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Featured GuestBusiness & Leadership VideoFinding Your Pathway in Life-BYU Pathway Program | BYU-Idaho President Kim B....

Finding Your Pathway in Life-BYU Pathway Program | BYU-Idaho President Kim B. Clark



Alan Olsen: I’m here today with Kim B Clark. He’s the president of Brigham young university, Idaho, and, Kim, welcome to today’s show.

Kim B. Clark: Thank you.

Alan Olsen: And now you’ve been the president here for going on eight


Kim B. Clark: That’s right. Just finished my eighth year.

Alan Olsen:  Eighth year. And, you know, a lot of people know you from coming off of your, a successful career at Harvard as serving as a Dean of the business school for several years.

But  you’ve made tremendous strides and accomplishments here at BYU Idaho. One of them is, in the area of a new program that you’re launching. It’s in its infancy, but it’s quickly growing called the pathway program.

Kim B. Clark: Right?

Alan Olsen: What is the pathway program?

Kim B. Clark: Well, pathway is a program where we combine, online coursework, from BYU-Idaho with attendance at an Institute of religion.

So the church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints, we’re affiliated with, has institutes of religion all around the world. These are, buildings that have been built to serve students who are in and around, colleges and universities around the world. And so what we do is we open up opportunities to take courses from BYU Idaho and combine that with religious education at an Institute so students can begin to gain access to higher education where they live pathway, the program of pathway.

Encompasses, what we call 15 credit hours of study. So it’s a three semester program with five credit hours per semester. The idea is to help students get ready and be prepared to then find their pathway, whether it’s with us in our online degree programs or with local schools or other options they might pursue.

We want to try to help people really improve their lives. And so that’s what pathway is.

Alan Olsen: You know, you mentioned the Institute program. there’s a lot throughout the world about how many?

Kim B. Clark: There are about a thousand institutes around the world. and, they, they literally are all over the world.

Alan Olsen: So, in essence, this gives you a thousand satellite locations

Kim B. Clark: potentially,

Alan Olsen: potentially.

Okay. And, but it, it, it makes the, the ability to launch this much, much easier once the, the local leaders are. Are behind helping get the students

Kim B. Clark: involved. You’re absolutely right. One of the things that’s so critical to understand pathway is that we are making use of and really, joining with the church because it’s the local church leaders.

Who really provide the impetus for the program at the local level, and it works best where pathway becomes part of their ministry. And that’s what we’ve learned. A key part of the program at the local level is what we call church service missionaries. Mostly couples generally retired that are called and put in place by the local church leaders where pathway exists, and those couples are trained by us.

Our pathway organization folks train the couples, and then they basically run the program at the local level. So everywhere we go, we’re using the Institute program and we’re using the local church leaders and local missionary couples to really give the program its substance and form and a personal touch at the local level.

Alan Olsen: When we go back to the local level, I know you touched on this before, but typically who is that? Who are the local leaders looking to enroll into a pathway program?

Kim B. Clark: There are two groups that we serve. one is a group that’s 18 to 30, and those people are generally young adults. They have either not been to college or they haven’t, made progress in college.

They’ve left, they’re not making progress in their lives. They want to, the church leaders want to reach out and bring them back. Into not only full activity in a church, but also into a full and productive life. The other group are people over 30 we also serve people over 30 and those folks tend to be people who.

Always hope they could do a college degree, but never had the opportunity. many of them have discovered that they can’t really support their families or make progress in their lives because they need more education and a variety of, there are a variety of motivations, but everybody in pathway are, our target is, are people who want to improve their lives, who see education as a pathway.

To a much, much better life, not only for themselves and their families, but for their ability to serve and to be a more productive citizen in society. And a better, a better, neighbor, someone who can really give and serve more than they do. So that’s, that’s kind of our target. trying to reach out to those folks.

And, and the local church leaders, they’re the ones who know the people. They’re the ones who, who know who they are. And so they are, and the missionaries who work, they go out and they, they touch people and they invite them in and so forth. So that’s been, that’s been why we wanted to do pathways is just open up opportunity for people.

Alan Olsen: Now, how does pathway differ from other educational programs?

Kim B. Clark: Well, I think one, one thing is that the pathway. Is is really a transitional program. It’s a, we call it academic start. That’s the content that’s there and it’s, it’s intent. Is an, and subjectives are, are much broader than just taking courses. So there are three objectives, and I’ll tell you the language we use to describe the objectives, and we remind ourselves of this language all the time.

