Henry J. Eyring will replace Clark Gilbert as president of Brigham Young University-Idaho, as announced on Tuesday, Feb. 7. Gilbert is leaving BYU-I to become the chairman of the new BYU-Pathway Worldwide program.
Eyring is the son of President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the LDS Church’s First Presidency, and he will assume his new position as president of BYU-Idaho on April 10, 2017.
Eyring will be following in his father’s footsteps, as President Eyring was the president of Rick’s College before it became BYU-Idaho. The younger Eyring is currently the BYU-Idaho’s academic vice president — a position he took in July 2015.
The announcement of Gilbert’s new appointment as chairman of BYU-Pathway Worldwide program came at a press conference on Tuesday morning, led by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency. Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve, Elder Kim B. Clark, Church Commissioner of Education and President Gilbert also participated in the press conference.
“The groundwork has been laid by Pathway,” Gilbert said, referring to the education program BYU-Pathway Worldwide is replacing.
Gilbert said the church is providing more structure and content to the program for higher education.
“Education of the kind we’re offering has not only wonderful personal benefits for individuals, but also strengthens families and the church,” Gilbert said.
The program will be headquartered in Utah but will be available in 497 locations worldwide.
Currently, the program has 37,000 students. It will continue to periodically add new sites, as well as new certificates and degree programs.
“Pathway grew so much faster than anyone expected,” Gilbert said. “This is just us in place and being ready to serve those people that come. We just know it is going to grow.”
Gilbert said BYU-Pathway Worldwide does two things.
“We develop certificate programs that meet the needs of each country,” Gilbert said. “Certificates are typically four or five courses giving them marketable experience. Second, there are degree programs that then build on those certificates.”
Gilbert also discussed the availability of BYU-Pathway Worldwide to members and non-members of the LDS Church.
“Initially, this program was only open to members of the church,” Gilbert said. “But as we gained experience we saw opportunities to open the program to non-members.”
Gilbert said they’re currently piloting the idea of making BYU-Pathway Worldwide available to non-members, but that the Honor Code will eventually be required of every participant.
“The program will continue to be open without an endorsement the first year; however, students are asked to try to live the standards,” Gilbert said. “The Honor Code is a CES honor code.”
The Church Education System is very familiar with enrollment caps for its different schools, but BYU-Pathway Worldwide will be more similar to institute and seminary in enrollment, according to Gilbert.
“BYU-Pathway Worldwide is different,” Gilbert said. “So far it does not have an enrollment cap. This program is designed to scale so it can serve the church wherever it is in the world.”
Gilbert said he sees the English language as the greatest impediment of BYU-Pathway Worldwide, as all programs are currently in English.