Vice President of Academics shares new developments for GE, construction, and calendar

Written by: 
Colton McLane

BYU-Hawaii Administration has a strategic plan for multiple changes to the school’s academics, construction, and schedule, said Vice President of Academics John Bell. He said these changes are being made to make the school more efficient for all students on campus.

New GE Program

Since 2014, the school has had three changes to general education requirements, one being religious requirements as new courses, according to the BYUH website. Another has been the creation of new GE classes like Local and World Communities (GE 100 and 300, respectively), Critical Inquiry (GE 110) and Scientific Reasoning (GE 120). 
However, a new GE progrm has been approved that eliminates GE requirements other than some English, math and religious requirements. With the new GE program that starts in Fall 2017, student can mix and match from three fields to do a major, minor, and certificate, or two of these and one of another. For example, students can choose a double major and minor or any other combination as long as they are from three of the different following fields: Arts and Humanities, Math and Sciences, and Professional Studies. To see the break down, look up General Education at or click on this link.
The new GE program deletes classes students may not use in their career field and allows for greater flexibility as well as more focused study on various subject matter students select. For example, a student who is interested in international relations could take the Asian studies minor, a political science major, and a peacebuilding certificate and cover all fields and be well prepared for their career. But lets say we have a student looking into exercise sport science and entrepreneurship to start a business in the health field. Clearly doubling up in professional studies or math and sciences would be more beneficial to them than picking something out of humanities areas. In some cases, this effort in flexibility is more stringent than had this student just stayed in his or her regular GE requirements.


There has been an expansion to the hales. The goal is to bring the [student] population up to 3,200 and slowly expand the school to a more diverse population of up to 75 percent international students and 25 percent domestic. Currently the school has a new outreach program that uses student ambassadors to invite new students. The school is particularly focused on the Asia-Pacific area and inviting more students from Hawaii as well. To accommodate these students, new hales have been built literally doubling the number that were made since 2012....Each new Hale now has a third story where as the old style only had two.
The school has also created a new chiller plant allowing cool air to circulate through all of campus, where as the old-style plants had two cells and often broke down. Plans are also being made to expand - to make new science labs, renovate the Aloha Center, redo the Caf and renovate the McKay classrooms. These are not official, but plans are being made and will be carried out over an extended period of time. This in turn will create a more efficient and much more comfortable campus.

New Calendar

Over these [past] two years, there was a change to the academic calendar, which most students found obstructive: having 15-week semesters separated into three seasons giving short breaks and only two months in the summer. It made the schedule typically a month ahead or more of any other American university, having school start in the beginning of August rather than September. This became problematic for students, who were not part of the I-WORK program, not being able to work in the summer for a sufficient time to make money for school.
While going back to the old calendar may not be ideal for all, it is more typical for most faculty and students from an American education system and allows students to plan better for their futures to vacation and gather funds for school.
Date Published: 
Wednesday, April 12, 2017
Last Edited: 
Wednesday, April 12, 2017