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JUNE 2012

Students from the Department of Geology at BYU-Idaho get hands-on experience during a field trip near Ririe Reservoir.


Geology usually deals with old things, like rocks, volcanoes, and carbon dating. But it’s old-fashioned values like hard work and persistence that have helped BYU-Idaho geology students see their studies through to completion at a rate four times higher than that of their counterparts across the country. A recent analysis by Dan Moore, chair of the Department of Geology, shows that 62 percent of BYU-Idaho geology students are completing their undergraduate degrees and going on to graduate school, compared to 15 percent of other geology students nationwide. To date, all of the BYU-Idaho geology graduates who have gone to graduate school have successfully completed their degrees and entered the workforce. “We enjoy working with our majors and are pleased to see them succeeding in graduate schools and in the workplace,” Moore says. But what is it that sets these students apart from other students, and why are they so successful? The answer seems to lie in the department’s successful application of the Learning Model. The primary reason for the success, Moore says, is the students themselves and their work ethic. “Our students are great. They work hard to meet the

expectations we have for them, and they work together and support each other,” Moore says. Around a student’s sophomore year, the faculty tend to see a paradigm shift from “taking classes” to “preparing for a career.” In self-organized groups, students work on regular courses but also difficult non-major courses such as calculus. The department sees students getting into the geology major and staying there, compared to students in the rest of the nation. “Our students want to be here,” Moore says. Another contributing factor to the department’s success is effective advising and mentoring, coupled with a family atmosphere. Students are formally assigned a faculty mentor, but there’s a considerable amount of advising that happens on a more informal level—after class, in the lab, or in the field. “The mentoring I received and the standard of excellence the faculty expected of all students afforded me the opportunity to find and develop my passion,” says Austin Blaser, an April 2012 graduate in geodynamics and volcanology who is now pursuing a master’s degree at Rice University in Houston, Texas. “I felt like I could talk with my instructors as more than a student but as a fellow scientist.” (continued on pg. 4) J U N E 2 012


New chair named for Economics Department

University News Briefs

Allan Walburger has accepted the invitation to serve as the new chair of the Department of Economics. He replaces Ed Sexton, who is now serving as the associate academic vice president for curriculum.

Two departments renamed and restructured

The number of students taking classes on campus is up about 3 percent compared to this time last year.

Spring enrollment shows increase over last year Statistics released for Spring Semester 2012 show a total local enrollment of 13,853 students, approximately a 3 percent increase over last spring. This number refers to individuals who take BYU-Idaho courses and predominately reside in the Rexburg area.* In addition, the university is seeing continual growth in the number of students who are enrolled in online courses and programs. Those students reside across the United States and in several other countries. The number of students in Spring Semester 2012 is 3,799, an estimated 28 percent increase over last spring. This semester the local student body consists of 6,376 male students and 7,477 female students (46 percent and 54 percent respectively). In addition, 3,621 of these students are married, comprising 26 percent of the total local student population. *Of the total local enrollment of 13,853 students, 95 percent live in Rexburg, with the remaining 5 percent residing in locations from Idaho Falls to Ashton.

Planetarium to close for remodeling The BYU-Idaho Planetarium show for the month of June, “Dawn of the Space Age,” will be the last show until the fall. The planetarium will be closed from July through September for remodeling. The final show before the closure is on June 28. More information about planetarium shows, including ticket prices, is available at


l B Y U - I DA H O N E W S & N O T E S

The Department of Agribusiness, Plant, and Animal Science has been changed to the Department of Animal and Food Science. The restructured department now includes animal science, nutrition, and culinary arts. Agribusiness has been moved to the Department of Economics. The Department of Horticulture is now known as the Department of Applied Plant Science and includes classes in plant science and ag-tech. The catalyst for the change was the creation of the Animal and Food Science degree. “This degree is very beneficial for students,” says Van Christman, dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “It provides them an opportunity to get a very good job right out of school with just a bachelor’s degree.”