So we keep in mind that the really deeper purpose for why we’re doing this. So the first one is to help individuals get the gospel of Jesus Christ deep in their hearts. To, to truly become converted, to the Lord. The second is to become lifelong learners. And the third is to support their families and lead their families in a more productive way and to, and to live prominently.

So if you look at that list, it’s faith learning family. That’s the purpose of pathway. Now the educational dimension comes into play in all those places because we do religious education where people learn and understand the gospel. We do. a, we help people learn how to learn. So they’re not only learning math in English, but they’re learning how to learn, especially how to learn online.

The third one we’re giving them in terms of supporting their families. We’re giving them now. A foundation on which they can build to gain new skills, new understanding of knowledge that will be valuable in the marketplace, and will allow them to increase their income and then support their families more effectively.

Alan Olsen: Where did the inspiration for pathway come?

Kim B. Clark: You know, it’s fascinating to us. this idea has been around for the idea of taking education out. From the university out has been around for a long time. For example, back in 1971, then Rick’s college, so BYU Idaho, grew out of Rick’s college. Rick’s college became a four year schools now called BYU Idaho.

Rick’s college got a new president. Henry B. Eyring. He came from Stanford, became the new president, Rick’s college, and in his inauguration, he said, now this was in 1971-72 he said, Rick’s college must, we must find ways to take education out to people, young people around the world who may never come here.

So he said that in the early seventies and that idea was reiterated by a President Bednar when he was here in the late nineties and I said it in my inaugural address. And so we all felt it. And around 2007, I’ve been here two years. I’ve had in my mind that we needed to do this. I felt the time was right.

And so the, the idea of combining it with the institutes came and then we began to explore and work on it. And it has just evolved and developed over time, starting in about 2007 so we did the first pilots in the fall of 2009. In 2011 pathway became an approved program. So our board of trustees approved it and to today we are, we’re up and going, will be this fall, we’ll be in about 145 sites, 90 in the US about 55 outside, and we’ll have about 7,000 students in pathway. this fall.

Alan Olsen: What are some of the areas of study in the pathway program?

Kim B. Clark: Well, pathway begins in the first semester, of course, with religious education. As I talked about, students study the book of Mormon, but we have a course we call pathway life skills, and that’s a course that helps students learn how to plan, how to organize, how to set goals, how to understand to live providently, how to think about their future.

And live in a way that will allow them to achieve what they are trying to do. It’s a great course, has a big impact on people. then we have, courses in math. And English. That’s the basic academic curriculum along with their religious education program. And so, what we’re trying to do is help students gain the, the foundation that they’ll need to be successful in, in their, higher education pursuits, whether it’s going after a certificate or other additional coursework to pursue a degree.

Pathways is designed to help them get started.

Alan Olsen: The program is currently available. Looks like it’s quickly expanding, but how does a person find out if they have interest in pathway. How do they sign up?

Kim B. Clark: Well, pathway, pathway is, operates as follows. The, the signing up takes place at the local level through the programs that exist at local level.

And if you want to find out if there’s a pathway site near you, you can go on to BYU Idaho website and just search for pathway and you’ll get to the pathway site. And on that site there’s a list of where pathways offered. And we’re a lot in the U S we have about 90 sites in the U S but we’re in selected countries outside, so it’s still growing internationally and it continues to grow domestically as well.

But our website’s the right place to find if there’s a site near you and then this, the signup process, the registration, all that stuff takes place at the local level through those church service missionaries.

Alan Olsen: Is there a cost associated with pathway?

Kim B. Clark: Pathway has a tuition. So there are five credit hours each term. some of the classes in the first, and in the academic start aren’t, there’s no charge cause they’re offered by the institutes. But the courses offered by the university have a, have a tuition associated with them. Tuition in the U S is $65 a credit hour. Now, to give you that comparison, at the campus here at BYU, Idaho.

Our tuition say starting, as tuition right now I think is about $1,800 a semester, maybe a little bit less in pathway and our credit hour cost here. Is about $140 a credit hour. So in, so it’s a much, it’s less than half of what it is on campus, and that is much lower than the cost of a college education on average around the country.

So that’s where it is in the U S and in other countries, it’s lower depending upon the income level of the country.

Alan Olsen: When a person enrolls in pathway, are the credits then transferred. Into the university.

