French Prof. Marva Barnett discussed the Hybrid Challenge, an initiative born in July 2012 to “promote significant student learning by combining in-person classroom experiences with useful technologies,” Barnett said. “Hybrid Challenge faculty will teach their courses at least once more during the next two years,” Barnett said. “They are deeply involved with rethinking their courses based on their experiences, students’ feedback and on studies of student learning.” Each of the nine hybrid courses received a $10,000 grant, which was funded by Sullivan’s unrestricted funding budget. A survey of students in these hybrid classes showed they tend to be more effective than a normal class, and students perceived they had learned a “great deal.” “This is what we’re about at the core … intellectually stimulating debates that aren’t cookie-cutter,” Board member Stephen Long said. The Board unanimously approved a professorship in Mormon studies and a B.S. degree program in Psychology. The University currently only offers a B.A. in Psychology.