The announcement of BYU-Pathway Worldwide brought gratitude and excitement for this new CES institution extending educational opportunities worldwide. However, the separation of this organization from BYU-Idaho was understandably difficult and complex. Not only did this move exact an emotional toll as friends and colleagues relocated to Salt Lake, but the clear separation of roles and responsibilities between these two enmeshed organizations required:
- New leadership
- Legal agreements
- Teams that worked across institutional boundaries (exchange teams)
The clear vision of the Church Board of Education and of CES Commissioner Clark, President Gilbert, and President Eyring were all needed to ensure that this transitional phase succeeded in laying a foundation for continued success and collaboration.
While the formation of a separate and distinct institution was part of the Church Board of Education’s strategy, it was also intended that the close working relationship between BYU-Idaho and BYU-Pathway Worldwide would continue. One evidence of both the collaboration and complexity of this transition phase was highlighted by Jon Linford, who simultaneously served as online vice president at BYU-Idaho and curriculum vice president at BYU-Pathway for almost two years until a new vice president of curriculum was appointed by President Gilbert.
Effects after the Separation
After months of analyzing legal and regulatory requirements and accreditation policies of the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU), a Master Agreement for Services was approved by the Church Board of Education. This master agreement defined the legal separation of BYU-Pathway Worldwide from BYU-Idaho, which served several important purposes. This separation:
- Assigned oversight and responsibility for the PathwayConnect and EnglishConnect programs to BYU-Pathway Worldwide.
- Allowed BYU-Idaho to focus its primary attention on their matriculated online and campus students.
- Enabled BYU-Pathway Worldwide to focus on improving their pre-matriculation educational programs for students lacking educational access.
- Served to increase clarity for Title IV compliance since PathwayConnect is not a Title IV educational program and BYU-Idaho is subject to Title IV regulations and requirements.
- Preserved BYU-Pathway Worldwide’s ability to innovate, experiment, and adapt the EnglishConnect and PathwayConnect programs to best meet the needs of a worldwide audience of pre-matriculation online students.
The master agreement also delineated the ongoing services each institution agreed to provide for the other to accomplish their respective institutional aims. For example, to help facilitate the PathwayConnect and EnglishConnect programs, BYU-Pathway Worldwide continues to contract with BYU-Idaho to provide subject matter expertise, course design, and the online delivery of these programs.
Similarly, BYU-Idaho contracts with BYU Pathway Worldwide to provide an online student services web portal that will be the principal access point for students in BYU-Idaho’s online certificates and degrees.
Several exchange teams were also organized to facilitate better coordination between BYU-Idaho and BYU-Pathway Worldwide as the newly founded institution built its system and established itself as a service provider for online students. These different exchange teams covered a wide variety of issues, such as curriculum, advising, communications, and technology services.
Cooperation and planning continue to be essential to ensure regular collaboration on shared issues of importance between institutions.
Mission of Both Institutions
BYU-Idaho and BYU-Pathway Worldwide continue to pursue the same institutional missions. They both seek to help students become “disciples of Jesus Christ who are leaders in their homes, the Church, and their communities,” but they are now independent institutions, with separate presidents and administrations, headquartered in different cities.
Both BYU-Idaho and BYU-Pathway Worldwide retain independent institutional autonomy and have separate institutional reporting lines to their Boards of Trustees.