June 7, 2010
Writer: Writer: Ryan Kunz

Brigham Young University-Idaho has created a new administrative area. Aptly named, the Foundations and Interdisciplinary Studies area will provide strategic oversight to both Foundations courses and interdisciplinary degrees.

The Foundations Program is BYU-Idaho's unique blend of general education courses, which emphasizes critical thinking and study. The courses provide a more focused approach than traditional general education, allowing students to go into more detail as they learn about specific aspects of subject matter. Interdisciplinary degrees draw upon resources and faculty from several departments to provide students a diversified learning experience. The university currently has three interdisciplinary degrees in web design and development, international studies, and humanities.

"We have launched the Foundations Program and put the basic structures in place, but now we have the opportunity to really focus on how to make it better," said Bruce Kusch, associate academic vice president over curriculum. "We also want to be sure we're giving the faculty all the support they need as they prepare to teach classes for interdisciplinary degrees."

Because interdisciplinary degrees are new to BYU-Idaho, many students and faculty may find themselves in need of direction as they explore available majors. This new area will provide academic oversight and assist with implementation and advising, making sure interdisciplinary degrees are organized and efficient. It will also be instrumental in helping the Foundations Program progress beyond its current capabilities and ensure its courses provide effective settings for learning.

The new area will be lead by a dean who will perform his duties from an institutional level. Unlike the head of a traditional department or office with a full staff of employees, he will instead be assisted by associate deans from around campus.

Jon Linford, formerly the dean of the College of Performing and Visual Arts, has filled the position. He hopes to use it to positively affect the education of every student on campus. "We want students to have a deep and lifelong love of learning, and to have acquired skills to master whatever disciplines they pursue," Linford said. "Then they will be prepared for the challenges they will meet as disciples of Christ and leaders in His kingdom."

For more information, please visit www.byui.edu/Foundations, or www.byui.edu/Catalog/Catalog9798/InterDisc.html.