Ricks College is candidate for full-scale accreditation

REXBURG, Idaho — Ricks College, which is in the process of changing to Brigham Young University-Idaho, received notice March 21 that it is now a candidate for full-scale accreditation of its proposed bachelor's degree programs. Candidacy status was granted to Ricks College by the Commission on Colleges and Universities of the Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges.

The commission thoroughly reviewed the college's plan to introduce 46 bachelor's degree programs during the next five years. It strongly recommended Ricks officials hire professionally qualified faculty with primary commitment to the institution and representative of each field or program in which it offers major work as it fills 100 new teaching positions during the coming few years.

As part of the scheduled accreditation progress report in 2002, the commission will address all five general recommendations made in the fall 1999 evaluation report along with reviewing how BYU-Idaho is doing on the selection and employment of qualified faculty.

The commission also plans to undertake a full-scale evaluation of BYU-Idaho in the spring of 2004 as the next step in the accreditation process for its bachelor's degree programs.

In making the announcement to college employees March 22, President David A. Bednar said this was a very important step in the transition process.

While work is proceeding on the transition, he said, the college will continue to be officially known as Ricks College until the beginning of the fall semester when the first upper-division classes are offered. Students receiving degrees at both April and June 2001 commencements will graduate from Ricks College.

The new university will offer both integrated and specialized bachelor's degrees. Integrated bachelor's degrees will require up to 45 hours in the principal area of study, while specialized bachelor's degrees will require up to approximately 70 hours. Integrated degrees will require students to study in multiple disciplines and will provide broad-based preparation for employment and life.

Beginning in 2001, the university anticipates offering upper-division classes leading to integrated bachelor's degrees in accounting, English, history and recreation education, along with specialized degrees in business management, elementary education, interior design and nursing. The university also expects to begin offering upper-division, secondary education programs in the areas of biology, earth/physical science, English, family and consumer education, health, history, math and social studies.

Other secondary education programs beginning in 2002 to 2004 include business, chemistry, music, physics and Spanish. While the programs and time line are subject to change, in 2003 the university expects to offer upper-division classes leading to integrated bachelor's degrees in agronomy, animal science, applied math, art, biology, communications, landscape horticulture and information systems, along with specialized degrees in computer science, computer engineering, construction management and mechanical engineering.

In 2004 and 2005 upper-division classes leading to integrated bachelor's degrees will be offered in chemistry, economics, family science, geology, health science, integrated studies, physics, psychology, sociology and technology management, along with specialized degrees in early childhood/special education, and social work.

BYU-Idaho will be a two-tiered institution which will continue to offer specialized associate degrees that prepare students to be employable after completing two years of schooling. The specialized associate degrees will include agriculture management, automotive technology, architectural drafting technology, beef production, computer assisted design technology, computer systems technology, criminal justice, culinary arts, electronic engineering technology, floral design, general studies, landscape horticulture, nursing, para-medicine, photography, pre-school education and welding.

BYU-Idaho is expected to experience a modest increase in the size of the student body during the next few years. It will maintain its present level of approximately 8,600 freshman and sophomore students and its student-faculty ratio of 25 to 1.

The projected number of students on campus is roughly estimated at 9,200 for 2001-02 to 11,600 for 2005-06.

Of the proposed 100 new faculty members, President Bednar estimates that approximately 25 new faculty members will be needed for the 2001-02 school year, 20 for the 2002-03 year, five for the 2003-04 year, 25 for the 2004-05 year, and 25 for the 2005-06 year.

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