Kim B. Clark: Yeah. So what happens is a student enrolls in pathway. They take courses from us and when they need it, when they need to, transfer credits or say to matriculate into BYU Idaho or into another school, then the university creates a transcript for them that can transfer to wherever they go and the courses they take are transferable to other institutions and, and transferable of course, to BYU

Alan Olsen: so they can stay at a local university.

Kim B. Clark: Yeah. In fact, the whole idea behind pathway, the name is to help each student find their pathway. And it might be to do an online degree with us. Or get an online certificate from us, but it might also be that in their local area, there’s a great option for them.

And now having done pathway, they have both the confidence and the skill to be able to pursue that local option.

Alan Olsen: How does the program we reach out to those that don’t have the confidence to succeed?

Kim B. Clark: Well, they’re there. They are. The people we’re trying to find and trying to reach and the way it works is through those local precinct leaders, local missionaries, and it, and it, it works.

Word of mouth. it works retail. It’s one by one where, somebody like a Bishop in an LDS ward will have a ward council. All the leaders of the church in that ward, and they’ll talk about, you know, you know, there’s, you know, Mary over here who’s really struggling. She might be a single mother.

She’s really struggling to support her family. She could really use education. And then someone will be the to go talk to Mary and, and help Mary know about the program. Now we also hold locally. We hold meetings. We have pathway meetings where we described the program. There are flyers in the various chapels in the areas where we have pathways sites.

So we do use some media that way, but mostly it’s one by one.

Alan Olsen: Is there a way that the, the, potential student pathway could help directly local leader to get signed up in the area? If there. If it currently isn’t offered?

Kim B. Clark: Oh, sure. the way that works, the local church leaders are the ones who request a pathway site be designated in their area.

And so that request comes to us. We work with the local leaders, we have a whole application process with a, we kind of. Outline for them. This is the kind of things that you need to, we need to know about. And so they lay out, okay, here’s our situation, here’s how many we expect, here’s the work that we think we can do.

And then we process it internally. We have priorities that are established based on those criteria. And then we take them to the board and then the board approves the new pathways sites. so yeah, if somebody wants to have a pathway site. they just talked to their local, local church leaders.

Alan Olsen: And you’re expecting the board presentation, is that made at the stake level or region level or where?

Kim B. Clark: no, it goes to the board of trustees for the university. So we take it, so the board has an executive committee and it has a full board and we have to go through both, when we do new pathways sites that are, when I say a new site, I mean. Like internationally would be a new country for us.

Domestically, we’ll be a whole, like a whole new area that we haven’t been in before. that goes to the executive committee and then it goes to the full board. And just so you understand, the full board is chaired by president Monson, who’s president of the church is two counselors in the first presidency.

Are the other officers of the board. There are three members of the quorum of the 12 that serve on that board, Elder Nelson, Elder Oaks, and Elder Scott. And then there’s a member of the presidency of the 70 she’s Elder Hollstrom and the president of the young women’s organization, Sister Oscar son, and the president of the relief society.

Sister Burton, and that’s the board.

Alan Olsen: So going back to the motivation between the creation of the pathway program, how has the program been received so far?

Kim B. Clark: You know, pathway’s a miracle. it’s just amazing. Because we discovered a couple of things. first, when you go into an area and you offer to people a church based educational opportunity that they never imagined in their whole lives they’d ever have, and you make it available to them at a very low price and right where they live.

What happens is two things. One, they begin to feel hope in their life, and two, they really begin to experience God’s love for them in a new way. And so what we find in pathway is that people who come in are thrilled. To have the opportunity, and so they get engaged and they begin to discover things about themselves.

They never imagined like, I can do this. I can take college level courses in math or English. I can do this work. And so that hope builds in them and they begin to gain confidence. And as people do that, of course, there’s also a spiritual dimension to this that they begin to cause. We teach them things about how to get their lives in line with truth.

So that they begin to live true principles and that their faith begins to increase and their activity and involvement in their faith grows. And all of that is very positive in their lives. And so they feel it. And the local church leaders see it and their children and spouses and friends see it. And so it begins to have this positive reinforcement that grows.

And that’s what we see in these pathway sites.

Alan Olsen: Do you have to be a member of the LDS church to participate in pathway?

Kim B. Clark: Yes. That’s the policy. Yep. You need to be a member of the church. that may change at some time, but right now that’s the policy.

Alan Olsen: Okay. Well, what do you feel the long-term impact of pathway will be?

Kim B. Clark: Well, in a family, the long-term impact is enormous. I’ll tell you one, just one little example. We have a pathway site in Idaho Falls. And, recently we had a young, a young woman speak to a group. Of, of people that we call the presence advancement council here at BYU, ride home, people from all over the country, who come and, and help us support us.

