Comments about ‘On the frontier: How BYU-Idaho is pushing the boundaries of higher education’

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Published: Sunday, Oct. 16 2011 3:00 p.m. MDT

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El Chango Supremo
Rexburg, ID

I am a student at BYU-I and am set to graduate in a semester or two. I am amazed and continually grateful for the quality and cost of the education I am receiving. My interaction with my professors has been overwhelmingly positive. I am extremely to Presidents Hinckley, Bednar, Eyring, & Clark for their vision and work to make this happen. It's just been a great blessing.

As far as a lack of athletics are concerned, I have participated in some of the competitive athletics that the school replaced the intercollegiate athletics with and it too has been great. The level of competition was much higher than I had anticipated. There were students who had the chance to receive scholarships at other universities playing a sport but instead came to BYU-I and coached their own team made up of fellow students.

I do wish that BYU would play a "neutral site" basketball and/or football game or two on campus as the facilities are there to accommodate them, or broadcast all the games live on campus so that the students could feel connected to a team... Tom Holmoe, are you listening?

DN Subscriber
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Bravo to BYU- Idaho for daring to rethink the entire concept of college education and rebuild for the purpose of providing good education at low cost. The inclusion of a faith based component does no harm, and despite the conniption fits it may give the perpetually offended ACLU, it is a valuable part of living a good life.

This is a concept which is desperately needed in our entire educational establishment, K-12 as well as collegiate level. And, the willingness to sacrifice the sacred cow of athletics is especially significant. Once that paradigm is broken, it becomes a lot easier to rethink many other things "we have always done that way..."

Indeed, this concept should be applied to government programs and agencies as well.

And, no one is forced to go to BYU-Idaho, only to adhere to their standards if they do. You know, like when you have a real job and the boss expects you to do certain things and you get fired if you don't comply. Therefore I have no sympathy for anyone who wants the benefits of BYU education programs without obeying the rules. Plenty of other "prestigious" schools have no rules.

John Marx
Layton, UT

Thanks. You've reminded me of what I least liked about BYU-Idaho. The inability to take criticism in any degree or in any form. You can't critique anything (even student insurance policies or parking permits) without someone saying "Well if you don't like it, you can leave."
Just because I disagreed with some aspects of the honor code doesn't mean I broke it with reckless abandon. I never did anything that could have resulted in my expulsion from the school. When my endorsement was threatened I knew it was empty threats to try to keep me in line.
I never said it was a terrible experience. I'm just saying if you want to go to a university you will be treated like an adult, I recommend somewhere else.

El Chango Supremo
Rexburg, ID

*extremely grateful

El Chango Supremo
Rexburg, ID

John Marx...

Seriously, you should go somewhere else. There are plenty of opportunities to voice your concerns to President Clark through student representatives. Just the other day, I got an email from the dean of students office asking me to participate in sharing my concerns, if I have any, so that they may better serve the students. There are some things that we are required to do as students, but your assertion that we are treated like children, have no voice, and no freedom is bordering on the absurd.

Do you know how much more affordable it is to go to school here compared to other places? Do you realize the sacrifices the presidents of the school made to leave places like Harvard and Stanford to come here?

Your sense of entitlement is astounding!

Tom in CA
Vallejo, CA

" ....the willingness to sacrifice the sacred cow of athletics is especially significant".

DN Subscriber: We all have "sacred cows", don't we.

There is a very large community in the upper Snake River Valley that this has affected, and not necessarily in a positive way. Athletic teams at Ricks College had been an important tradition for many years - in its absence, the local community has "suffered".

There are many who could care less, but there are many who thrive on the traditions, and the atmosphere it brings.

Rexburg, ID

I am a current student at BYU-Idaho and will graduate in April. I assume many of you readers out there are returned missionaries. I would ask you to reflect on how important and life-changing your mission was to you, and then read carefully as I tell you that my experience at this school has been as sacred and important a preparatory experience as was my own time serving a mission.

Some here that the University "coddles" us and treats us as children. I spent my first six semesters here as a single student and am now married with one child. I am a better husband and father because of the way the Honor Code has taught me to live.

BYU-Idaho has also prepared me academically, and has put me in an excellent position to pursue my professional goals. I believe BYU is a great school, but for my circumstances, BYU-Idaho has been a better match. I am grateful that the Lord guided me here, and that He has provided this sacred learning center in the first place.

Parents, you can't go wrong sending your kids here.

Brigham City, UT

Enjoyed the article.....I do think Mr. Clark was done as the dean at Harvard whether or not he accepted the position in Rexburg---I think after 10 years as dean at Harvard, you must move on, and Pres. Hinckley knew that.... I would someday like Mr. Clark's opinion on Larry Summers stimulus package that is now known as the Obama stimulus package of 878 billion in February of 2009. I know the two being friends probably think alike, but I'm just assuming that.

Brigham City, UT

I really liked the article......many university elitists in this country are against family and traditional marriage and having children......really ironic since it is people having children that gives these institutions more job security and a brighter future.

Provo, UT

BYU-I is an important addition to LDS educational possibilities. It has a place for students who desire particular kinds of outcomes. And it is important to make education available to a wider range of students than attend BYU Provo.