Updates made to student employment policy Changes have been made to the student employment policy. During a student’s off-track semester, he or she may work up to 20 hours per week. This change will take effect in September 2012. Students may work up to 40 hours per week during their off-track semester only in positions that have been approved by PEG to be 40-hour positions. International students are permitted to work up to 40 hours per week during their off-track (annual break) semester—in one job or a combination of jobs. The entire policy can be viewed online at Search for policy 2-11.

A look at Spring Semester faculty fellowships David Belka, Art: Belka is on a fellowship to locate artwork for use in his classes. This artwork will be used to demonstrate methods for teaching art to high school juniors and seniors. The new artwork will be on display in the Spori Gallery this November along with artwork that reflects his interests and direction. Caryn Esplin, Communication: To accommodate more online and visual communication students, Esplin is designing an online visual media course and developing a new visual media emphasis. She is also designing a course in which students will build an online photography business. Work for national photographic affiliation is also under way, with 20 students attending a National Association of Photoshop Professionals conference this fall. Garth Jensen, Architecture, Construction, & Interior Design:

Working for the architectural firm NBW Associates, Jensen will sharpen his understanding of today’s processes in design and construction. He will then take this experience to the classroom for the benefit of his students and improvement of his courses. Craig Johnson, Math: Johnson is adapting the textbook for FDMAT 222, a biostatistics course, for use as the text for FDMAT 221, a business statistics course. The new textbook will be available at no cost to students.

CIT STUDENTS PREP FOR JOBS BY SEEKING CERTIFICATION A key purpose of the BYU-Idaho Learning Model is to increase the comprehensiveness of learning by bringing it full circle. Once a principle is learned, it is then pondered about and proved by the learner. The Department of Computer and Information Technology has found a way to help students “prove” themselves and become better qualified for professional life. In the CIT world, a bachelor’s degree will qualify prospective employees for future jobs, but certain certifications are the gold star on a resume.

Theron Josephson, Geography: To improve GEOG 340, Josephson will conduct research through the Geographic Information System (GIS) to create new labs for students, develop Google Earth-based exercises and instruction for GEOG 240, and research different countries to improve GEOG 120.

“Certifications are the points on a résumé that set some applicants apart from other applicants,” says Art Ericson, chair of the CIT Department. “If two people come in applying for a job and both have comparable resumes and degrees from their respective universities but one is certified or has multiple certifications, I’m going to go with him.”

Tahari Julander, Interior Design: Every six years the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA) goes to each campus that teaches interior design to offer accreditation. “Keeping this is key to be considered a reputable interior design program,” Julander says. Julander will travel to 10 of the best-accredited interior design schools to see how they maintain their accreditation and how BYU-Idaho can improve.

With this in mind, the CIT Department encourages students to become certified before they graduate by offering an alternative internship senior class where they can study, prepare, and take the many certification tests, which are becoming the standard in the industry. To provide a further incentive, the department covers 25 percent of the cost just for the students to take the tests and 50 percent of the cost if the students pass.

Brian Schaat, Health Recreation & Human Performance:

Currently working on accreditation for a physical therapy education program, Schaat is conducting research into the development of curriculum, securing clinical placements, and acquiring equipment. Diane Soelberg, Music: From the University of North Texas for a two-week intensive conducting collegium to another conducting workshop in July at the University of Minnesota, Soelberg will receive critique from some of the most respected band conductors in the country. She will also work at increasing the campus band’s music library. Allan Walburger, Economics: Given an office at the University of Economics at Prague, Walburger is living in the European Union this semester to develop case studies for his international economics class. This will be especially beneficial given the problems facing many of the countries in the EU. He is also making professional contacts with international professors.

Providing this assistance also allows the department to evaluate its students’ test results. Kory Godfrey, a faculty member in the CIT Department, has compiled this data over the last six semesters and has found a positive trend since recording the scores. “It’s too soon to say exactly why this trend occurs, but we are trying to improve our teaching of the future students where the aggregate gap in knowledge seems to be,” Godfrey says. The CIT Department has a good report card to help them ponder and prove their teaching of students. Recognizing their strengths, as well as areas for improvement, is helping them help their students prepare to be better employees in this growing industry. “Our faculty are qualified and capable, having written books, designed apps, and created software. We’d like to see our students do even better,” Ericson says.

