The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has announced the creation of a new education organization, BYU-Pathway Worldwide (BYU-PW). The institution will have responsibility for all online certificate and degree programs offered by the Church Educational System (CES).
Clark G. Gilbert, current president of BYU-Idaho, will oversee this new organization.
He will continue as president of BYU-Idaho until the end of the semester, which is April 7, 2017. Then President Gilbert will take over as the president of the new program on April 10. Henry J. Eyring was named as the 17th president of Brigham Young University-Idaho during the university's weekly devotional Tuesday afternoon. BYU-Pathway Worldwide will be based in Salt Lake City, Utah, and will begin operating May 1, 2017.
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency, made these announcements Tuesday during a press conference on Temple Square.
"We have felt that now is the right time to give increased focus and direction to Pathway and online higher education in the Church," President Uchtdorf said. "Pathway was created to make college educational opportunities available to those who otherwise would not have them. Pathway is a bridge into the world of online college education and a pathway to opportunities for a successful livelihood. The program combines online learning with religious education in local institutes or meetinghouses in an environment of faith, grounded in the gospel of Jesus Christ."
BYU-Pathway Worldwide has its roots in BYU-Idaho's Pathway program, which began in 2009 with 50 total students at three pilot sites in Idaho, Arizona and New York. The program has since expanded to nearly 500 sites in 50 countries and has served 57,000 students.
"Based on the rapid growth of the Pathway program, the educational needs across the Church and the need to work with other Church institutions to make this work, it is the right time to expand Pathway," Gilbert said. "We are part of a worldwide Church, and there are members all across the world who are ready for this."
BYU-Pathway Worldwide is responsible for Pathway and will coordinate all other CES online higher education certificate and degree programs, including English language certification, technical and skills-based certificates, and online degrees. BYU-PW will determine which online courses and programs students need and will coordinate the development and implementation of appropriate online courses and programs by CES institutions.
A key feature of BYU-PW's programs will be the combination of online learning and local gathering activities. Students will come together at a local institute or chapel in approved Pathway sites for religious education, group discussions and workshops.
There are currently 497 active Pathway locations worldwide. BYU-PW will manage those sites and the gathering activities that take place in them. This will involve working with local Church leaders and institute directors to open new sites approved by the Board of Education and to ensure that ongoing programs serve the spiritual and temporal needs of the students.
BYU-PW will also be responsible for local workshops and classes, advising students and helping them find local internships and jobs. Visit pathway.lds.org for more information.