BYU-Idaho: Innovation in Education

I had a great opportunity to participate in the President’s Advancement Council at BYU-Idaho last weekend.  President Kim Clark is an inspired leader.  My wife Jillian and I met while at BYU-Idaho (previously Ricks College) and have many great memories from our time in Rexburg.  I wanted give a brief background on the university and its tremendous growth.

BYU-Idaho has come a long way since its humble beginnings in 1888. It was first named Bannock Stake Academy which initially offered only elementary level courses. It then added high school and college level curriculum. Eventually, only college level courses were offered, and the school became known as Ricks College. By 1999, Ricks was the largest private junior college in the United States. The following year, the announcement was made that Ricks would soon be a university and renamed as BYU Idaho. Since becoming a university, the enrollment has nearly doubled from 8,840 students in 1999 to 16,354 students in 2013.

Many exciting changes have been made to the school in the past ten years or so, and I am so honored to have been able to be a part. A very impactful addition to the University is the Pathway program. This allows students from around the world to earn a degree through BYU-Idaho without ever moving to Rexburg.   After only a few years in operation Pathways now serves around 5,000 students in many countries throughout the world.  The courses are accessed online, but there is still opportunity to meet weekly at the local Institute of Religions to work on assignments with other students. Through this program, BYU- Idaho’s academic reach is becoming vast and influential throughout the globe.

As a former student and a member of the Presidents Advancement Council at BYU-Idaho, I have been greatly influenced by the admirable mission of BYU-Idaho. The following mission statement has been established:

· Build testimonies of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and encourage living its principles.

· Provide a quality education for students of diverse interests and abilities.

· Prepare students for lifelong learning, for employment, and for their roles as citizens and  parents.

· Maintain a wholesome academic, cultural, social and spiritual environment.

I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to take part in such a respected institution. BYU-Idaho continues to grow and continues to influence the lives of many. I look forward to watching its great future unfold.