And we had, this young woman’s spoke along with a few other pathway students. And you know, here’s her situation. She’s 28. She was married when she was 16. She has three children. she never imagined that she would have an opportunity to go to school. She’s, been through pathway now. she has come back to the church.

She was, she was not active in the church for a long time. She’s come back to the church. There’s a, a new energy and hope in her life. She’s planning to do a degree and gain a degree, a college degree. It will, it will ripple through the generations. Her children will be greatly blessed because their mother has shown them how important education is.

Their mother has faith in her life. Again, her husband, she and her husband will bring their family closer together and faith will grow in that family and the children will be far better off. They’ll be more educated. They’ll have greater faith and their children and their children, and it’ll just ripple through the generations.

In addition, this young woman has the capacity to be of great service, not only in her neighborhoods and so forth, but in the church, and she will be a great leader and she will touch the lives of many people. I can imagine this young woman. Becoming, say, a president of the young women’s organization in her ward, and she will touch the lives of tens of hundreds of young women.

And so the pathway program in one life has just enormous impact on thousands of people. Well, you just multiply that thousands and thousands of times, and that’s the impact of pathway.

Alan Olsen: Has the advancements in technology helped. The launching of this pathway

Kim B. Clark: No question. No question about it. Yeah.

It’s very, very important to be able to do this in a very distributed way so that a student in Moscow, Russia, because we have a pathway site in Moscow, can go online and have a speaking partner. It’s another part of the program who is in, say the United States. Who speaks with them once a week for a half hour on the topics that they’re studying, helping them learn English because all the courses we teach are in English.

And so students have to have a basic level of English to start, but they want to, we want them to grow in their capacity as they take the courses. And so we have the speaking partners program, not possible. If you had to do it 10 years ago today, they can get on like Skype. It’s free. It’s perfect. Not possible otherwise.

And there are many, many examples like that.

Alan Olsen: How do you find speaking partners?

Kim B. Clark: You know, it’s interesting. It’s all volunteers. we put up the word, we, We use our website, we use, the church. We use the university. We used the pathway program itself, to encourage people to sign up to be a speaking part.


And you sign up on our website to be a speaking partner. And you only have to be a member of the church 18 years old and above. And you have to be a native English speaker. And if you are, then you can be a speaking partner and you sign up to do half hour a week, you pick your half hour when you want to do it, and then some students somewhere in the world will sign up.

And you’ll have a speaking partner for that semester.

Alan Olsen: Are there other ways that individuals can volunteer to be part of the pathway program?

Kim B. Clark: Wherever pathway exists at the local level, there are always opportunities that emerge and it’s all organized and led by the church leaders. And so if somebody’s interested in volunteering at pathway sites, they just need to talk to their local church leader and say, you know, I’d love to have this opportunity sometime.

And as, as pathway matures, there will be other roles. For example, pathway students will need mentors. They’ll need people who can connect them to job opportunities, connect them to, other kinds of experiences that will help them in their lives. So there will be opportunities for people to serve.

Alan Olsen: So, once again, if individuals want to find out more information on the pathway program, pathway program, where do they go?

Kim B. Clark: The best, the best locations.

Our website. Okay. byui.edu and go on the internet, go to our website, just put pathway in the search bar and it’ll take you to the patent. You know, click onto the pathway site and there you are. You can learn all about it. And and you can sign up to be a speaking partner. You can look to see where pathway sites are located.

You can see what you have to do to request a site. So all there on that site.

Alan Olsen: President Clark. Thank you. Thank you. Today’s show.

Kim B. Clark: You’re welcome.

Alan Olsen: I’ve been busy with president. Can be Clark, the president of BYU, Idaho, about the pathway programs. Thanks for joining us today.

About Kim B. Clark

Kim B. Clark became the 15th president of Brigham Young University-Idaho in August 2005. In April 2007, he was named a member of the Fifth Quorum of the Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. President Clark was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, and raised in Spokane, Washington. After serving as a missionary for the Church in Germany, he married his wife Sue in 1971. President Clark earned bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees in economics from Harvard University. In 1978 President Clark became a member of the faculty at the Harvard Business School and was named the dean of the school in 1995. He served in that capacity until he became president of BYU-Idaho in 2005. President Clark and his wife Sue are the parents of 7 children and the grandparents of 12 grandchildren.

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