But the danger lurking in BYU-I's "new DNA" is the assumption (one that Clayton Christensen and Henry J. Eyring make clear in their _The Innovative University_) that vocational training--meaning primarily the transfer of information about a subject--is equal or superior in value to "mental training," meaning training in ideas, how to think. Obviously the Harvard business school has been the model at BYU-I for what education should be, but a survey of top business executives will show that a high percentage of them have degrees in liberal arts rather than business--in thinking rather than in particular sets of facts. A basis in the liberal arts followed by training in business has worked very well for a lot of people.

There's no reason to believe that President Hinckley's goals require the present understanding of education that defines BYU-I. This article praises Kim Clark and others for confusing those two.

DD JayMario
American Fork, UT

JF, if the "particular kinds of outcomes" one desires does not include a cost-effective educational degree and a job, one should definitely choose a private liberal arts college with a $30k per year tuition price tag. Deep student debt and few job prospects are "particular kinds of outcomes" for many college grads today.

John Marx
Layton, UT

"Seriously, you should go somewhere else." I'm already gone.

"Do you know how much more affordable it is to go to school here compared to other places? Do you realize the sacrifices the presidents of the school made to leave places like Harvard and Stanford to come here?

Your sense of entitlement is astounding!"

I never said that BYU-Idaho isn't a good educational organization or that it wasn't a good deal. I criticized one aspect of the school. I forgot the "You should be grateful" was the other goto response. Even when it isn't applicable.

Rexburg Reader
Rexburg, ID

Most people, in and out of the LDS Church and even here in Southeast Idaho, have no idea about the miracle taking shape at BYU-Idaho. I feel remarkably blessed to have witnessed all that has happened over the past ten years. I wonder what the next decade will bring. I recommend a tour of campus if you have never been here, or if it has been several years since you last visited Rexburg. You'll be blown away (no pun intended)! Not just by the remarkable and beautiful facilities and grounds, but by the many programs offered to enhance the experience of every student.
Also, someone made a comment about the new Pathway program being limited in availability. This program, which will revolutionize the way education is distributed to members of the LDS Church, only recently moved from the pilot phase. Already there are, I believe, 27 satellite campuses, including sites in Mexico and Ghana, with eight more scheduled to open around the first of the year. So give it time. A Pathway site will likely be coming to your area soon!

Apo, AP

El Chango Sumpremo
"I do wish that BYU would play a "neutral site" basketball and/or football game or two on campus as the facilities are there to accommodate them, or broadcast all the games live on campus so that the students could feel connected to a team... Tom Holmoe, are you listening?"

I totally agree with this. I'm not sure though that many schools would see this as a neutral site, but I'd love to see BYU extend its fan base by involving BYU-I and BYU-H more. At a minimum, they should be broadcasting games there and I like the idea of playing some games there--basketball, volleyball, soccer, baseball, etc. Football is so expensive they need enough ticket sales to justify a neutral site game, but it might also work. How big is the stadium there?

Rexburg, ID

Rexburg Reader,
You read my mind. I 100% agree with everything you say there, and you put it better than I could have myself.

The Church is investing a lot of resources into BYU-Idaho. People will notice!

Nampa, ID


I am looking forward to reading the book to further understand your observation. However I am not as concerned that there is a confusion as you state. When you study Clark's work at Harvard it was not "trade-based." He was all about teaching people to think, especially from within a moral framework that was larger than merely a profit-model. He was all about engaging people to find and pursue their passions in a way that make the world a better place.

This is still unusual in business education. With two students currently at BYUI, I can tell you anecdotally that there does not seem to be any confusion. My daughters are empowered to think critically, and to find their passions - their callings if you will.

My wife teases me that I got a vo-tech degree as a CPA, while she got an education. I understand the good-naturedness of the teasing, but I also think that these "vo-tech" degrees are no longer as 2-dimensional as perhaps they once were. And that is due to educational leaders like Bednar and Clark.

Old Scarecrow
Brigham City, UT

John Marx, I was hoping that you were still at BYUI. The "go somewhere else" syndrome is only appropriate when someone is deliberately trying to drag down the institution or organization, and you clearly weren't. Not everyone who goes to a BYU school has to be identical, and when they graduate I hope they're not identical, either. Rules are pretty useful in life, and learning to discipline oneself to live within the rules where ever you are is a valuable tool. We always have the right to "go somewhere else", but the ability to stay where you ought to be at a point in time is often a wise choice and important skill in a world that is rarely black and white in terms of the available choices.

El Chango Supremo
Rexburg, ID

Japan Cougar,

The stadium is not that big, so a football game ever happening is quite unlikely.

The basketball arena on the other hand is pretty good sized and would easily accommodate enough fans to make it financially worth while.

I do wish that the Athletic Dept at BYU would do something to include the student body at BYU-I.

Layton, UT

I can understand how some subjects of education don't require research, but science and engineering are both disciplines that I have a hard time believing should be just really well taught--without realworld research application.

Especially with how quickly technology is changing, and how one's technical skills are obsolete every ten years (at best), research can help keep students looking to the edge of what's possible.

Ernest T. Bass
Bountiful, UT

Pushing the boundaries of extremism.

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