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Posted 26 Mar 2001   For week ended March 09, 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 13Mar01

By Paul Carter

Ricks College Change to Impact Utah State University

LOGAN, UTAH -- Turning two-year junior college Ricks into the new 4-year BYU-Idaho will have consequences for Utah State University in Logan. USU administrators are evaluating just what impact to expect regarding the numbers of transfer students each year, competition for 4 year students in similar fields of study, competition for faculty, and general student enrollment. The sports program at USU will likely also be affected.

The change to BYU-Idaho was announced by President Gordon B. Hinckley of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints June 21, 2000. The new curriculum at BYU-Idaho begins September 5th of this year. According to Craig Petersen, Chief Assistant to the President at USU, "Ricks is moving more rapidly than we expected to add new degree programs, so it will probably have more impact on us than we anticipated when they announced this."

Ricks is located in Rexburg, Idaho, north of Logan and USU. The current enrollment at Ricks is 8,600 and that number is expected to increase to 11,600 students by the 2005-6 academic year.

Over the next five years, BYU-Idaho will establish a curriculum offering 40 bachelor degrees and 16 associate degrees. This compares to Ricks' current 94 associate degree programs, 33 specialized degrees, and four 1-year degrees--most of these are slated for elimination. BYU-Provo is transferring it's Agriculture bachelor's degree programs to the Idaho campus. But, there will be no graduate degrees offered in any department at BYU-Idaho. The question in Logan is how this new mix of degree programs will affect enrollment at Utah State.

In discussing the impact on USU's transfer student program, Peterson says, "For many years, Ricks has been our largest source of transfer students." For the Fall 2000 semester, there were 1,202 students enrolled at USU who had transferred from Ricks with 472 new at USU that semester.

Don Snyder, a professor in the USU Economics department and Assistant Director of the USU Agricultural Experiment Station suggests that the results will be mixed. "The potential impact is that we may have more difficulty getting transfer students in agriculture, although that's still debatable because we offer more specialized degrees than BYU-Idaho will. My suspicion is that we will still have more students transfer here to the agriculture program. The other impact is we may want to make a bigger effort with BYU and Ricks to recruit graduate students into our programs because BYU is getting out of the agriculture business and Ricks won't offer graduate degrees."

BYU-Idaho will be adding 100 additional faculty during it's transition from a 2-year college to a 4-year university. With regard to the possibility of BYU-Idaho taking faculty from USU or perhaps enticing faculty candidates to settle to the North, USU's Petersen says that the two universities will not be in competition. "The nature of the institutions is quite different. USU is a research institution, whereas Ricks will be strictly a teaching institution. That will attract different types of faculty members. I think it would be very rare that they would hire somebody that we would look seriously at."

Where the changes in Rexburg will provide a definite benefit for USU is in sports recruiting. Ricks has consistently fielded nationally-ranked teams and provided an extensive sports scholarship program. But the new BYU-Idaho will not offer inter-collegiate sports competition. So the high caliber freshman and sophomore athletes who might have been recruited by a continuing Ricks athletic department will be strong candidates for recruitment by Utah State University.


Mormon trek north?
MSNBC (Logan UT Herald Journal) 5Mar01 D3
By Arrin Brunson


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