Academic Acumen
 Academic Acumen by Steve Moser   





Elementary Education




Recreation Education




Interior Design
















Everything has to have its beginnings.

Eight departments, together with several secondary education areas, will offer the first junior-level courses at BYU–Idaho this fall. How the eight departments qualified is as varied as the course studies they offer.

“We have the personnel,” said Eugene Thompson, chairman of the history department, without hesitation. “Virtually everyone within our department has, or will complete their PhD’s soon. We are known for being pedagogically innovative.” In short, they’re ready!

Kim Van Wagoner, head of the nursing program, said, “Nursing is a component that is needed in the community,” and sees it as a reason for offering a four-year program this fall. “There is a movement in nursing, at least in leadership positions, for a baccalaureate degree.”

“There has been a lot of (enrollment) pressure on BYU’s Marriott School of Management,” was the opinion of Kevin Shiley, chairman of the business management department. “It makes sense to have an alternative (at BYU–Idaho). We are one of the largest majors on campus already.”

The interior design program within the home economics department has “actually been a four-year program in a three-year costume,” said T.L. McRae with a smile. “It’s not much of a change for us. We’re fortunate that way. We were an easy candidate.”

“With the recreation facility at Badger Creek providing a lot of the resources, we did not need additional space. We were seen as something that logistically could move on this very quickly,” was the reason given by Kari Archibald, chairman of the recreation education department.

Curtis Hawkins, chairman of the accounting department, offered this reason with a certain amount of pride: “Our 200 accounting majors. We have the students to work from and there are some innovations we can accomplish that could be a new way of looking at things.”

“We’ve been teaching upper division courses for years,” said Linda Lloyd, chairman of the elementary education department, matter-of-factly. “We’ve worked with Lewis and Clark State College and graduated about 30 students each year through their four-year program.”

“Our advance writing classes were already junior-class courses,” stated Rod Keller, who heads the English department. “As far as literature courses are concerned, we have enough background in our faculty that we were able to just step in and offer different (upper level) courses.”

From a junior college offering various associate degree programs, Ricks College will change into a two-tiered institution.

BYU–Idaho will offer both specialized associate degrees and integrated and specialized bachelor degrees.

Some 19 specialized associate degrees, along with a carefully selected curriculum of general education, will be offered to prepare a student for employment in about two years.

Integrated and specialized bachelor’s degrees will require 120 credit hours and will take generally four years to complete. Eventually some 46 bachelor’s degree programs will be developed and phased in over the next five years.

Specialized bachelor’s degrees will generally require up to 70 credit hours within the major area of study.

Integrated bachelor’s degrees will require approximately 45 credit hours in the major area of study, the remainder of the credits being tailored to the student’s specific future intentions and interests. By linking creative curriculum, other areas of study, and internships, the integrated bachelor’s degree will provide unique diversity, making the student more marketable in the workplace.

Editor’s note: Please see for details on availability of future degree programs. (Please be advised that the chart is a projection only and may be changed due to unforeseen problems.)

Currently, just under 9,000 students are enrolled during the fall and winter semesters. With the implementation of a year-round track system, that figure is expected to rise only slightly, to 9,200, by this fall. Eventually, however, the total enrollment for any one semester, fall, winter or summer, is expected to reach 11,600 in 2005.

This summer will be the final year for the present configuration of three summer terms and an additional eight-week summer term. By late spring and summer of 2002, Summer School will be the equivalent of a fall or winter semester.

By operating on an expanded year-round track system basis the total number of students who will actually spend time on campus during a calendar year will rise to 9,600 for the coming school year to 14,500 by 2005, although only 11,600 will be enrolled at one time.

This is accomplished by giving qualified students access to two of the three semesters, depending on their admittance to a particular track.

This is in addition to a year-round Fast Track program already in place. The Fast Track program is most feasible for students who have earned some college credit while in high school.

Department heads are looking ahead to the implementation of the track system.

“We are trying to prepare our students for a winter internship,” says Brother Hawkins of the accounting department. “And we’re hopeful, since January through April is such a busy time (tax season) for accountants, that our students will be successful with that kind of experience.”

Some students will spend their semester off in professional level internships. “Our internship director will line up as many partnerships (with firms) as possible,” says Brother Shiley of the business management department. “We hope to match interest with careers.”

Sister Archibald foresees juniors and seniors majoring in recreation education becoming involved in BYU–Idaho’s new Student Activities Program. “We’ve always had real strong leaders come out of Ricks because of Badger Creek. I can see that opportunity being expanded,” she said.

In the elementary education program a new course will include a semester off campus, according to Sister Lloyd. “Students may put in service hours or work, whichever they choose,” she said, “in a family crisis center, juvenile detention center, or homeless shelter.”

Editor’s note: Alumni of the college can assist in providing internships by 
contacting the director of internships, Guy Hollingsworth, at (208) 356-2170 or

All of the department chairmen are enthused about the caliber and background of new hires.
The nursing department has hired three new full-time and two new part time faculty. “We have some great people in the community who
help us,” Brother Wagoner says.

Business management has hired three new faculty and will hire another three next year. Two faculty members from the office systems management department, which will be disbanded, are moving into the business management area.

One new faculty member will join the recreation education area with another department member rejoining the group after a sabbatical leave.

The English department will have one new faculty member. “He’ll help us meet the teaching we are going to do in relationship to elementary education and business,” says Brother Keller. 

The new hire in the history department will be “teaching medieval and renaissance history,” says Brother Thompson. “They are both upper-level classes.”

Sister Lloyd is excited about her two new hires in elementary education. “They are very, very qualified,” she said. 

The two new hires in the accounting department bring diversity to their areas, Brother Hawkins says. “One is oriented towards a systems approach through a computer background, the other will handle upper division financial research and reporting.”

Getting the most out of the existing classroom space has been a hallmark at Ricks College. It looks like it will remain so at BYU–Idaho.

“We teach in almost every closet there is on campus,” according to Brother Keller of the English department. “We have classes beginning at 7 a.m. and we teach until 10 p.m.”

“In an effort to be consistent with our other BYU schools, we’ve dropped Accounting 201 from four credits to three,” says Brother Hawkins of the accounting department. “By doing so we opened up a Tuesday and Thursday slot to give us the facilities to add upper division classes.”

The elementary education department already uses some off-campus facilities such as a church building across the street from campus.
“(Another) possibility is to move more classes into the public schools,” says Sister Lloyd. “We do have a variety of practicums there.”

“This (coming fall) we’ll be real tight,” according to Brother Shiley of the business management department. The new multi-use building will free up classroom space in other buildings by fall of 2002, he says.

Jim Gee, assistant academic vice president for Support Services, aided in the space-finding effort. “In addition to the scheduling changes departments have made, we have also found three spaces around campus that had not been used as classrooms in the past. By adding these three classrooms we feel we’ll be able to supply the extra space needed at this time.”

Included in the college’s mission statement is the challenge to “Provide a quality education for students of diverse interests and abilities.” Judging by the enthusiasm exhibited by department chairmen in my visit to their offices, the men and women quoted in this article are up to the challenge. The future of BYU–Idaho is in good hands!

Acumen is synonymous with discernment and insight. This section of the magazine is sponsored by the Academic Office in an effort to provide information concerning the academic offerings at BYU–Idaho.