J U N E 2 012


Employee Profile FOR SALE

Katrina Wilkins

2002 Dodge Grand-Caravan Sport. 65,000 miles. New tires put on in April. New air conditioner installed two years ago. $2,900 firm (below Blue book). Contact Jennifer at 709-1897.

Curriculum Development Course & Media Developer Start Date: January 2008 Hometown: Idaho Falls

Katrina Wilkins has always had a dream to write a novel. She is fascinated by stories that thrust average people into the thick of “saving-the-world” situations. Specifically, Wilkins would like to write her own version of the Robin Hood story. An avid reader, Wilkins reads anything from political and historical discourses to 19th century British novels. Wilkins loves studying Old English and Egyptian hieroglyphics, and wants to begin delving into cuneiform, too. Her love of language has spilled over into her career as well.

Wilkins began teaching English while a graduate student at a Texas state school. In 2008, she moved to Rexburg to teach English here part-time. She now works as a media and curriculum developer for online courses, ensuring the quality of content online. Along with writing a novel, Wilkins has always wanted cats. She intends to get one or two as she moves from Idaho Falls to Rexburg in the coming months. Wilkins favorite food to eat is Thai, while her favorite food to cook is American.

A Solid Foundation for Learning (cont. from pg. 1) That one-on-one interaction was also a highlight of the program for another April 2012 graduate, David Kulbeth, who studied geographic and cartographic sciences and environmental planning and is now doing graduate work at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. “The most impressive experiences with faculty were usually outside of the classroom setting, typically during field trips where discussions were a little more informal,” Kulbeth says. “It also meant a lot to me when I saw them come to our geology social events with their families, stay late to help me finish a project, or make an extra phone call to speed up an application process.” Also contributing to geology student success is the department’s focus on integrating “learning by doing” experiences into the curriculum, similar to what would be found at the graduate

school level. Whether it’s a class project or a mentored research project, most students are engaged in “doing geology” instead of just learning about it. “When we invite students to do professional-level work, there is a synergy inside and outside the classroom, between students and faculty practicing their craft together in solving real problems,” says Moore. “When this is done well it is a blessing to both students and faculty. It bonds us together in our common purpose of developing ourselves as learners and professionals.” Moore adds that while it’s bittersweet to watch students graduate, the relationships that have been built continue on. “It’s hard to see them go, but we love receiving updates from our graduates, and we are excited to welcome new students into our family and help them learn and grow as well,” he says.

9 x 12 Brown Variegated Nylon Carpet. Long wearing, in very good condition. $100. Call 356-3303 or email Deluxe Sun Shelter. With side shade and mosquito netting. Like new, very sturdy. 10’ x 10’ x 6.5’ (wall height). 8.5’ (center height). Originally over $100, asking $50. Call 356-4371. Home for Sale. Four bedroom, 3 bath house in Rexburg’s Evergreen subdivision. Neighborhood has city park, walking path to church and Kennedy Elementary. $173,800. For more info see rexburghouse. or call Mike at 3513693. 2 suites in Branson, MO. One bedroom, sleeps 4 with full kitchen. One studio sleeps 2 with kitchenette, available any week this year, $875. Call Rita at 206-2093. Home for Sale. Great starter home. 3 bed, 1 bath in Rexburg. Nice subdivision, recently updated with new carpet, tile, granite tile countertops. Gas furnace, A/C, 2 car garage, privacy fence. $129,900. Call 709-1878. Townhome for Sale. 4 beds, 2.5 baths. Asking $174,900. Get more info at www.rexburgtownhome1. com, or call Andy at 351-1590.

News & Notes A monthly publication of University Communications

University Communications 215 Kimball Building • Rexburg, ID • 83460-1661 • Phone: (208) 496-2000

A D V I S O R / E D I T O R Marc Stevens W R I T E R S Ben Burke, Aaron Olsen P H O T O G R A P H E R S Michael Lewis, Doug McKay If you have any ideas for future issues, please e-mail


l B Y U - I DA H O N E W S & N O T E S

News & Notes June 2012  

June 2012 edition of News & Notes

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