SALT LAKE CITY — Brigham Young University-Idaho President Clark Gilbert will step down as leader of the institution to head a new worldwide online learning initiative for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the LDS church’s governing body, announced the appointment during a news conference Tuesday.
Gilbert will now lead BYU Pathway Worldwide. The creation of the new organization was announced during the conference. BYU Pathway Worldwide will be responsible for all the online education and certifications within the LDS Church Education system.
BYU–Pathway Worldwide has its roots in BYU–Idaho’s Pathway program, which began in 2009 with 50 total students at three pilot sites in Idaho, Arizona and New York, according to a LDS Church news release. The program has since expanded to nearly 500 sites in 50 countries and has served 57,000 students.
“Pathway was a hidden treasure of (Church Educational System) in the past years. We have felt that now is the right time to give increased focus and direction to Pathway and online higher education in the Church,” Uchtdorf said. “Pathway was created to make college educational opportunities available to those who otherwise would not have them.”
Gilbert, who became the 16th president of BYU-Idaho in April 2015, will start his new job in May of this year.
“Based on the rapid growth of the Pathway program, the educational needs across the church and the need to work with other church institutions to make this work, it is the right time to expand Pathway,” Gilbert said. “We are part of a worldwide church, and there are members all across the world who are ready for this.”
Uchtdorf said during the press conference that a new president at BYU-Idaho would be announced during a devotional address Tuesday afternoon.