Teaching What Really Counts
PROVO, Utah – Sep 14, 2020 – As an information systems (IS) student at the BYU Marriott School of Business in 1999, Tom Meservy entered the Tanner Building to meet a girl for their first date. Looking back, Meservy considers this date with his now-wife to be one of his favorite memories associated with BYU Marriott. Now years later, he walks through the same doors as a professor of information systems. Building on his own experiences in the Tanner Building, Meservy works to create positive memories for his students and help them understand the things that really count in life.
Since coming back to BYU Marriott in 2012, Meservy continues to develop new relationships while also strengthening old ones. A unique experience Meservy was given upon his return was the opportunity to teach classes for several years alongside his father, Rayman Meservy, who retired from teaching in the Department of Information Systems in 2019. “One of my favorite memories was getting to co-teach some classes with my dad before his retirement, which was an awesome experience,” Meservy says.
Meservy also enjoys bonding with his students and welcomes any opportunities he has to work with them outside the classroom. He is a faculty advisor for the Association for Information Systems (AIS) club. The club provides opportunities for IS students to socialize with other students and faculty as well as network with recruiters and professionals who work in IS-related fields. “I absolutely love interacting with the insanely talented students in the AIS club,” he says. “I help facilitate their vision of organizing community activities and connecting students with one another, the faculty, and with potential employers. Being a part of the club has been the coolest experience.”
As AIS club advisor, Meservy also assists students in their preparation for the Annual Association for Information Systems Student Chapter Leadership Conference competitions. The conference hosts multiple competitions involving several categories, such as case studies, technology development, and analytics. “I’m involved with the entire process,” he says. "I select teams of students for the competition, and then I help them get ready. I have the opportunity to travel with the students and coach them as they prepare for their final presentations.”
Although the challenges of this worldwide competition are different every year, Meservy says that BYU Marriott teams have excelled, typically taking home first or second place. “Of course, the best part of the competition is when I can celebrate with the students after taking home a victory. I am always blown away by the talent and dedication of our student teams,” he says.
Meservy is not only impressed by the talent of his students, but he is also amazed by their personal character and values. “To me, what you know is not nearly as important as who you are,” he says. “BYU Marriott students are brilliant and high achieving, and what sets them apart from students of other universities is a unified vision of taking their skills and using those skills to be an unstoppable force for good in the world.”
Outside of the classroom, Meservy loves working on home projects. “I complete many do-it-yourself projects around the house,” he says. One of his most impressive projects to date is a treehouse he built in his backyard. “The treehouse has a perch with a zipline attached to it. My kids love using the zipline to go across the backyard,” he says. “I’m pretty proud of that one, especially because it makes my kids happy.”
Meservy’s passion for building things and utilizing creativity is one of the main reasons he loves information systems. “At the heart of information systems is the ability to create and organize,” he says. “Most of us love to create new things, and information systems allows you to do just that. You can take an idea and eventually transform it into a new software system. Other people can then use that system to access new data, information, and knowledge, which I find incredibly exciting.”
Meservy tries to foster this love of creativity in his students and help them acquire a varied skill set for their future careers. However, he also hopes the lessons they learn from him will help them become better people. “I try to teach my students practical skills, things that they can use as they go out into their careers. But I often use this phrase in my class: ‘Okay, now let's talk about things that really count,’” he says.
To Meservy, the things that count are cultivating relationships with others. “Everything I teach them about information systems is important, but the things that count the most in life are relationships. I want my students to leave my classes understanding the importance of loving their neighbors, being kind, empathizing with others, and taking the time to think about the people in their lives,” he says. “I’m personally forever grateful for the relationships I’ve built here, both personal and professional.”
Media Contact: Chad Little: (801) 422-1512
Writer: Sarah Calvert