Ricks College v BYU

First, I’m obviously not LDS. So I don’t have the respect for their leadership that Eyring does. That may allow me to be more impartial.

Hinckley could have named it BYU-Ricks (227) and gotten all the advantages of the BYU name while keeping the Ricks designation. I think not doing so was a mistake. Who the heck cares if the school is in Idaho if they are doing their classes online anyway?

“The institution will emphasize undergraduate education… Faculty rank will not be a part of the academic structure… BYU-Idaho will operate on an expanded year-round basis, incorporating innovative calendaring and scheduling while also taking advantage of advancements in technology which will enable the four-year institution to serve more students” (228).

“Having considered the full cost of graduate programs and the alternative means for reaping some of their benefits, including engaging BYU-Idaho undergraduate students in mentored research with their professors” meant that they did not add grad offerings to Ricks (232).

They also got rid of competitive athletics (233). (That follows Harvard model, btw.)

We should be excellent scholars, and our scholarship should be focused on the processes of learning and teaching. We will not be a recognized and highly regarded research institution in the traditional sense of that term. We will, however, emphasize a wide range of scholarly endeavors and excel in and play a pioneering role in understanding learning and teaching processes with faith and hard work, and in the process of time. (235)

Harvard has less than 50 majors (235).
Ricks College had 125 associate’s degrees (235).

“undergraduate majors are a powerful driver of increased intellectual and organizational fragmentation as well as financial cost” (236).

They got rid of their athletics department. They added a “student activity” experience. “was funded at one-third the cost of the old athletics budget” (244).

…a student leadership pyramid. …All of the positions would allow students to teach other students. Involving students via what would become known as the student leadership model was significant in two respects. In addition to offering hands-on leadership training beneficial to students in their personal and professional lives, it would also allow for cost-efficient growth. (244)

“internship program created” (245)

“The goals of this internship team were twofold. One was to supplement the new university’s “integrated” bachlor’s degrees. … an integrated degree, one with a major of no more than 45 credit hours, less than the typical 50-plus hours. In addition, the integrated degree required a 24-credit minor or a set of two 12-credit “clusters” in complementary fields. … This would not only solve the problem of limited upper-division offerings but also increase the employability of graduates. The simple, low-cost solution might also be one of higher quality for the ordinary student” (245).

“… seen the value of integrating classroom and workplace-based learning” (246).

Creating internship services for undergraduate students amounted to another alteration of traditional university DNA. … Rather than viewing summers as an opportunity to augment their classroom studies with workplace experiences, they treated them as they did in high school, as vacation time. … recommended that an internship be required as part of each integrated major. Though academic credit would be granted, the requirement would be fulfilled in a student’s semester away from classes. (246)

They also created “an internship office and established formal relationships with major employers” in big cities. (247)

Though valuable to students, the internship program proved expensive to implement. Establishing employer relationships required five full-time administrators to travel heavily… They were often joined by faculty members, who sought to understand what employers wanted and to ensure that the academic curriculum provided it. The university also found it necessary to subsidize students’ travel to the hub cities for hiring interviews. Many students failed to see the value of an internship at all. As the internship program matured, the emphasis shifted from creating new employer relationships to convincing students to take advantage of the opportunities already available. (247)

“learning-driven, student-engaging ethos” (251)

three imperatives of Clark (dean of Harvard Business School, then president BYU-Idaho):

  1. raise quality of student experience
  2. make education available to more students
  3. lower relative cost of education (251)

“Don’t take courses. Take professors.”

Recommendation to create a third true semester.
Three semester calendar created, with faculty teaching year-round except for a short summer break.(254)
–This would only work if scholarship is not required, rewarded, expected.

Lengthened classes to 60 minutes and shortened semesters to 14 weeks. (254)

Six-week block reserved for professional development and personal vacation. (254)
“The faculty would naturally receive a pay increase for the greater workload and the additional weeks worked in what would become the new spring semester” (254).

8 calendars were brought to a faculty vote (254)
Ended with an August break and fall and winter semesters were separated by Christmas/New Year’s break (255).

Faculty was given the option of only teaching two semesters. Most chose to work year-round. (255)

They also added two- and three- credit classes to the late July and early September break times. Faculty (ft or adjunct) were paid per course. “marginal returns far exceeded the costs” (255)

“Incoming students adapted to cohort-equalizing track assignments with little more concern than the faculty had expressed over the year-round contract. It helped that the three semesters were now truly equal in the proffered learning experience” (255).
I think few faculty at a teaching-focused university, as ACU has traditionally been, would balk at a year-round contract, as long as there was a commensurate increase in pay for the additional courses taught.
Learning Model:
5 principles
cycle of preparing to learn, teaching one another, and pondering and proving one’s learning.
“Among the principles that emerged were the simple notions that students are responsible for their own learning and for teaching one another” (258).

“Instructors become responsible for dual competency, master of both the subject matter and the art of conveying it for maximum student learning” (259).

Prepare. Teach one another. Ponder and prove. I like that.

The balance between too much control and too little proved difficult to strike, a problem familiar to those with experience in discussion-based teaching and learning. These challenges highlighted the need for enhanced evaluation of what was occurring in the classroom. … formal assessment of instruction and curriculum had occurred only infrequently. (261)

Comprehensive assessment model evaluation included:

  1. prepared for class
  2. arrived on time
  3. active participant
  4. sought opportunities to share learning outside of class
    The STUDENTS were required to evaluate themselves in this assessment. I like that. I think that is a great method for reminding the students that they are responsible for their own learning.
  5. course provided opportunities to learn from and teach other students
  6. instructor responded respectfully and constructively to student questions and viewpoints (261)

Every three years, the faculty are evaluated three semesters in a row for more information and allowing them to “attempt enhancements” (262).

Students “particularly resist pedagogical changes that create grading uncertainty” (262).
“[C]lassroom learning improved.”

“Effective integration across traditional academic boundaries would be valuable not only to students in their intellectual development and career preparation but also to faculty members in their scholarship” (265).

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