Brigham Young University–Hawaii Academic Vice President John Bell announced two leadership changes in Academics today. Yifen Beus has accepted an appointment to serve as the associate academic vice president for faculty replacing David Bybee who will be leading and coordinating campus efforts in sustainability. "We are grateful to Yifen and David for their diligent and long-standing service to the campus. Please join us in expressing your appreciation and welcoming them to their new assignments," said Bell.
Dr. Beus received her Ph.D. degree from Indiana University in 2000 and was hired at BYU–Hawaii as a full-time faculty member that same year in international cultural studies and world languages. Over the next 20 years, she established a productive academic career with excellent and successful teaching complemented by a renowned scholarship program emphasizing indigenous story-telling strategies in a wide range of cultures including Francophone African, Chinese, and Pacific Island. Her scholarly activity has been disseminated through multiple venues including over 40 conference and workshop professional presentations, 19 peer-reviewed chapters and articles, and a book. Early in her career, her leadership abilities became apparent, and she subsequently served twice as a department chair (2006-2014, Department of International Cultural Studies & World Languages, and 2017-2018, Department of Visual Arts and Communications). Her second stint as department chair was cut short by her appointment to her most recent position as dean of the Faculty of Arts & Letters. Dr. Beus is described as being very organized and attentive in her administrative roles with a reputation for evidence-based decision making and careful attention to fairness and good judgment.
Dr. Bybee graduated with a Ph.D. from the University of Hawai’i, Manoa, in 2006 and assumed a position as an assistant professor in Biology at BYU–Hawaii the next year. He is well qualified to lead campus sustainability efforts based on his research career in species and environmental preservation. For example, he began his career studying coral reef preservation and helping develop methods to disincentivize practices disruptive to reef sustainability. He has become internationally recognized for work in the migration of the Pacific Golden Plover to help mitigate declining populations. His research has extended beyond biology into the fishery and aquarium industries where he has helped identify sound practices supporting both the industries and the associated biological resources. Examples include a’ama crabs, moi, and Hawaiian feather duster worms. Preservation of giant endemic dragonflies and monitoring the effects of seawater pipelines on reef health are additional venues where he has served the fragile Hawaiian ecosystem. Dr. Bybee’s excellence in teaching led to his appointment as the director of the Center for Learning & Teaching. He served there for two years before being appointed in 2014 as the associate academic vice president for faculty.