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Reaching Out to the One

350 students received personal phone calls from BYU-Pathway employees in an attempt to reach out to the one


In an organization as student-centered as BYU-Pathway Worldwide, it’s no surprise that employees genuinely care about the students. Every day, employees work hard to ensure that each student has the best possible experience in reaching their educational goals.

BYU-Pathway employees rolled up their sleeves and pulled out their cell phones in an attempt to better understand the needs of online students and encourage each individual to continue in his or her academic endeavors.

Employees eyes were opened as they spoke directly with students

BYU-Pathway Support Operations Manager, Josiah Carlson, and Support Operations Processing Coordinator, Mark Johnson, led the team in an online student retention activity. Employees contacted BYU-Idaho online students in their first semester who had not yet enrolled in their second semester. 354 first-semester students were contacted during the activity.

The goal was to learn what keeps students from enrolling and to encourage them to register for courses and seek academic guidance where needed. As employees spoke with students, they referred 44 students to Pathway Support and helped 51 students register for their courses. Their eyes were opened to the needs of so many individuals seeking a meaningful higher education.

Four key principles became clear in speaking with students:

  1. Online students miss the face-to-face interaction that PathwayConnect offers
  2. Life happens — some students aren’t enrolled for a second semester due to health concerns, weddings, pregnancy, and other life events
  3. Online students have busy schedules — full/part-time jobs, children, Church callings, etc.
  4. Students need academic guidance — some students don’t know what classes to take or how to register

Possible solutions are in the works

As employees took a few minutes to ponder these subjects, they discussed possible solutions to make the systems more user-friendly and the employees more understanding and aware of important life events. While adjustments and new opportunities are still in the works for these students, employees are working hard to ensure the best experience possible.

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“I spoke to a mom in her mid-40s who wanted to register for online classes, but she was confused by the transfer-credit options and how many religion courses she was to take,” said Andy Cargal, Director of Communication. “There is a need to have more self-help options for the students.”
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Student Mentors Heidi Kelley (left) and Debra Jones (right) work together to contact first-semester students
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Vice President of Student Success, Ben Packer, led a discussion after employees reached out to online students.
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Pathway Support employees contact students every day to help them progress in their courses, certificates, and degrees. Employees from this department assisted in the activity.
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“I spoke with a young lady who has found her own option in a registered nurse program,” said Steve Adams, Online Programs Director for the U.S. and Canada. “She has found a great path for herself at a local university. We could do better at making students more aware of their local options.”
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Area Manager, Jon Phister, and Curriculum Director, Bryan Pope, spoke with students and encouraged them to continue their education.
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Home office missionaries Elder and Sister Torngren work together to contact students and provide support where needed.
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“I spoke with a man who had taken too many hard courses at one time. He didn’t know what classes to take or how many credits and wasn’t sure if schooling was right for him. I told him about the tutoring center and other options to help him get back on track,” President Gilbert explained. “The online students don’t understand the load they are taking on when they sign up for classes, and it can often make schooling intimidating for them.”

Pathway Support can help you with your registration and advising needs.