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American Heritage Course Administrator Recognized With Prestigious BYU Award

May 15, 2023

A photo of Kristen Betts smiling in nature

Kristen Betts, American Heritage course administrator, was recognized for inspiring student employees with experiential learning activities. She received BYU’s Experiential Learning Award on April 7, 2023.

As course coordinator, Betts oversees 40 teaching assistants for American Heritage. In the past eight years, she has analyzed and implemented strategic plans to promote student and student employee success. She specifically focuses on ways to ensure individuals at every level of the learning process are given the tools to thrive, but more importantly to feel a sense of belonging in a large general education course.

The award is based on student nominations. One student shared, “Dr. Betts makes my life and the life of all her employees better in every way. I cannot stress enough how much she fulfills each of these aims but I can stress the profound impact she has had on my life for the last almost 4 years. I would not be the happy or successful person I am today without her.”

A picture of Kristen Betts holding the Experiential Learning Award, which is etched on glass

Betts believes that the key factor in cultivating an inspiring learning environment is creating a culture where lifelong learning and service are valued. As course coordinator, she focuses on a purposeful integration of the BYU Aims to create such an environment. Within each American Heritage class, they often start with a prayer, relate secular concepts to religious principles, and ask students to be involved in semester-long service projects.

She underscores the importance of the TAs’ role in supporting American Heritage students. “First and foremost, the faculty and I are attuned to their students' needs and while we expect a lot from our TAs, our support for them is equally robust,” says Betts.

Another student shared, “Kristen's focus is not simply to accomplish the task, but to do it with care and excellence. Her striving for personal excellence pushes me as a TA to seek the same performance in other areas of my life.”

One thing Betts wishes all American Heritage students knew is “How much support is available to them to find personal success in the course. The faculty, teaching assistants, and I truly care about each student and want them to know they belong in American Heritage.”

In addition to her work at BYU, Betts also serves on the Nebo School District Board of Education and with the youth in her ecclesiastical organization and recently earned a doctorate degree in Educational Leadership and Foundations at BYU. Betts is married to her supportive husband and they have three beautiful daughters. She finds joy in working with the amazing students at BYU, playing with her grandson Sonny, and coming home to her dog Archie.

We are grateful to have mentors like Kristen Betts in the College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences.

If you have a mentor you would like to spotlight, please send an email to