February 7, 2019
Writer: J.D. Packer
BYU-Idaho is changing a big part of its curriculum. The school will be going from the Foundation Program to a new General Education program.
Van Christman is the Associate Academic Vice President of Curriculum. He spoke to BYU-Idaho Radio about how that will affect students.
“I want to start by emphasizing that this does not impact any current students,” he said. “So, any current students who are here or are working on their foundations program have fulfilled that they can continue to fulfill and complete their degree on an old catalog year.”
Christman said the only way it will impact students now is if they decide to change catalog years to the 2019 catalog because of a new program they want to use.
The school has had the foundations program for 10 years and it has served the school and bless a lot of students.
“We don’t see the new general education program as being the end all or the perfect solution but as a stepping stone to get maybe us there,” Christman said. “We may be with this for a while, as we continue to learn and grow and develop a better program that better meets the needs of students.”
The current foundations structure required 40 credits, including 23 credits in core subjects – Religion, Quantitative Reason and Writing – and 17 credits in Breadth courses – Science and Cultural Awareness. The new general education structure will require 39 credits. Those include 24 credits in Core subjects – Religion, Quantitative Reasoning, Composition and a one credit college success course. The Breadth courses include natural science, arts and humanities, and social sciences.
With the new program, credits have a chance to be more transferable to other schools and can help students get into future programs.
“If they get an Associate degree and they transfer the packet, we haven’t seen much issue with students being able to transfer,” Christman said. “If they don’t get an Associate degree and they try to do it course by course then the foundations courses are so broad and interdisciplinary they may not transfer as well as some of the disciplined specific classes. So there may be an advantage.”
Additional classes are being added to help broaden student’s opportunities in new areas who don’t know what they want to major they want to pick.
Christman said they will add classes so students will be able to select courses to give them a broad overview of majors they might like and want to move into.
The new program begins in the Spring.